Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hint 1: Menu Planning

Well, to kick start my Daily Savings Hints, I thought I would go with something obvious. MENU PLANNING.
This is such a crucial thing for large families. Not only does it help to save you money, but it helps to keep you organised. You can plan ahead, and pre-prepare things you may need for another nights cooking, to cut down on time spent making the meal itself.

What I do for my menu planning is a little different.Once a month, I sit down and write out all the meals I can think of. I try to do something different every night, hence planning for about 30 different meals. If I can't think of that many, I just do 15 and repeat the next fortnight. I know there is only 14 days in a fortnight, but if you plan for 15, you will have an extra meal in the freezer, ready to go, or have extra for any unexpected visitors.

Firstly, I got a standard 4 ring binder folder. Mine is pink of course (hehe). I then filled it with 35 plastic pockets.

The first pocket contains the list of 4 weeks of food in weekly sections, ie....

Week 1
- Lasagne
- Chicken schnitzel
- Stir-fry with rice
- Chicken Carbonara
- Steak, chips and veg
- Beef Strogonoff
- Slap - up night

Slap up night is basically a 'you find it, you can have it' night. I make sure to include one of these nights a week, as it makes us use the food that's already in the cupboards, and it gives me somewhat of a night off, making toasties or 2 minute noodles or something basic like that.

So anyway, we have 4 weeks of those.

Then the next 6 plastic pockets have the recipes for each of the meals I plan to make. That way if I am out taking one of the kids to their many after school activities, Hubby can come home and attempt start to make the meal planned.

After each week of recipes, is all the ingredients I need for those meals. I then take that list to the supermarket, and get what I need.

The website I use to get alot of my recipes is TASTE

This makes my life A LOT easier, and saves me heaps of money. I love doing this and then going to Costco in Melbourne to stock up on the non perishables! They are fantastic there and if you have the chance to go, I would recommend it! :) Happy saving.

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