I don’t know about you, but meal planning has been one of the hardest adulting things for me to do.  And I’ve been an adult for a long time so you’d think I’d have this down by now.  Nope.

I should consider myself lucky, because my husband does the majority of the grocery shopping for the two of us every week. We both work full time but he goes in to work and comes home earlier than I do, giving him more time in the day to take care of that kind of thing. All I have to do is give him my list and he gets everything on it that he can for me. Did I mention he does most of the laundry too?  What a sweet deal, right?

Every week, starting on Thursday afternoon, he asks for my list when he gets off work. And almost every week I would panic, because I didn’t have anything planned out.  Plus, it’s the end of my work day and I’m using scrambling to finish up projects that are due so I don’t have the time or mental capacity to think of everything I need or want.

The repercussions of this means I don’t have anything to bring to work for my lunches so I have to eat out.  Which, of course, gets expensive, is time consuming and just gets old every day.  Then, every night, I need to figure out what I’m going to have for dinner from what I have around.

Most week evenings we each make our own dinners.  My husband has very simple tastes and is often happy with leftovers, scrambled eggs or a quesadilla.  I prefer something a bit…well, more.  If there isn’t leftovers that I’m interested in eating, half of my time is spent figuring out what to make and then making it.  It’s all just a waste of time and money.

So, I decided to follow a new plan.  This is so basic, I should file it under my Probably Obvious Tips category (ok, I did), but I thought I’d still share it in case it helps someone.

  1.  First of all, I started a Master Meal List in my bullet journal.  It’s a work in progress with more meals to add, but it’s a starting point for meals every week:

2.  Every week, I make a very simple list of meals on the left side, pulling ideas from the Master Meal List:

Notice that the spread is really, really simple.  I spent time making my Master Lists fun and pretty, but I just don’t have time for that every week!  Using the meal list, on the right side of the spread, I compile a list of what I need to make those meals.

3.  I’ll also check my Master Grocery List for other things that I might need:

Again, my grocery list isn’t all inclusive, most of the regular stuff we need (toilet paper, paper towels, etc), we both keep track of and add it to his master list.  The things in my bullet journal are either the stuff I need to let him know we’re out of (usually groceries) or that I’ll pick up myself (personal items).

That’s it.  Super simple and pretty obvious.  Super simple means it’s super effective too, right?  The first time I followed this plan, I had my shopping list all ready to go when my husband asked for it.  He was shocked, to say the least!  😉  And I felt so prepared for the week to come so that was even better!

How about you?  What have you found works for your meal planning?