Whether you decide to shop once a month or not, having a meal plan is helpful. I broke down our meal planning and grocery lists into 2 parts. The first being our grocery inventory of monthly staples and the next being our meal plan/calendar.
This is our grocery inventory list. It is a record of what we try to keep stalked in our kitchen every month. Some months we don’t need to buy things because we have previously purchased it in bulk and we have enough to last another month or two. Feel free to use ours but also know that it can be tailored to your needs. I have found that this list remains true each month and I plan my meals around it. As a key, I noted a (C) when an item is bought from Costco and a (TJ) if it is from Trader Joes. I also starred items that we buy Organic. If we did not choose to buy these things Organic we would be saving some more. I also choose to buy some things from Trader Joes versus Costco for personal preferences. I marked some items as Fall because I typically only buy them during that time of year. As you start out be prepared that depending on your inventory list it may take a little extra to start up but will save you in the long run. When we started we really didn’t spend extra because we already had some things on our list.
Once you have your grocery inventory list it is a good idea to start planning your meals. You could do this the other way around but I have found starting with our inventory list is easiest for us and we can always add items later. I always incorporate a fruit or veggie with all meals (unless it is cooked within the meal). I did not label this on the plan because sometimes it depends what is still available or frozen in our supply. I have included our meal plan that I will use for September. Again, this may change based on what your dietary needs or preferences are. This can at least be an example of how the whole system works.
Lastly, based off your meal plan and grocery inventory list you will make a grocery list of what you will need (because as I mentioned before you will not need to buy everything off your inventory list every month). For our September meal plan here is what we will need… (Sometimes I just print off my inventory list and circle or highlight what we will need to buy).
Hope this helps and I know it is a lot of information. I will continue to share meal plans for each month and I’ll share recipes too. Please leave a comment or a question if you have one! Thanks for stopping by!