January 3, 2011

Menu Plan Monday | January 2011 Printable Menu Plan

I plan my family's dinners in five week blocks to maximize my savings at the grocery store and minimize my stress at dinner time. You can read more about my strategy here in my Q&A post here.

I also answered several more questions about how I plan my big ol' menus and how I stockpile shop the weekly sales with coupons; my goal is to get the best deals on items for my monthly menu plan for the lowest cost.  For more Q&A (because you're just dying to know, right?), click here.


A whole new year is here - what better time to resolve to begin menu planning!

I've got my January menu planned and published as a printable Google Doc.  I sure hope it's helpful to you!

Click here to view and print TNFM January 2011 Menu Plan.

As for how I come up with recipes for my monthly menus, I shared with you in November 2010 my MELLY list (Meals Everyone Likes List {for} Your {family}).  You can read that post right here; for a printer friendly list of the recipes (with links to the online recipes) on my MELLY, click here.

While I plan my family dinners in monthly blocks to save time, I didn't always plan so far ahead. Once upon a time, I was new to menu planning, too, and I planned only a week at a time. ;-)

The three keys to saving time AND money with menu planning (imho) are:

:: Having a master list of dinner recipes that fit your family's budget, palate, and your time available for food prep.  

:: Creating a personal stockpile list based on commonly used recipe ingredients from your master list of dinner recipes

:: Combining coupons & sales to restock your pantry & freezer with those personal stockpile items when you can get them for rock bottom prices. 

If planning a month at a time is too daunting, try two weeks.  If you're totally new to menu planning, aim for one week.  Start with a realistic goal for *you*, keep records of your plans for future reference (either on paper or on your computer), and remember to challenge yourself when you've mastered your first goal - either weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. 

I also encourage you to ask your family what they'd like to see on the menu plan for dinner.  Yes, your kids might want to have chicken nuggets and french fries every darn night but they also might surprise you.   Either way, it's good way to get some fresh ideas (which I always need!) as well as making sure you have meals that appeal to everyone at some point on your menu plan.

And be sure to check out the Menu Plan Monday links over at OrgJunkie each week for more inspiration.  If you're a blogger, post your own MPM (this is a great way to create an archived record of your menu plans) and link up, too!


  1. I need to make a MELLY! I think I have forgotten about meals my family used to love and we just don't make anymore.

  2. I keep trying to click on the link to get the recipes and am recieving an error. Are they found in another location on the site?


  3. @Andrea Hi! I didn't post the recipe links within the Jan 2011 menu plan calendar.

    If you would like the recipe links, you can see the list of recipes that I reference in the Jan 2011 menu plan with the full links here:

    My MELLY

    Hope that helps! And for Feb, I will most definitely add the links to the calendar - I was just trying to get the Jan one done in a jiffy. ;-)


Thanks so much for reading The New Frugal Mom and for taking the time to comment.

I do reserve the right to delete negative comments.

Thanks for sharing! I love to read your comments and learn something new from my readers!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.