Wednesday, April 06, 2016

{ Menu Plan and Grocery Notebook }

Menu Plan and Grocery Notebook

On my Happy Homemaker Monday tip, I mentioned my notebook.  Actually I have 2 or 3 designated for meal planning and grocery lists.

I think I may have mentioned them in the past, along with my monthly bills notebook too.

A couple of you showed interest and I received some messages asking me if I could share a little more about the notebook and how I use it.  I may in the future do a post on my budget and bills notebook as well, but for today I thought I would come in and show you and talk a little more about my menu planning book.

Menu Plan and Grocery Notebook

There is nothing super fantastic about it, it's not a book that you buy at the store specifically designed for this purpose.  It's a simple notebook that I turned into my meal planning and grocery book, a place I could keep it all together and actually take with me to the grocery store.

I've been meal planning for 20 or so years, you all know that, I've talked about it at length here on my blog.  I went many many years with just jotting down the menu on a piece of paper, a grocery list on a separate piece and then chucking them both out when I was done with them.

I'm not saying that it didn't work for me, it did, but it kind of had it's drawbacks and I wanted something a little more concrete to work with.

Ok, maybe you're a little confused by what I mean.  It all boils down to what works for some doesn't work for others.  For me, I wanted to have a way of looking back on menus from the past, see what we were eating, what my grocery list was like, about how much I spent and so forth.  I also wanted to be able to have the menu with me at the grocery store because, and I don't know if this happens with any of you, but I sometimes want to see what I'm buying a certain ingredient for,  as by the time I am at the store I've forgotten.

Menu Plan and Grocery Notebook

So how did I start mine, and how can you start one for yourself?  What do you put in there, how does it work?

I have all those answers for you, and I do hope that it helps you as it's helped me.  To be honest, when I mentioned it here on the blog I had no idea anyone would say anything and even less, want to know how to start their own.  You ladies are always surprising me, or maybe it's that I do things without even thinking that there's anything special about it, but I've been told by so many family and friends that I inspire them in homemaking and maybe this is my path in this life.  I don't know if it is, I just do what I do for myself and if anyone takes the idea and runs with it, that's a good thing :)

Right, now back to the notebook.

Like I said above I have a about 2 or 3.  I just picked out notebooks that I liked.  


I have a pink spiral one too.

The one I'm currently using is the green one as you can see on the very first photo on the post.

So what I do when I'm ready to plan the next two weeks meals, is to pull out my cookbooks or look online for inspiration.

Menu Plan and Grocery Notebook

On one page I write out my menu.  I usually just jot down dinners which is the biggest meal and the one I really need to pay attention to.  Breakfast and lunches are easy peasy and I always have things on hand for those.

Menu Plan and Grocery Notebook

Not to say that I don't sometimes write down breakfast and lunch too, but I mainly do it only if I'm having extra guests, or it's holidays or something along those lines.

Menu Plan and Grocery Notebook

As I write down the meal for that day, I immediately take note of any ingredients that I have to buy, on the opposite page.  It just makes it easier for me as I go along to do it this way, instead of waiting until the end and writing the grocery list.

Menu Plan and Grocery Notebook

One thing I also do is write down the cookbook page beside the meal.  Whichever books I'm using for that menu plan, I keep aside so that I don't forget which one I used.  All others I didn't need, go back to the shelf.

Menu Plan and Grocery Notebook

When I go to the grocery store, I take the book with me, so when you start your own, make sure it's small enough to take with you, you certainly don't need a big chunky book to haul around.

Mine fits perfectly in my bag.

Menu Plan and Grocery Notebook

There are so many times that I need inspiration, and I can't tell you how much I enjoy flipping back through the pages and looking at previous menus.  There is always a recipe or two that jump out at me, something we really enjoyed, something I had totally forgotten about, a simple cheap meal etc.

Meal Planning and Grocery Notebook

One thing I also do, is to jot down how much the grocery bill was.  It definitely helps when keeping track for budget reasons, I can see when I spent more, what we were eating, when I spent less and so on.

So yeah, that is basically what my notebook is and how I use it.  I hope it gives you all an idea on how to start your own, I also hope that you're able to make it work for you.  Do let me know if you already do something similar and if you start using one I would love to hear back from you as to how it's working and if it's helping etc.


  1. The timing of your post is perfect! This is actually something I've been thinking about doing for a few weeks -- getting it all in one place (meal plan, grocery list, $ spent), but I couldn't quite wrap my head around how I wanted to organize it. You definitely helped me out!

  2. Love this system Sandra! I bet it would help with inspiration to look back at former meal plans. I often write right on the cookbook page if we really liked a recipe, or if I changed anything to it. xoxo

  3. I've been doing almost the same thing for more than 20 years. I use the little pocket calendars to write my menu's on. Like you, I find it helpful to look back at previous years for ideas. It's also fun to look back and see what we were doing at that time, because if we were gone and I don't have to make a meal, I write where we are...

  4. I like how you organize your menu planning, good idea on keeping a record so you can go back in the future for ideas....I just do mine weekly on notebook paper....think I will try your method, thank you for sharing....


  5. Glad you're enjoying your Texas life.
    Does your son help with the mowing?
    I have two sons and when they were at home it was part of their chores.

  6. This is an absolutely wonderful idea! I love it so much I may have to adopt it myself now. Thanks for sharing. I found you on someones side bar and came over and this post, along with the ones about what is happening in your week with the tv suggestions and your favorite youtube channels caught my eye! Thanks so much.


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