Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Why I Haven't Been Following A Menu Plan

Are you shocked by the title?  Me, the lover of lists and schedules, not following a menu plan?  If you've noticed, I haven't posted a two-week dinner menu for awhile now.  Why?  Well, I'm trying something new.

Our family's life has changed quite a bit lately.  Our budget has changed because I'm not back to work yet.  I'm trying to use coupons and sales to save money.  We are now empty nesters (our youngest just left for Marine Boot Camp at Parris Island, SC).  Our garden is producing lots of veggies.  I'm trying to lose weight (anti-rejection drugs cause weight gain).  Lot's of changes.

My old method of making a two week menu, and shopping once a week just wasn't working anymore. We were wasting food and money. 

 As they say, "If the horse is dead - dismount". 

My new method is not really a new method at all.  Amy Dacyczn wrote about it in her book "The Complete Tightwad Gazette".  I think she calls it the pantry method.  Basically, you purchase items only when they are at their lowest price and you purchase as much as you'll use in a 6-8 week period. Most items go on sale every 6-8 weeks.   Using coupons in conjunction with sales is a way to get the lowest price. 

As you plan your meals, you "shop" from your pantry because you have well stocked shelves.  There are several benefits to shopping this way:
1.  You never pay full price for groceries
2.  By having short term menu plans, you can take advantage of leftovers and surplus garden produce when you have it.
3.  Your stocked pantry helps out when there is bad weather or an illness that prevents you from grocery shopping.
4.  Your grocery bill will plummet.
5.  You rarely have to make a last minute trip to the store.
I am planning my meals, but only a few days at a time.  If I roast a chicken, I use it twice that week (sometimes more).  I add it to salad, stir fry, pasta dishes etc.  Whatever veggies we have from the garden are  added.

What type of menu planning do you use?  Do you fly by the seat of your pants, pre-plan all of your menus, or do something in between? 

Don't forget the 500th post give-away:
 Here are the rules:

1. The give-away starts on July 25, 2011 and ends on July 29, 2011 at 7:00 pm EST.

2. The winner of the give-away contest gets to choose one item from my Etsy Shop - Tidy Brown Wren

3. All entrant's names will be added to a hat and the winner will be randomly chosen by Hubs (aka Sargent Safety)

4. To enter the give-away, leave a separate comment for each of the following:

          a. You are a follower of Tidy Brown Wren

          b. You like Tidy Brown Wren on Facebook

          c. Tell me which topics you like most of TBW

*The link to "The Complete Tightwad Gazette" is an affiliate link.  Just a fun tip - one of my recipes is published in Amy's book.  It's my only claim to fame!


  1. Hi Kelly! I've used the pantry method for years and it really does save money. I started when my two sons were in high school so I would always have what I needed on hand to cook a meal and not have to run out to the grocery store. The only drawback that I saw was that sometimes I wasn't as creative as I could be as a cook. I made the same thing over and over.

    Right now, my menu is pretty much driven by what is coming in in the garden. Goodness gracious, the tomatoes are really coming in! I'm sharing bags of those with lots of friends. It's almost like Christmas!
    Have a great rest of the week!

  2. How cool that your recipe is in Tightwad! Which recipe is it? I love those books. Years ago, my mom brought them to my attention as a joke (implying that I'm a cheapo). I checked them out of the library and couldn't stop reading--it helps that Amy D. is a very good writer with a great sense of humor. If she were a blogger, she'd have a huge followers list!

    I just published a post about affordable gardening and linked back to your post about rooting basil in water. Here's the post if you'd like to check it out:


  3. We fly by the seat of our pants over here; it doesn't save us much money though. But my garden just started producing so basically our dinners consist of whatever I pulled out of it! LOL


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