Wednesday, December 21, 2011

a girl with a plan

Well, I've worked with my paper planner for a few months now, and I'm struggling with it a little bit. Not because it's not electronic. But because it doesn't have enough space for a to-do list or a task list of sorts. There IS a to-do list section in the back, but it's separate from the calendar part, which, try as I might, just does NOT work for me.

I figured I'd take another look to see if I could find something that might work a bit better for me. I did a bit of online searching last night, and found this mom agenda planner that I think will work... plus LOVE the color (it's me, don't you think?)

So, I placed an order first thing this morning. I thought that the start of a new year might be a good time to transition to a new planner. Plus, a little perk, this one has a specific spot for dinner planning at the bottom of each day. So I can at least jot down a reminder at the bottom of each day regarding what's on the menu for that evening.

I think I'll still keep my separate menu planner, though. I've really liked it, and it's been working out well. Have I ever showed it to you? I don't think I have...

In my desperation and determination to get a handle on our dining habits, I went to Wal-Mart. *lol* Seriously, though, I found a CHEAP planner on sale there - of the $3 variety. It's a basic planner with a calendar for each month and a 2-page spread for each week. So I do a high-level view on the calendar page. On each day, I write down the general meal I'm planning for that day. That way I get a better over-all view and prevent things like, say, eating 5 beef-based meals in a row, or eating tacos 2 days after we eat burritos. Stuff like that. It also helps me plan for specific days of the week that are busiest for us. For instance, I have ZERO cooking time on Thursdays, so I know that a crock pot meal or a super-quick make-ahead meal will be needed. The calendar page just helps with the overall menu concept for the month.

Then. On the daily pages, I can fill in the details of that day's meal... the main course, the sides, any desert I might want to plan. I use the daily pages to help me assess our food inventory and grocery needs. Also, this helps me better plan for using up the fresh veggies that we have on-hand by making sure to include them in the week's side dishes. It has helped to drastically cut back on our grocery budget in the past few months. I've gone from about $850 a month on groceries to about $650-$700. Nice. I think so far for December I've only spent about $550 in groceries. I'm amazed at what a little planning can accomplish!

So what's on the menu for tonight? Layered Enchilada Bake with fresh veggie toppings, tortillas and fresh salsa, and mini cornbread.


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