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Why I Failed at Meal Planning and Why I’m Trying Again

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I had had a long day. I was tired, not feeling well, and a little down. I wanted nothing more than to sit on the couch and relax. My husband normally does not question my methods, but finally he asked if I was planning on making supper. Yes, I said with a sigh, I was going to make something, I just didn’t know what yet. Then he gently reminded me that we left in a half hour to go to church. I stared at him, not believing that I had forgotten that it was Wednesday. I had thirty min to clean, eat and get around for church, and I didn’t have a plan. I started to cry, and he gave me a hug and said it would be okay. It was, but neither of us forgot the day that I forgot it was Wednesday.

Why I Failed at Meal Planning

When I first moved to West Virginia as a new bride, I had great expectations for meal planning and creating a monthly menu. Honestly, it was a lot harder then because I was new to grocery shopping and full time cooking. I didn’t know the quantities I needed or the staples I could stock up on, so even if I did plan a menu, it was hard to keep the food on hand that I need. It also took some time for me to figure out my husband’s preferences. It took a lot of trial and error to learn what meals we liked and what meals we didn’t.

Why I’m trying again

My meal planning has more or less gone by the wayside, but this weekend, as part of Ruth Soukup’s no spending challenge, I created a menu for the month of October. I’m looking forward to seeing how it works for me. I’m more comfortable in the kitchen now, and I know what meals we like, so I have positive expectations. I’m even looking forward to having a menu:

  1. I am prepared for each meal, which eliminates the frustration of not having the ingredients for that night’s meal.
  2. I can look forward to cooking instead of staring at Pinterest trying to come up with a last minute meal to make do.
  3. I can look forward to a healthy, tasty, homemade meal.
  4. I waste less ingredients and save money grocery shopping.


I like to plan my menus on the iPad calendar. I can easily edit it, and notes, and set it to repeat every year or every month.

When I made my menu, it was helpful to refer to a list of all our favorite meals. Ruth actually included that step in day three of her Living Well Spending Zero challenge. I also took inventory of my pantry and freezer and tried to included ingredients that I haven’t used in a while. I found a tasty looking salmon croquette recipe that might use up the can of salmon I’ve been avoiding. Over all, I’m really looking forward to the meals on this month’s menu, and I plan to continue using monthly menus.

If you were like me, and gave up on making a menu, you might enjoy taking a fresh start. Whether it’s one week, two weeks, or one month, a menu might be an easy fix to grocery and cooking stress.

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