Homemade, Mom Life

Monthly Dinner Planning for a Family

I’ve been asked multiple times over the years how I plan meals for my family and do all of the grocery shopping.  And then it’s followed by something like, “because you are so organized.”  I get a kick out of that because I don’t feel organized.  My personality doesn’t like clutter or chaos and I have a terrible memory.  With that trifecta going against me, I just do what I need to do in order to stay sane.

There really is no hidden secret to what I do and you won’t find me spending hours clipping coupons {*gasp*).  Yes, I know, coupons are great.  But I don’t {ever} find coupons for fruits and vegetables and that is where I spend a big chunk of change.

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I try and spend a minimal amount of time on meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking because guess what?  This stay at home mom does not enjoy any of those three duties.  And with our move a year and a half ago, I have had to make some changes to how I previously tackled this task.  In a dreamy voice I reminisce back to when we lived only a few minutes from the grocery store.  It was maybe a mile and a half away.  Imagine my dream face…now see it shattered.  Ha!  I really was in for a shock when I found out that the grocery store is, wait for it…30 minutes…one way!  Yikes!  We have adjusted and gotten used to the distance, but there was quite a learning curve for a few months.

Now that I’ve set all that up, I’ll cut to the chase in just a few steps:

  1. Before the end of a month, I set up my meal plan for the entire following month.  This can take a bit of time as I consult our family calendar and base meals around what we have going on.  Two days each week are crock-pot dinners as I am not home in the late afternoon to prepare the meal.  Friday nights are usually simple meals and Saturday is my daughter’s turn to cook dinner.  And Sunday, oh we love Sunday night.  It’s brinner night!  Have you heard that term before?  Breakfast for dinner!  Brinner! On Sunday evenings we choose a meal such pancakes, waffles, or french toast.  We add in some bacon or sausage and fruit.  Yum!
  2. On the first grocery shopping trip of each month, I try and buy all of the non-perishables and meats that I can.  I like to go to Aldi’s first and then to our regular grocery store afterwards.
  3. Once a week, I do a follow-up trip to our main grocery store for the next week’s non-perishable items like fruit, veggies, bread, deli products, etc.  I also do a quick check to make sure that I didn’t miss any ingredients for the upcoming week’s dinners.
  4. Every two weeks I visit a {semi} local farm to purchase our milk and eggs.  They also sell bulk spices and seasonings that I stock up on from time to time.

To make this all easier for me, I have a few resources that I would be lost without.

First, I have our family calendar and a note pad on the refrigerator.  I use this magnetic note pad to scribble {quite literally} items that I come across while cooking that I will need to purchase.  Like I mentioned earlier, I would not remember these types of things if I didn’t write them down as I went along.  It’s nothing fancy.  Functional and useful is the name of the game!

Second, I have a meal calendar hanging inside a cabinet door.

Every square is filled with the dinner for that evening.  Do you recognize these calendars?  Target Dollar Spot, friends!

I hope that you found something useful here and I’d love to hear your tips and tricks as well!




  1. You have inspired me to take the time to start doing again and stop flying by the seat of my pants!

    Great tips!

    1. Leigh

      You go girl! Let me know what you come up with. Most of the tips was really out of necessity from living so far from the grocery store. And now it’s a matter of life and death with teenagers in the house! Momma can’t be slacking on food! Ha! ♥

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