Kitchen Inventory and Menu Planning Reminder

©Diane Eblin

©Diane Eblin

Here is your reminder.   It’s the last weekend of the month and time to inventory your kitchen.  This way you can use what you have on hand to create your monthly or weekly menus and save time and money.  I really like making a monthly menu.   It only takes me 10 minutes longer than I was spending on the weekly and I only do it once a month.  That saves me a lot of time, and with everything I’m juggling right now I need all the time I can get.

But I guess you are not busy and have a lot of time on your hands. That’s why you don’t need to check and see what foods you already have on hand and make a menu, right.  Well you know I’m just yanking your chain.  Not very many people have all the time and money they want to just use it without thinking.

Now I know some of you have been trying this. You’ve done the inventory and you’ve created monthly menus. I’d love to hear from you and let me know how much money you are saving with a plan. That’s usually easier than calculating how much time you’re saving.   It saves the time of opening the refrigerator when you’re already hungry and staring at it with that desperate blank look and ask, “what can we eat for dinner?”

I’m still saving 40% off my monthly grocery bill compared to when I was not making a menu and checking inventory.

So, let me hear from you. What treasures did you find hiding in your refrigerator and freezer. How much money are you saving?

Coming soon, new tools to help make all of this easier. I’ll let you know all about it as soon as I can.

7 Responses to Kitchen Inventory and Menu Planning Reminder

  1. Amy Green/Simply Sugar & Gluten Free June 27, 2009 at 5:50 pm #

    Hey Diane – I have been planning my menus for years. Yes, I agree that this can help with cost. We don’t save 40%, though. In fact, I find myself more conscious about what we’re eating and we probably spend more. With all the fresh produce and cooking we do, our grocery bill for 2 people always has 3 digits. We don’t eat out, though, and I pack lunch for my husband and I daily.

    For me, the big “save” is time. I’m in and out of the grocery stores and I know exactly what I need to prepare. This is priceless.

    • Diane June 29, 2009 at 4:06 pm #

      Amy- Good for you. Thank you for sharing that. It's amazing how much easier it is go to shopping when you have a plan. Even if you change something up a little, at least you started knowing where you were going.

  2. glutenfreeforgood June 28, 2009 at 7:26 am #


    You’re right, you did yank my chain! I’m overly busy and don’t do enough menu planning, but know it makes a big difference in how much time I spend fussing with dinner and how much money I save. I’m doing more planning now that I’m receiving my huge CSA box each week. I have to plan ahead as I end up with so much of one thing that I better take note and come up with a variety of recipes for whatever the harvest is that week.

    I don’t eat out either, so I’m eating lots of kale and hearty greens for breakfast, lunch and dinner right now. Thanks for the reminder to take inventory. I’ll do that this morning and get myself organized for next week.

    By the way, for some reason I had trouble accessing your links. I love those vintage refrigerators, but couldn’t get to the original post. I want the pink one!

    Thanks, Diane. Good idea with this inventory/money saving theme!


    • Diane June 29, 2009 at 4:10 pm #

      Melissa- Thanks for the heads up on the links. Not sure what's up but we're working on fixing it. The inventory to me has been the biggest money saver. I can make menus from ingredients on hand that I often buy when they are on sale. That way I'm not buying so much of a product that ends up at the bottom of the freezer for a year and then no one wants to eat that, not even the dog!

  3. Katrina (gluten free gidget) June 28, 2009 at 7:58 am #

    I have bags of kidney beans, black-eyed peas, and lentils chill-axin in my pantry. Any ideas?

    • Diane June 29, 2009 at 4:18 pm #

      OK, so first I had to figure out what ingredient chill-axin was. Then I realized you put two words together so I'm not sure my recipe ideas will be hip enough. I like lentils in a pot with carrots, celery, potatoes and onions cooked in vegetable stock. Lentils are a mainstay in many Indian recipes so I would search out some. I also like lentils with sausage. I've not really eaten black-eyed peas except on New Year's Eve with cabbage and dimes. Whoever got the dime had good fortune for the year. Kidney beans are great in Mexican dishes. Toss them into a chicken fajita dish with a little rice and you're good to go. Anyone else have some ideas to offer?

  4. gfe--gluten free easily June 28, 2009 at 10:04 pm #

    40% savings sounds pretty good! I admit I’m not good about doing structured meal planning. I tend to do inventory usually because I don’t want to go to the grocery store. Sometimes the need to avoid the grocery store has me coming up with some of my best recipes. 😉 But, when I do hit the grocery store, I want to be organized and get in and out quickly with everything I need. Thanks for the reminder and chain-yank!