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Simple meal plan shortcuts as you make an easy weekly meal plan or if you are a monthly meal planner. These meal planning ideas help prep meals for the week easily!

Virtually every family on the face of the planet could use more time and money. As such, menu planning has caught on like few other things. In truth, menu planning has been around for ages in some form or another. The primary difference now is that you have an incredible amount of tools at your disposal to make it happen.

Saving money through menu planning is kind of self-explanatory but saving time is not as straightforward. There are actually many shortcuts available to help you save time with menu planning. Here are some of the more prominent ones.

DIY Tip: How to Organize Your Stockpile Freezer Inventory

{1} Freezer Cooking

If you want to have the maximum amount of time during the week, make sure your freezer already contains the meats needed to make your meals for the week. Nothing is better than opening up the fridge or freezer and finding everything you need to get supper on the table. Stock up and buy ahead for each of your recipes. You have a freezer so use it!

People don’t realize it but you can actually add your marinade when you freeze many meats. The benefits are that you can simply move them to the fridge during the day and they will be automatically marinating when they thaw out.

Freezer Meal Ideas to Make Easy Freezer Meals

{2} Track It!

Spreadsheets are a wonderful tool to use for menu planning as well as business. Many people don’t use them for such purposes and they are missing out. You can be uber-organized by using spreadsheets so why not? It will save you gobs of time.

Recipe Boards on Pinterest

Follow me on Pinterest and see what’s in my Recipe Pin Boards.

{3} Keep a Recipe File

I realize that every cook in history has likely had a recipe book or file of some type but that is not exactly what I mean. A recipe file is a digital version that is searchable. Get this online and you can easily cross-reference meals to find what fits the ingredients you presently have.

5 Tips for Easy Weeknight Meals

{4} Meal Prep Recipes and Grocery List

Prepping your veggies, meats and ingredients ahead of time is a simple way to save time through menu planning. If you are chopping up ingredients for one meal, look ahead to see if anything will be used again in the next few days. If so, go ahead and do the prep work. Cooking is so much easier with all of that done.

My mom used to always tell me that the best way to save time in the kitchen is to make plenty of veggies and fruits in your meals. Upon questioning, I learned that this is because they are so easy to make and usually rather quick. It saved time, but it also ensured that we ate clean and healthy. Double bonuses like that are especially exciting!

Free Meal Planning Printables

{5} Menu Planning Organization

To truly save time and get lots of participation in the cooking and eating process, post important things on a dry erase board. If you need your kids or loved one to pick something up, a dry erase board directly beside the common exit for the home works wonders.

Post all appointments, important information and needed items on the board each day. You will save time and money for sure.

Menu planning is a fantastic tool that is used by today’s family to save time and money. If you aren’t giving it a shot yet, jump on board!

Find MORE Ways to Save on Food

About Andrea Deckard

Andrea Deckard is a personal finance expert and speaker. She lives by the following motto, "save on what you need so you can spend on what you want." She started Savings Lifestyle in 2008, and long-time readers remember the site as Mommy Snacks. Andrea is a go-to resource on frugal living for local news outlets such as WDTN, WGRR, and as well as national outlets like Good Morning America. She has also been featured in multiple national publications.

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