Tuesday, February 21, 2012

52 Week Organization - Week 8

Week 8 of the 52 Week Organization is:

Meal Planning...  I used to never do it.  Then I tried it for a while and really liked it.  However, I never was good at sticking to it.  Ok back in the day I hardly ever stuck at my plan.  Last year I took it up again, only for about a month.  Once again I stopped.  I never really found my groove and it was too "hard".  Since discovering pinterest I have been bit by the organizing bug and the motivation to accomplish these things...  This is how I actually discovered this 52 week challange.  A friend started it and hooked me to it by her "pin". 

Now I plan weekly.  I have sheets that I found on pinterest that keep me organized.  This is what it looks like:

I found the form (through pinterest) at:

What I like about this form is that it has the meals on one side and a spot to write down the coresponding grocery list on the other. 

I used to put all my meals into a monthly calander.  I had no place to write grocery lists for the cooresponding meals/weeks.  This way combines them so nicely.  I have the list and the menu right there!  I have these made out for about 4 weeks.  Since I go grocery shopping on tuesdays (usually) I always try to make sure I buy what is on next weeks monday menu or have all the ingredients for it! 
Every week's menu has all the ingredients for every meal on it even if I have the items at the time I made the list.  My reasoning can be explained by an example...  This week I have Cheesy Chicken and Rice on my menu.  Back when I made this I added chicken, cream of chicken, cheddar cheese and rice to the list.  Upon reviewing my list for this weeks shopping trip I am able to cross of rice and cream of chicken soup for this recipe because I have these items in my pantry.  I didn't know 3 weeks ago when I made this if I'd have any of those items left, so, instead of forgetting an ingredient because I didn't write it down I am covered. 
This also helps me with my "budget".  I put budget in " " because I try to stay between $50 and $80 every week.  How do I do this you ask?  I usually put an approximate store price of the item next to it on the list.  This gives me an idea of how much I will be spending.  I usually am pretty good at guessing the price.  I always guess high.  I'd rather be happier that it was cheaper.  I also adjust this price while I'm shopping.  I try to not change it if it is on sale, I try to keep the orginal price next to it though.  Below is an example of a past week.  I shop directly off the list on the sheet.  No making another list, its not necessary.  This is why items are crossed off and there is scribble on it. 

I'm not sure if you can tell in the above picture but certain items are highlighted.  Those are items I have a coupon for.  That way I am aware that I have a potential for more savings.  I then can use my coupon ring at the store to its max!  After I am done shopping I attach the reciept for this week to the paper. 

You might think this is redunant because I have my guessed prices on the front, but it actually came in handy this week.  I looked up the exact price of an item that I wasn't sure what it is usually because I only buy it on sale! 

So there you have it.  Menu Planning.  Ease into it.  You might not want to start out with a whole 4 weeks in advance like I do.  (Or maybe you would!)  I would suggest, however, doing 2 weeks at a time.  You don't want to do great for 1 week and then not do it the following week because you don't feel like doing it.  It really is fun to know whats for dinner.  When your husband or kid(s) ask you what is for dinner you know!!  It is also fun for me to pull out my recipe binder while I'm making my menu and list.  It reminds me of things I haven't made in a while and it allows me to add a variety of items to our meals. 

This planning also ties into my menu board that I have on my refrigerator.  (If you didn't see it before you can find it here.)  I love being able to change this Sunday night to the next weeks menu.  Jake likes it too.  He knows what to expect.  No more of him saying I had a buffalo sandwich at lunch because I didn't know you were making buffalo wraps for dinner...  (this used to happen a lot!) 

So there you have it, Week 8!  Do you meal/menu plan and how do you do it? 

Can you believe this was the last of the kitchen organizing in the challange?  Weeks 1-8!  Can you believe we are 8 weeks into 2012?  I can't!  Where has the time gone?!?  If you have been doing this challenge how does it feel to have a clean organized kitchen.  I love it!  I get annoyed now when it gets messy!!

Anyways, they gave us a preview of where we will be heading to next:  
 The next big section of our homes and lives we'll be working on is all the paper that comes into our homes, and that we need to deal with, save, file, respond to, etc. Since this area of our homes also has lots of things to work on we'll break it down into manageable chunks and work on it for several weeks to get it all under control. Next week we'll work on organizing our addresses and contact information.
That will be a fun one, I think.  I know I have my phone, Jake's phone, and my written address book out when I write christmas cards or send invites.  I'm afraid I will forget somebody!  So hopefully the next challenge will kick my rear end into shape and get all these addresses together!

Until Tomorrow!