Plan Your Menu Ahead to Save Time and Money

menu planning 450x600 Plan Your Menu Ahead to Save Time and MoneyWhat to cook today? That is a million dollar question.

This is the most talked over issue in a household. Whether you are a housewife, working mom, stay at home or work at home, this question is always poking you.

Is there a solution to this?


Planning is the key. I have already discussed some time management tips to save time in your home. Today I am going to talk about another time and money saving tip.

You can create monthly and weekly menu plans. While planning menus you can also collaborate with your kids. This way you’ll be able to keep their interest in eating what you have cooked and their will be no dining table arguments whether they want to eat it or not.

You can plan your menu in a traditional way by writing it in your household notebook.


The second method is to create and keep your menu online. For this you can use your Google calender or any online calender you are comfortable with. In one of my previous posts I had mentioned an online family organizer. You can also store your menu plans there.

How will this save your time and money?

It will save your time as;

You don’t have to spend hours to think, what to cook today? Just check out the list you have created and start working on cooking your meal. You can paste this list on your kitchen door or refrigerator.

If you have created an online menu you can check it out while reading your daily emails.

There are some meals which require a lot of time and hard work  while others are cooked in an hour or so. So if you have already planned your menu plan, you’ll know on which day you’ll have to start your preparations early.

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Photo Credit: Michaela Kobyakov

For example if you are going to cook mixed vegetables, then you’ll have to peel and cut them before you cook them. But if you are like me then you’ll peel, cut and freeze all your vegetables that you are going to cook this week. It will save  you a lot of time and headache.

If it is a meat dish and you have your meat in the freezer then get it out of the freezer 2-3 hours before you are going to cook it. Don’t cook the frozen meat as it will take a lot of you precious time to get cooked.

Soak your lentils half an hour or more before you start you cooking.

While planning your meals, keep your cook books, magazines, recipe cards at hand.  You can also use your favorite recipe websites and blogs to plan your menus. I have some great desi meal websites in this post of  What’s Cooking?. Check it out here.

It will save you money because;

You’ll only buy food that you are going to cook. In this way you’ll have your shopping list ready. Whether you shop weekly or monthly, just create your grocery shopping list while making your menu plan.

That is it for today. I’ll be sharing more home management and time management tips with you in coming posts so keep reading.

Feel free to share your opinions, suggestions and criticism in comments and if you like this post and you want to read practical home tips for now and then, please subscribe through email or RSS feed.

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  1. Wow your survey is about 50/50 between those who planned and those who don’t!

    That’s kind of weird!

    I’m visiting from Blogging Buddies

    Have a great day!

    Come on home
    Latest post: If you could be an animal

    • Yeah it is weird. menu planning is not something we do often here in Pakistan. The reason for writing this post is to impress the importance of time in managing a home.

      • Isn’t that because you have lots of cheap places to eat? When I go to Asia, I’m always excited about the many street shops that offer excellent food for low prices. Wish we had the same here.

  2. leticia says:

    yeh thats a great idea! but smtms we forget abt the minor things that are usually the most important at the same time! great post!

  3. Great blog indeed!!!

  4. I do my best to plan our menus every week. I must admit that there are some weeks where the menu goes right out the window. I actually blogged about my slacking off today. Hopefully I can manage to get myself back on track.

  5. Hi
    I am still surfing through your blog and I am really liking all the articles. I feel so encouraged to see someone from the same background doing a wonderful job.

    I have added you to my blog’s favourtes. I will be happy if you do that too :)


  6. This is going to be the first thing I will ask my wife to do. Lol

  7. Thanks Utopian. I’m waiting to see my blog over here :)

  8. My hubby always wanted me to plan menu for a week but does seem to work out due to kids’ choices or surpise guests …. On paper this planning looks fablous!
    By the way you have a wonderful blog :)

    • Thanks @housewife for stopping by. I was about to reply the part in your comment where you said that “does not seem to work out due to kids’ choices or surpise guests …. On paper this planning looks fablous!
      I just love your comment and decided to write a post on this topic.
      check it out here: Menu Planning for Kids and Guests

  9. Same here in the Philippines. No menu planning. We cook and prepare what’s already available in he garden or store.

    Please visit my blog: Hydrolyze

  10. Having a menu plan for the week is an easy way to save money. Grocery shopping with a plan limits pricy impulse purchases and return trips to the store for forgotten items, when I always seem to pick up more than just the forgotten items.

