Um, in case you missed it, the secret weapon was...wait a minute, I'm trying to drum up readers here. Guess you're gonna have to go look to find out what the secret weapon was.
Go ahead, roll your eyes, let out a heavy sigh, it's okay, I know I would have. That was just a shameless plug to get you to read my stuff! ♥
Any who....moving on...
I am sooo not a coupon girl! Just the thought of littering my entire kitchen table with coupons and then attempting to compare coupons to sale ads makes my head spin out of control, not to mention, it makes the OCD me shiver!
I have a friend, Jenny, who coupons and the pictures she posts of the process makes my heart palpitate! I hear tell she is starting a new series, "Couponing 101: How I do it!" come September over at FaithandGoodWorks.com. You should check it out if coupons are your thing.
I just can't do it. Not only are there too many time constraints for me, I just don't have it in me. <she says with a full-body shiver>
My method of choice is definitely menu planning.
Most of the people in my little life circle don't use menu planning, so I have to wonder if that's true about other folks.
The idea for sharing how menu planning can save dollars isn't new; I've seen it around. I think the concept is often times difficult to get a good grasp on, so the more the merrier I say!
I'll admit, in the beginning, it was a bit time consuming, but with a little work comes great rewards!
You too can reap great rewards with just a bit of work; I'll give ya my steps and you can adapt them for you. OR If you prefer, no work at all, simply use my menu planning system (available in the next post of the series).
First things first:
♦ Figure out which menu planning system works for you: The hardest part was designing a plan that worked for me. I researched and looked at other menu planning ideas but none of them really seemed to fit. I know this is a possibility for you and my system, but ya never know til ya share, right? I'm here to tell ya, not all menu planning systems are created equal. Don't hesitate to do some looking around. Be picky! This has to work for you so you will want to use it!
♦ Cant find what you're looking for? Design your own: It took me a couple of weeks of playing in my Microsoft Word and other programs to finally get a design I thought I could live with. Instead of inserting a table, I inserted square shapes. At this point I wasn't sure if I was going to laminate, using dry erase markers or some other method. That was okay. I knew I'd figure it out. Don't be afraid to try different things. Eventually, you will hit upon something that strikes your fancy and it will work!
♦ Make the system work for you: Once I had the menu itself designed, I needed to figure out how I wanted it to work. I had casually been on myfridgefood.com but only for one recipe at a time, so I knew its capabilities. I also had my Yummies board on Pinterest that was chocked- full of recipes, and of course lets not forget the good ol' internet search option. Still, I needed to figure out how to get them from those places, onto the menu plan in a way that was going to save money. After all, that was the prime objective!
♦ Chose a method that's most frugal for you: I finally decided to start with myfridgefood.com because it let me start with what I already had in the kitchen. That HAS to be cost effective I said to self! The process was then about filling out an account for the site, plugging in the ingredients I already had, and searching through the recipes that popped up! Find the method that works most frugally for you!
♦ Using the Menu Board: Once I had my recipes, I needed to decide how I wanted to put them on my menu board. I finally decided I wasn't keen on the dry erase...messy, messy, messy (I'm a bit OCD, remember?) The next best option for me was mini post-it notes. They come in great colors (I love color coordinating things). I can stick them on any day of the week and move them around when my schedule called for it.
It sounds like a lot more work then it really is. Don't get me wrong, it did take some time, but in the end it was totally worth it!
This ends part 1 of this series. I know you are sitting on the edge of your seats in great anticipation for part 2. Don't miss it!
Next up...How does all of this save money and make menu planning frugal? Good question.
Be sure to check back for the answer and more!