How to do a Monthly Meal Plan – The Easy Way


The simple way to plan out your meals for the month. Save time and money by using this method! Plus, a free meal planning printable!

Do you hate grocery shopping as much as I do, or am I the only one who loathes the aisles of death? It’s so boring and tedious and a waste of a day every week. Not to mention how much money it costs! But, we have to eat, so what choice do we have?

Well (: Luckily for you my friend, I have figured out how to escape those automatic doors of doom (okay, I’m going way overboard here in my analogies… but I really do hate grocery shopping).

So, what is the answer? Three words:

Monthly Meal Planning

Okay, I know what you’re thinking- too time consuming, we will starve, I cannot think of that many meals for an entire month.

It’s really not that bad, simple actually, thanks to Pinterest.

You know that “food” board you have sitting there with hundreds of meals on? Use it! Plan out your month, make a list, and go grocery shopping ONCE (okay, maybe twice to stock back up on milk and fruit, but this trip is super short).

AND I’ve figured out how to do it and cut our grocery bill in half!

It only takes me about a 45 minutes to an hour to plan out, then I’m done.

Here is how it works for me:

When I plan our meals for the month, I only plan for four dinners a week. I know, it sounds crazy, but honestly it’s how I keep from buying too much. I use to plan for five dinners a week and leave the weekends free for leftovers and eating out, but we normally go to either my grandma’s or in-law’s once a week to eat. That eliminates one dinner I need to plan for. Score one for this momma!

And remember, leftovers are your friend! Busy night? Heat those leftover tortillas up! Trust me, you wont die from eating leftovers AND you will save money (& a have a night off from cooking dinner)! That’s a win-win all the way around (;

When you start your meal planning you will need to have a few things handy:

  • a blank, generic calendar
    • (I printed off a free one I found on google)
  • paper to quickly scribble down EVERY ingredient you will need
  • your Pinterest board, or other collection of favorite recipes
  • a simple and pretty shopping list
    • (like the FREEBIE I have offered at the end of this post! It is the one I use, print it double sided to save paper — you’re welcome)

Find out how to EASILY plan out your meals for a month PLUS get an awesome grocery list freebie!


First, using your favorite recipes, fill in your calendar for the month. While you are filling it in, and have the recipes pulled up, jot down EVERY ingredient you will need. Even if you know you have it already. That way you are able to double check and wont accidentally miss anything.

When I am writing down these ingredients and I get to needing the same stuff for multiple dinners, I use tally marks instead of writing the same ingredient over and over again (for example, if I need chicken for 4 meals I will write “chicken IIII”).

After you have your calendar made and ingredient list filled out for your dinners, add what you will need for lunches. This may also be an area of planning for you. I usually plan out the kid’s lunches and then the hubbs and I grab what we want when we get to the store.

Then, go into your kitchen or pantry and start marking off the items from the list that you already have and add items you see you are running low on. I also keep a little notepad on the fridge to add things we will need to restock, so I will add those things as well.

By now, you have an ugly list full of ingredients, scribbles, and marked through words. It’s now time to transfer what you have left, what you need, onto your pretty shopping list. This may be something you don’t need to do, but I am very visual and if I walk into a store with a scattered shopping list I will feel scatter-brained the entire time.

Once you have your pretty list complete, you are done!!

And now, it’s off to your final step…

Bulk Shopping 

Yes, I said it: BULK SHOPPING. Go to your local wholesale store (we use Costco) and buy what you will need for the month. Don’t know how this will work out? Ready to exit out of this blog and curse me for wasting your time?

WAIT! Head over to my post here and I’ve explained the entire process

and how bulk shopping saves my family OVER $500 a month in groceries!

Seriously, I’m not exaggerating. It’s wonderful! And I am able to feed my jolly green giant and his little sasquatches without any complaints!

There you have it–Monthly Meal Planning. Saving you time, money, and your sanity- because now you have cut your shopping trips (and your bill) in HALF! Talk about simple!

Do you have any suggestions, or strategies, on monthly meal planning? Do you have any questions? If so, comment below!

Do you want to know the EASY way to planning out your meals for the month? Read this post AND download a FREE monthly shopping list!

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