  11. This is a great idea! ! Sometimes we forget about the minor things that are usually the most important at the same time! great post!Thanks for sharing.

  12. Menu planning – or meal planning – is simply planning your meals ahead of time. You can plan for several days, a week or even a month at a time.Thanks for sharing this post,i learn something new today.

  13. Sounds terrific blog for I am looking for the best one to prepare on the lunch time. I would appreciated it for you shared it to the reader. I’d learning on your post.
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  14. Wennie says:

    When budgeting, saving time is a consideration for the frugal as is saving cash. It’s important to do both. One way to save both time and money is to organize your schedule and your pantry and begin to plan your meals in advance. Now don’t panic and think you have to lay out a full week’s menu every Sunday! Planning even one day ahead will make a huge difference in your pocketbook because you’ll eliminate those quick trips to McD’s when supper-time hits and there’s nothing on the stove…Thank you for sharing ;)

  15. I definitely agree with you- menu planning is great way to ensure that you’re never at a loss for what to cook and is an easy way to save money. Admittedly it may take a bit of extra initial effort but the benefits are definitely worth it! Certainly, planning is the most economical way to cook; not only can you take advantage of multi buy deals, as you say you are much less likely to waste food or impulse buy. I also find planning to be beneficial in terms of health; it’s much easier to ensure that your getting enough fruit and veg etc. each day if you plan ahead. You’ll always avert that situation of having to cobble together something less than nutritious or even worse, resorting to the local take away! Since I started planning meals for the family I’ve actually found cooking to be a much more pleasant experience; it’s certainly less stressful and the family have definitely been more satisfied. A great idea all round!

  16. I agree with your menu planning. This is so great to prepare and present a good meals to everyone. I also like the point of view about your blog, specially in the term of budgeting the money. I really like your article. Thank you for posting this. I look forward for your next article. Keep it up.

  17. “What to cook today? That is a million dollar question.” I agree. Thinking of what to cook spontaneously is such a headache and menu planning is indeed the very possible way to get yourself out from the headache of thinking what to cook for meals. As you said, it becomes less time-consuming because you already have a list of what to cook and you know exactly how long it would take to cook; and it sure does make you save money. And just like you and some people who do menu planning, I find it more convenient and enjoyable. The members of my family actually thought it was a great idea that I started menu planning. People should try. It sure will work out.

    Amy Bell

  18. Very useful tips on planning and preparation of meals. Believe it or not many couples have unnecessary tension in their relationship as a result of the unanswered question of “what’s for dinner” or “where do you want out go eat?” Following your advice noted above should alleviate some of the stress in the relationship.

  19. Great post! Thanks for this great information. I have same questions every day with my wife.

  20. Why not just get the kids to cook, that’ll save time ;)

    Planning ahead definitely saves time. It means you don’t have to think about it every day and instead just think about it once a week. It also makes shopping easier and prevents you from buying things you don’t need. It can also be a good idea to cook a large amount of some foods and then freeze some for the next week. With some things this effects that taste, but for a lot of meals it tastes just as good.

  21. Your tips were really useful and very helpful to us. Menu planning is really important for every person, to know much better of what kind of healthy food you should eat. This blog is really informative one.

  22. I agree that creating weekly menu plans can save you time and effort in thinking and preparing dishes at home. That tips about mixed vegetables are quite unique, and I’d love try some of them at home sometime.

  23. I really admire my wife preparing menus from day 1 to day 7..She’s really organized and would want me to get involved (of course because im the eater LOL). She would ask me what I want to eat the that day and the next day and so on and so forth. She takes care of it and I’m lovin’ it.

  24. It is never always that plain and simple. I prefer doing it impromptu because you may never know if it would appeal to the family or if there are series of unfortunate events like oh well I don’t know maybe unexpected visitors.

  25. Hello,

    This is the daily question in my family. I have found that making a menu saves me tons of money at the grocery and a lot of time. Lately, have been taking the initiative to go to the store weekly with my menu and I am enjoying it thus far. I feel so much more organized and healthy at the same time!


    • This really is a difficult task. I have taken the next step and made some forms to get everything organized. Thank you for sharing your feedback with us.

  26. I know that planning could save me a lot of times, but never read anything about it before… I think I will make this article available for my wife this evening and we could give planning a try.

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