7 tips to menu planning and money saving

October 2, 2014

Are you a superwoman or a superman?  Yeah, me neither! Ah.  I wish though, it would be nice and help on a daily basis!   Be a hero, save lives, fly or whatever my superpower would be…   Well, well, well…  Sorry to break it to you but none of it exists.

I have a question that I do get asked quite often though:  How you find time to blog (recipe testing, photographing, editing and writing) and work full-time and 2 kids at home?  Mhh… Are you ready for the answer?  I don’t know.

7 tips menu planning

The blogging part, I am still trying to figure it out…  I am having a hard time sticking to a posting schedule and my will to sleep generally takes over anything.  I need to work on it, I know it, I will eventually figure out a rhythm that works better for me.

At home, scheduling my menu has helped us a lot: Listing meal for the week allows us to have a more relaxing week and buy smarter.  I have gathered a few tips that I hope will help you smoothing out your daily routine and wallet.

1. Plan menu for the week.

Make a list of meals that your family likes and pick what you wish to cook that week. Consider  what is in season and the sales available at your store.  Apply those 2 advises and your final bill will say thank you.

2. Shop for what you need.

Now that you have established a menu for the week, make a list of ingredients you will need.  This step will save you time and money at the grocery store.  I have shopped way faster by just grabbing what I need and not browsing all the aisles (although I love looking around in supermarkets!)

3. Plan according to your fatigue level.

Do you feel as motivated and rested on Fridays than you do on Mondays?  I don’t.  So I consider making easier and faster meals as the end of the week approaches.  Monday and Tuesday, I would do something that requires more preparation whereas on a Thursday, I would stick to something more simple.

Beginning of the week: Homemade meat balls

#FRD2014 Meat balls

End of the week: French Croque-Monsieurs

4. Cook a few batches at the time.

Of course!  If you got all the ingredients and dishes out, might as well make a double or triple batch and freeze it.  I do that with a few recipes like my lasagna.


5. Make a new dinner with the leftovers.

I know, some people hate eating twice the same meal in a row.  I don’t mind.  Still, I like to challenge myself and re-purpose some leftovers.  It always looks like a new dish while it isn’t! Give a second life to that chicken or that leftover of ground beef!

Try my cheesy chicken quesadillas: Chicken quesadilla

 6. Do some preparation in advance.

As you making a Quiche tomorrow?  Well, get ahead and make the crust tonight.  Think about what you will do in the upcoming days that could help get ahead, even if it involves chopping a few veggies for tomorrow’s ratatouille.  Every little bit helps in a busy life.  Trust me.


7. Look at what you have in your pantry and fridge.

You don’t have to make full-cart groceries every week, you might have ingredients in your veggie drawer, freezer or pantry that could be incorporated in your menu.  Be creative, the sky is the limit and you don’t always have to stick to a recipe.  How about that can of black beans in your pantry?  Make a chili con carne!

Chili con carne

Your time is precious, specially the one spent with your family.  Although cooking is my passion, my family is my life and my number one priority so I try to be efficient.  I am not perfect but I’m working on it :)!

It certainly makes evenings smoother and you feel like a winner by being ahead of the game.  All those efforts eventually pay off and planning a weekly menu has its benefits, you:

  • Save money.
  • Save time in the kitchen.
  • Save me from the headaches and frustration.

And YOU…  What is your secret weapon to a relaxing week when it comes to cooking?

  1. I know I should plan my menu for the week
    to avoid the hassles that comes when I don’t plan
    but most of the time I just end up not planning.
    My bad.
    Thanks for the tips
    I could really use them♥

  2. Hey Melanie, this is so true! If we never planned our meals we would never be able to eat as well as we do with as little of stress. Thanks for sharing all the tips!

  3. This is a great little list, Melanie! I like the suggestion to cook simpler at the end of the week. I’ve made the mistake of being a bit too ambitious on a Friday night before and ended up exhausting myself!

  4. Melanie, these are all great tips that you listed. I like to use a site called Meat Deal Finder to help me save time and money. http://meatdealfinder.ca

    It saves me sorting through the flyers and let’s me know where the best sales are each week. It works for all of Canada.

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