Looking for a monthly meal planner to simplify your life? This free pdf is perfect for organizing your monthly meal planning ideas! PLUS, tons of FREE meals so you can fill it out (every month of the year!).
If you are too frazzled to put together a meal plan (even though you know, you know, you can save money doing it, blah, blah, blah), this post is the jackpot!
As a mom of 5 busy kids, meal planning is the only way to stay sane sometimes. Yeah, planning ahead is a chore…but getting dinners on the table beats doing the 5:00 whats-for-dinner shuffle every time!
In this post you will find a monthly meal planner (don’t worry, it’s easier than you think!) PLUS seasonal ideas to chose from for every month of the year.
Pin this post for later so you can come back and get more ways to plan meals month after month!
Free Monthly Meal Planner PDF and Menu Ideas
Ready to get started? This post is your one stop shop with meal planning ideas, printable PDFs, and tons of ways to save more money and time than ever.
Because really, who doesn’t want more money and time??
Why Monthly Meal Planning?
So why would anyone switch from weekly meal planning to monthly? There are many reasons!
- To match your pay schedule (maybe you’re paid monthly or you get a sporadic paycheck).
- Finding one solid day to dedicate to meal planning and shopping is easier than finding chunks of days several times per month.
- To take advantage of buying in bulk.
- Great for people who have to drive further to get to the grocery store.
- Because life gets busy and we want to simplify where we can!
Ways to Save the Most Money
Simply making a meal plan will save you money automatically. Making one less decision at the end of a busy day can be a life saver! (Not to mention keeping pizza delivery a less attractive option.)
But a few tweaks to your plan can save you even more money than that.
From Reader’s Digest: “If you can sketch out a menu for the week that utilizes similar ingredients, you’ll have a more focused trip to the grocery store and you’ll end up throwing less away weeks after it’s been shoved to the back recesses of the refrigerator,” says Corley. “Making a conscious effort here saves you money and it keeps food waste out of landfills.”
Buy foods that are in season. We love fresh produce year round, but having berries only in the summer keeps them affordable (and makes us appreciate them that much more!). Green beans from your neighbor’s garden also keeps costs down in the summertime!
P.S. Scroll down to find seasonal meal plans for every month of the year!! Use as many of these ideas as you can to build your own meal plan.
Repeat meals. You know those family favorites are meals that could show up at the table every day without anyone complaining. By buying the ingredients in bulk, you’ll often save more. Plus it’s less work to come up with ideas… and you won’t risk throwing it out when everyone hates it!
Buy in bulk. Chicken breasts are a favorite in most frugal households. That’s because the meat is affordable and the recipe ideas are endless!
You might not be able to afford a side of beef or a half a hog. But companies like Zaycon Fresh make it affordable (and practical) to buy boxes of chicken breast at a time. They’ve had deals as low as 99 cents per pound several times this year!
Ways to Save the Most Time
Cook once, eat twice. Why not make a double batch of your next recipe? Stick one in the freezer for a busy day. The bonus is that you only have to meal prep and clean once, too!
Order groceries. Services like Kroger Clicklist make it easy when you’re too busy to go to the grocery store. While you write up your meal plan, add the ingredients for each meal to your virtual grocery list. Then just go to the store and pick it up.
The most frugal of us won’t like the $5 fee, but if this method saves you from buying fast food, isn’t it worth it?
Meal Planning App. There are plenty of meal planning apps out there, but I love the Cozi app. With Cozi, you can plan your meals and keep a running shopping list right on your phone (so you don’t leave it on the counter for once!). Frugal folks will love that it’s totally free!
Get a binder. Put your meal plans together. Next year it’s just a matter of pulling out last year’s ideas!
Know Your Season. There have been times in my life when monthly meal planning was the best option for our family. Other times, we’ve done a weekly menu plan. Right now we’ve settled into biweekly menu planning that follows my husband’s paycheck.
Just do what you can do!
One Thing I DON’T Recommend…
Monthly Meal Planner PDF
Here’s the fun part! I’ve created a Monthly Meal Planner PDF that you can download and use to write up your own monthly meal plan. Just hang it on the side of the fridge, and you’ll be ready to go. Be sure to pull together ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner…and don’t forget snacks and that birthday that tends to sneak up on you!
Eating a healthy meal is more likely to happen if you plan for it. Just another benefit of monthly meal planning!
(Click the photos to print a copy of this meal planner for your own personal use!)
If you love free printables and downloads that make your life easier, you’ll definitely want to join the Medium Sized Family newsletter. Only these MVPs get access to all of my money saving planners! Join here:
Meal Planning Ideas for Every Month of the Year
You’ll also enjoy these Cheap Meals for Large Families for even more ideas!
This monthly meal planner will simplify your life.
Now to figure out what you’ll do with all that extra time and money. Wink, wink!
Next up, don’t miss these awesome Make Ahead Recipes! You’ll definitely want to add a few of these to your list.
Why do you like to use a monthly meal planner?