5 Ways That Menu-Planning Will Awesomize Your Wallet, Waistline + Life

by on August 4, 2014

This goddess began menu planning for a rather un-motherly (ok, selfish) reason …

I just wanted to be on stage.











In those days, I had a busy + brilliant life in the theater. I would do an average of one big musical + a Shakespeare + a straight play every year. As you can imagine, that’s a lot of evenings away from home.

Fortunately (by a happy combination of planning + luck), we lived right next door to my in-laws and Granny was just as happy to watch my tv in my lounge as watching her tv in hers. The only proviso was that the grandbabies were bathed + fed + ready-for-bed before I left. Oh, and there had to be coffee + biscuits too … but that was the easy part.

What wasn’t so easy in the beginning was getting dinner on the table at a regular hour so that we could get all the other night-time-preparations done before 6.30pm … my deadline for getting-to-the-show-on-time.

So I began menu planning  … plotting exactly what we four were going to eat for breakfast, lunch (including HusbandMuffin’s packed lunch) and, of course, dinner for the four of us. I would then make a list of every ingredient required and stick to my list religiously. I’d do my ‘big shop’ once a week (without the kids … which makes it easier to “stick to my list religiously”) and then just pop in to the store for fresh-things like veggies + bread on Tuesdays + Thursdays on the way back from school.

These days, I still do exactly the same thing … but for different reasons.

Nowadays, menu planning is all about freeing up my time + attention for coaching + blogging + masterminding with other business goddesses.

Seriously, angelface, not knowing what’s for dinner is one of the most stressful things that can happen in your day … ‘specially at 4 PM when there’s a hungry smallperson whining underfoot or you’re fighting traffic on your way home from the office or you’ve been online all day and omglookatthetime!

And who needs the guilt-trip of getting drive-thru … again?

Menu planning gave me a way to do what I had to do (feed the kids), as well as what I wanted to do (be on stage) but the benefits didn’t end there.

In fact, even now that there’s just three of us in the house and I’m a full-time goddess/coach/empire-builder, I find menu planning an indispensable tool in my nest-management arsenal.

So here they are…


 #1 : Menu Planning Saves You Money

Not only do you only buy what you need, but you also avoid all those impulse items that sneak into your cart when you’re rushing through the checkout aisle. It also puts an end to having four bottles of ketchup in the pantry ‘cos you’re never sure if you have any. Not to mention the savings on gas by not having to dash out to the store so often. And don’t get me started on the cost of eating out!

In my Battle Against The Grocery Giants, I also incorporated using coupons + specials when planning my menus, but for those of you who cringe at the thought, you’ll be glad to know that you’ll see wallet-happy improvements even without them.

#2 : Menu Planning Makes Staying-On-Your-Diet Heaps Easier

No Wheat Weight lossMenu planning has been one of the key tools in my maintaining my girlish figure (ok, so not quite as girlish as, say, 20 years ago but still within the range I should be) and if you’re beginning a diet or even just a new way of eating (wheat-free, anyone?), then you need to strategize what’s going to be in your pantry and (probably more importantly) what’s not.

When the 7pm munchies strike, the keeping-you-on-track-benefit of having something available that curbs the cravings AND keeps you out of temptation is not to be underestimated. Many a resolution has been broken simply by a lack of preparation + forethought.

And as someone who worked in a mall for nearly five years, let me tell you that bringing food-court-avoiding lunches to work will show up very quickly on your waist and in your wallet.

#3 : Menu Planning Saves You Time

Besides cutting down on aforementioned extra trips to the store/drive-thru (do you really want to spend half-an-hour in the car at 5pm?), you’ll also spend less time in front of an open fridge door, dithering about what to cook, or speed-defrosting stuff in the microwave.

You can also prep ahead of time … a huge boon to those who work outside the home. Believe me, nothing beats walking in the door on a winter’s evening to the smell of something delicious in the crock pot.

#4 : Menu Planning = Less Waste

Part of the ‘saving money’ benefit is also that you’ll be throwing out less. No more squishy cucumbers in the bottom of the fridge (yuk!) or freezer-burned meat that you forgot was back there and now you’re not actually sure what it is. And as left-overs get incorporated into ‘tomorrow’s lunch’, you’ll be using everything you pay for. #score

Plus our land-filled planet will really appreciate this one.

#5 : Menu Planning = Less Stress

If you’re feeling over-scheduled + stretched as thin as a cracker, you need to plan your menus. Half an hour on a Sunday afternoon, and you’ve set yourself up for a week of easy-breezey family-feeding and a whole lot more breathing room for yourself.

Doesn’t that sound sublime?

Bonus Benefit – # 6 : Menu Planning = More Time For Creativity

Art? Novel-writing? Getting down + dirty with your toddler + finger-paints? Whatever delights you, there’ll be more time for it when dinner’s out of the way.

You might even try that new recipe ….

Lasagna Recipe








Menu Planning – It’s a simple strategy but don’t let that fool you.

It’s life transforming. Seriously.

