One of the best ways I have found to save money on groceries is, you guessed it, menu planning. Each week before I take my trip to the grocery store I sit down with not only my coupon folder (which you will find out about in a later post) but also my sheet to plan the week's menu. You can find a copy of the sheet I use here. This not only saves on me not buying unneeded items from the grocery store but also keeps us from eating out during the week! I don't know if you're like me but when it gets to 4:00 and I don't know what's for dinner yet, I am much more likely to just go out to eat or order in.
But you don't want to JUST menu plan anything. Plan your menu along with that week's sales ad for your local grocery store. What I do is look at the sales ad and find what the best priced meats, pasta etc are that week and I plan my main dish around that. For example, say chicken breasts are on sale for .99/lb (which is the rock bottom price around here) then I would put Chicken Casserole or Grilled Chicken on my menu for the week. Next I would look at the sale on veggies and plan my side dishes based on that (and of course what sounds best with the main dish). Another example would be that macaroni noodles AND hamburger are on sale this week, along with campbells cooking soups, so then I would put Homemade Cheesy Hamburger Macaroni on one of the days meals.
Another thing you want to remember when making out your list....dont feel like it has to be set in stone! Say one day you wake up and you just dont feel like eating Italian that night but spaghetti is on your meal plan for the night; then just switch it up with another meal for the week. If you think your meals have to be on the nights you set them then you will just get burn out and bored and you won't stick to it. Be Flexible, I guess is what I am really saying :)
Now you can go as far as planning out your breakfast AND lunch and you will could possibly save even more money, but I have found that doesn't work for me. I do best to just do what I feel like fixing that day for breakfast/lunch and by just using what's on hand. But if you feel this may help you out then by all means, plan all meals !
So anyway, that's the just of what I do. Give it a couple weeks and just see how much money you can save by menu planning!