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Honored Contributor
Posts: 11,126
Registered: ‎06-20-2010

Re: How do you plan your weekly meals?

I don't plan. It depends on who is home and what activities are going on.

My family won't eat frozen meats or chicken. I buy those fresh from the butcher when I need them.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,336
Registered: ‎03-11-2010

Re: How do you plan your weekly meals?

The only real meal planning I do is for big holiday meals like Thanksgiving. The rest of the time I just cook up/make whatever I feel like and whatever we have in house. I try not to repeat meals often, even breakfasts.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,652
Registered: ‎03-11-2010

Re: How do you plan your weekly meals?

The only meal planning I do around sales is ground beef. I buy when a large pack is on sale and make a few meals using the beef. We bought two large family packs of ground beef this this week because of the price. It is cold and I am making lots of chili and soup. When the price is higher I buy a small pack and make fewer meals with beef. I hate frozen meat and buy fresh. The breakfast foods we eat are are usually very affordable and we buy as needed. In winter we usually have eggs and hot cereal for breakfast.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 9,623
Registered: ‎07-28-2012

Re: How do you plan your weekly meals?

I keep a decent supply of basics on hand, always, so I can make a meal pretty easily. However, I don't plan menu's out more than today, tomorrow, and maybe the next day, except for a general idea. If I need something additional to finish out my meals, I can go by the store and pick up those items for as far ahead as I have planned. Keeps me out of the store except maybe 1 extra time per week, and then I just pick up what I went there for, not adding in extras on this trip. My main shopping is done every 2 weeks or so, and that extra trip once per week has specific items to finish out my week of meals/fresh dairy or produce, etc. I know this probably doesn't make a ton of sense, it is just how I do it and it works for me.

"To each their own, in all things".
Honored Contributor
Posts: 8,628
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: How do you plan your weekly meals?

I take time every Saturday morning to plan our menu for the week. I use iCal to keep track and share that calendar with DH. His phone alerts him every day at 5 pm to tell him what we're having for dinner, even if it's our Friday night pizza night.

I make the menu based on what's already in my freezer, what's on sale and what kind of schedule we have for the week. On very busy days I plan something simple, or a crock pot meal that I can prep in the morning before work.

I make my list based on the menu and we shop every Saturday.

There's an iPhone app called "Clear", that is the best list-making app I've ever come across.

If you're a list maker like me, try it.

~ house cat ~
Valued Contributor
Posts: 575
Registered: ‎07-29-2013

Re: How do you plan your weekly meals?

I don't really plan meals. I try to keep things simple as possible, so during the week I don't really do anything elaborate for dinner, just a stir fry, salads, pasta, rice dishes. We don't eat a huge variety of things anyway and I usually buy the same items.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 19,918
Registered: ‎08-08-2010

Re: How do you plan your weekly meals?

I rarely plan more than a day ahead what we will be eating. We have two freezers well stocked, and a large basement pantry. I can 'shop' from my own shelves and freezers for any number of combinations. I only buy food on sale (except for a small amount of fresh produce each week, and not even that in the summer with the garden) and always have what I need on hand to make anything we want. What I intend to fix can change from hour to hour as the guys living here can have unpredictable schedules, and if I had planned a more involved meal, it may change to having to make something quick.

Many of the experts claim that you should make a menu for a certain length of time, buy only the foods to meet than menu and nothing else. They claim that is the way to save money on groceries. I say NOT. Planning that way will cause you to put mostly full priced items in your cart. My philosophy is to buy only on sale, buy enough to get you through to the next sale. For fresh foods, eat seasonally, choosing what is cheapest in season, and preserve what you can grow or get cheap in season.

Of course there are rare times when, for example, lettuce is high in the middle of the winter, and I will buy it anyway, because we want a salad, but I'd say less than 10% of my shopping is ever full priced.

There are times I will spend $600 a month on groceries, then go for weeks and pick up nothing but milk. I only buy what is a rock bottom price, and plenty for our future needs. Couple that with coupons when possible, and it is, to me, the real way to save money. You do have to be committed to rotating the food, and using what you buy, or this will backfire.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 11,977
Registered: ‎09-01-2010

Re: How do you plan your weekly meals?

I pretty much cook whatever someone is in the mood for. This time of year we are stocked to the gills, as I stay out of grocery stores during the height of flu season. I shopped before Christmas, and will not need to shop again until March. Usually the only thing we need in the meantime is bread and milk, which my husband or one of our daughters will pick up. Since we are eating from our freezer stock during the winter, I usually clean the freezer in April, and see what needs to be used up before restocking begins.
Honored Contributor
Posts: 11,153
Registered: ‎05-22-2012

Re: How do you plan your weekly meals?

I don't plan around sales. When I do plan, it's based around what's going on that week - am I working late, do I have activities that will mean I won't be eating at home, is the weather cold so I might want soup or chili, is it too hot to use the oven, do I have an event that requires I bring food or snacks, etc. In the winter, I make a lot of soups and roast a lot of vegetables, which I don't do in the summer because I don't want to turn my oven up to 400 when it's 100 outside.

I also bring some backup ideas in case the store is out of a core ingredient I had planned a meal around.

I live alone, so it's easy.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,371
Registered: ‎06-19-2010

Re: How do you plan your weekly meals?

I just usually look for sales on ground beef and any kind of chicken. I can make several different dinners out of that. I never know who will be home either which makes it more difficult. I use the crockpot a lot this time of year and the soup or stews can be nuked in the microwave when ever they get home.