Menus are an important part of the frugal lifestyle. After a while you'll know what your family will eat and the written menus tend to go to the wayside. But until this time, I suggest you rely on writing out weekly menus.
To plan a menu with the sales in your area simply check out the sales and the coupons and rebates you have for the sale items and jot down dinner meals for the week. The time it takes depends on your schedule. I take a bit longer because I am retired and can go through the task in a leisurely manner. A young mother who is at the mercy of a baby's schedule most likely won't have as much time. You'll come up with a routine that works for you.
A typical meal would contain the 4 food groups and look something like this:
Tuesday's lunches would contain chicken salad sandwiches.
The chicken can be used later in the week as a soup or hot sandwiches and gravy.
Or it can be frozen for additional meals later on. The chicken is used because it is on sale as are the potatoes. Chicken on sale for 49 cents a pound as opposed to 1.19 a pound will save 3.50 on a five pound bird. If the potatoes are BOGO at 4.00 for a 5 pound bag, (this is a common lost leader item) the savings is an additional 4.00 for 5 meals. A savings of 7.50 is rather significant. Add these savings up over a month and your grocery bill has noticeably been reduced.
So give it a try. If you work outside of the home, take a few minutes at lunch to plan your meals. If you put the savings in a jar or an account, there will be a visual resource that will empower you to continue saving. At the end of the year, I see a nice little vacation for the whole family.
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