Ok, so enough already … how do you DO menu planning???

You ask … I provide.


Menu Planning 101

(y’all didn’t think I’d leave you hanging, did you?)

If you want to do it yourself …

If you want to have it done for you :

I heartily recommend Leanne Ely’s Saving Dinner
fabulous + customizable + you can even try out a week for free.

PS – this is not an affiliate link  – I just love her service.


So there ya go, supernovas.

If you hit any speedbumps in implementing this, do pop your questions in the comment box and I’ll answer them pronto.

I’d also lurve to know if you do any kind of menu-planning and if so, what’s your best tip?

Do share, lovelies. I really am all ears.


Here’s to a cheaper + easier + happy-mom-making way to feed the family,






PS If you google ‘menu planning’ you’ll find all sorts of templates. I just use a little whiteboard on the fridge. (you can see it in the background of the main graphic)
Menu planning doesn’t have to be complicated to be life-altering.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Monique August 4, 2014 at 6:53 pm

Awesome article! Planning makes so much sense and you’re definitely the go-to person to get my home and biz organized so that they run seamlessly together.
Monique´s last blog post ..Stop Pretending + Start Creating


Cassie August 5, 2014 at 10:48 am

Absolutely fabulous article! It’s one of those things I want to be SO much better at. The tips in this post are going to be a huge step towards meal planning in my life!
Cassie´s last blog post ..Are YOU The Kind of Person You Want To Spend Your Future With?


Lisa August 5, 2014 at 2:08 pm

This is so true and it’s something I used to be good at. When I was doing it regularly my grocery bill was about half of what it is now.

Thanks for the reminder!
Lisa´s last blog post ..If You Want a Man to Understand You, You Might Want to Communicate Less


Victoria August 8, 2014 at 1:42 pm

More people should take the time to create menu plans. You would save money and I am sure eat more healthily.
Victoria´s last blog post ..Free PLR Articles on Offer – Free Giveaway


Suzie Cheel August 9, 2014 at 2:07 am

Great post Jacqui and watched you video- I often cook once and eat 2 or 3 times, one for freezer and 2 meals, like tonight having last nights Salmon bake, just have to cook some veggies.
Suzie Cheel´s last blog post ..The Healing Power of Gratitude


Nathalie Villeneuve August 10, 2014 at 8:35 am

Great post Jacqui!! I agree that not having a plan for dinner can become stressful and make a few people impatient as well. I am not always consistent time wise but I almost always have all I need to prepare healthy meals within 45 minutes. I love the summer because I grill our chicken and fish faster and let’s face it…it’s so enjoyable to cook outside! There is room for meal planning at the Villeneuve’s and you offer great tips and good reminder of the importance and many benefits of it. Thank you!! ! Nathalie
Nathalie Villeneuve´s last blog post ..My Girlfriend Beverly


Kimba August 10, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Thx for these tips. I’d like to add that if I plan it right, tonight’s roast becomes tomorrow night’s tacos. MAJOR time savings.
Kimba´s last blog post ..Away, Not Gone


Cloe August 31, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Seriously needed this post today! I’ve been spending so much money going out to eat or ordering take away because I’m too tired to cook at night. Cooking in advance and menu planning is just what I need. Thanks! xo


Sarah Thompson September 1, 2014 at 8:52 am

I’m so glad that my sister sent me your blog! This article just reminded me of why I need to become a little more consistent with my menu planning (and my make ahead meals). This is especially helpful in my daycare setting… having things planned out makes the day go so much smoother!


Jacqueline Gates September 1, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Ooh ms Sarah, in my book YOU are a superhero. I couldn’t imagine being surrounded by small people all day … two was enough for me!
And yes, menu-planning will definitely smooth out your day.
Very glad your sister sent you on over too. Thank her for me.


Colleen Stratton September 4, 2014 at 11:58 am

This is a great post, Jacqueline.

Any kind of thought that you can put into your eating habits, the better it will be. Instead of ‘impulse eating’, just choosing something because it is close, or fast, or holds good memories for you, you should be thinking about what you ‘must’ eat in order to be healthy. Just making this mental change alone can prove to be very positive for most of us.

Thanks again.


Deepika Sharma July 23, 2015 at 8:10 am

Jacqueline Gats what a masterpiece. This was really informative and useful post. Looking forward to see more.


Eric || The Bucket List Project December 26, 2016 at 11:58 pm

I couldn’t agree more with everything you say here Jacqueline!!
As a single bachelor, people just assume that I just eat whatever but I was not blessed with a fast metabolism nor the winning lotto ticket. Therefore I spend a couple of hours every day days to make a set of full menues and a full on grocery list. This allows me to know everything I am eating during the week so I am not binging or foraging like a bear sabotaging my diet. It also allows me to roll into the grocery with a perfect list and know exactly what I want and rarely vary from that list which saves me tons of $$!! Great post. I love this site, I just found you!
Eric || The Bucket List Project´s last blog post ..A Bucket List Adventure Race – The Rickshaw Run


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

Previous post:

Next post: