Meal Planning 101

Hello everyone, I am currently on vacation, but a few of my readers volunteered to take over the site while I am away! They have written some excellent posts that I am sure you will love. I also have some posts I wrote answering your burning questions about The Happy Housewife. Enjoy!
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My Road Map to Meal Planning

I am really excited to be helping out the Happy Housewife with a guest post for her blog! My name is Megan Spears,  I am mom and organizing consultant. I help busy families create household management systems. In addition to running my own consulting business, avid blogger, I have two boys (3-6) that keep me on my toes, so it’s important to have good systems in place to stay organized.

One system that I use and encourage my clients and friends to use is meal planning. I know Toni does meal planning so I thought it might be fun to share how my meal planning process works. There are a couple of things I need to say first… I love coupons and seeing the big savings at the bottom of my receipt so it’s important to include those things in my planning!

1.    I do my shopping and planning every two weeks. Less trips to the store!
2.    Before I do my plan, I pull the grocery ads (only two stores where I live, so it makes it easier to choose where I go) and surf all my coupon sites beforehand.
3.    Once that is done, I collect my Fridge Grid Pad, all my printed coupons, my Couponizer book, my recipe file and the laptop.

Once I have all my “stuff,” I sit down and look through the ads and start mapping out meals for the next two weeks.

1.    I plan meals around what’s on sale.
2.    I use my laptop to search recipes based on the sale items.
3.    I have a selection of recipes that I want to make and if the items are on sale, I will plan to make it.
4.    I try to base meals on using up first what is in my pantry.

A few helpful planning tips:

1.    I base meals around our schedule so if I am gone, the family will still eat something other than McD’s or frozen pizza (although I am not opposed to that, I just prefer real food first).
2.    I try to add in at least one or two crock pot meals in each week, less prep time on busy days.
3.    I plan in at least one meat free meal each week.
4.    I document my meals on my fridge grid pad so it’s easy to reference for me and the hubby through the next few weeks.

Once I have my meals planned out, I can start crafting my shopping list. Once I have my list I am ready to go.

A few last minute shopping tips…

1.    Eat first!
2.    I take my youngest with me (he is a good helper and keeps me focused on getting it done quickly).
3.    Shop in the morning if you can, first thing! It’s amazing how empty the store is and makes for a nicer experience, not to mention the staff is usually so attentive to help first thing.

Check out Blissfully Domestic for more homemaking posts.


  1. I think I might be implementing this for the next few months atleast due to tax season and not being home to feed my dear husband. Thanks for the info!

  2. Happy Birthday 🙂

  3. I love being able to menu plan and I can definitely see how it pays off. I don’t use that many coupons though as I steer away from processed foods. I shop Aldi’s and our commissary and watch sales for Dillons. 😀

  4. Megan, very nice post. I look forward to viewing your site. I love organization!

  5. Thanks gals for the feedback and happy planning! I am originally from the Midwest… I remember Aldi!

  6. What a great post! I am so unorganized when it comes to grocery shopping and I’m sure I spend a lot more money than I need to.

  7. I need that grid thing to be turned on it’s side. Do you think it would work if I hang it funky? My brain only comprehends weeks going across anymore. dunno why.

    I’m in admiration of your ability to keep up the meal planning week to week while working and running a family.
    You motivate me.

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