This is the weekend to take stock of your freezer, refrigerator and pantry. Why now? Well you know how fast a week goes and this coming week is when you need to create your menu for next month. This will help you save money this coming month and make good use of all the leftovers you created with this month’s menu. Don’t whine why a month and not just a week menu at a time. Trust me, it only takes a little longer to create a whole months worth of menus over just one week. I’ve tried it both ways and the monthly plan saves me more time and money. Now if you don’t need more time or money, well don’t bother with your monthly menu.
I suggest you create a chart with a list of foods you always have or use. This would include both perishable and non-perishable foods. I created mine on the computer so I can easily add and move items instead of constantly rewriting things. I’m basically lazy and don’t like to do extra work. I’m always looking for a shortcut to make things easier the next time around because I don’t have a lot of extra time to waste, do you? Now with your list in hand inventory your food and note
how much you have of the items already written, cross off ones you are now out of and add the new items to your list that now reside in your freezer from leftovers and your pantry.
As you create leftovers to freeze for future use, add those items to the list as you go, if you can remember. As I’ve tried to make this a habit I get about 50% on my list by the end of the month but I’m always looking to improve that score. Also, when you are out shopping there may be a great buy on a chuck roast or canned tomatoes so you purchase them to be used for next month’s menu. Again, try to add them as you bring them into the house. Don’t worry if you forget, they will be found during your monthly inventory.
Armed with your inventory and your calendar of upcoming events create your monthly menu. On days when you know you are going to be very busy put something you’ve already cooked and froze for your meal that night. This is like having your own fast food restaurant except it costs a lot less. You’ve already paid for this meal and cooked it. Can you see how much I love saving both time and money!
Now if you’re like me no matter how much you plan out your menu some items don’t actually get cooked because of circumstances. You know the saying, life happens. That’s fine, especially if the ingredients were frozen. Add them to this month’s menu and try again.
The whole point of this is not to be perfect or Miss Extremely Organized. I see the point is to save me time and money. Have I said it enough times yet? Those are two things I’ll always be happy to have more of any given day. So get busy inventorying and start looking for ideas on what you want to cook. I have lots of recipes here along with my menu plans and you can also find some great recipes at $5 Dinners, A Year of Crockpotting, and Karina’s Kitchen just to name a few. For more ideas look to the left under Allergy Free and check out my categories such as recipes, menu plan Monday, and monthly menu plan. Happy counting!