it seemed a little too planful when i first heard about it on the 5dollardinner blog, but i was intrigued by the monthly meal plan idea. last summer, i had done a weekly plan but it seemed as though we were spending more money than we needed to. i also found that there was not enough flexibility to change things around if a last-minute outing came up. to top it off, i was always reworking the plan… and it was only meant to cover a week!
some people might think we’re crazy, but doing a monthly meal plan has actually reduced my daily/weekly stress about meals, simplified planning around weekly shopping, reduced food expenses and also contributed to greater variety and enjoyment around cooking in the house.
taking into account the stockpile concept, monthly meal planning is actually not too ridiculous. tp be honest, it does take 1-2 months to build up a stockpile big enough to even think about a monthly meal plan. but once you have the stash of dry goods and enough go-to recipes, you realize how much flexibility it can offer.
most weeks when i shop, i am only after produce and dairy to accommodate whatever is on the meal plan for that week, then i stock up on any great deals that are available.
i admit that we flip the plan around a fair amount during the month. i am human… and often forget to thaw pre-cooked dishes, run out of key ingredients, or decide to run errands in the evening and stop somewhere for dinner instead. the beauty of the monthly meal plan is that it’s soooooo easy to swap a planned future meal for tonight’s meal. when this happens, i also make sure any missing ingredients get on next week’s grocery list!
and yes, we do repeat meals. 3 of 4 family members eat pizza happily and we plan that for 1-2 times a month. one day, we will all eat pizza – i just KNOW it! also, when one parent is gone for dinner, which is at least once a week, the remaining members usually have cold cereal (with 20 boxes of cereal in the stockpile, you would too!) finally, my kids love pancakes. if everything else goes out the window, we make pancakes, turkey sausage and fruit. i can only hope that one day my kids will eat eggs!
a monthly meal plan works for us and i plan to stick with it. i love how organized our meal planning is and how little i worry about feeding my family of four. we do this on a small budget which is pretty amazing to me. however, what would be even more amazing is if the meal cooked itself. if anyone has a tip on that, i am all ears.