Eat Better for Less

By Mary Ann Wilcox


Organize a recipe file by punching existing recipe sheets & putting in one of 3 size containers:

  1. 8 1/2x 11 loose leaf notebook
  2. 5 1/2x 8 1/2 loose leaf notebook
  3. 3×5 or 4×6 card box

Setup a Menu File

  1. Start with your 5 favorite dinner meals
  2. Add at least 1 new menu each week until you have 30

Your weekly menu should consist of the following:

  1. 1 main dish from leftovers (at least 1)
  2. 1 freezer meal dish (make 2–serve 1 & freeze 1)
  3. 1 main dish from your short-term reserves (buy 2, serve 1 & store 1)
  4. 1 main dish from long-term reserves (soup, beans, gluten etc)
  5. 1 new main dish (to expose your family to new tastes & eliminate picky eaters)

Meal Planning & Shopping List Order

  1. Plan menus & shop from your frig. Set a goal to use everything left in your frig from last week
  2. Plan menus & shop from your freezer
  3. Plan menus & shop from your pantry
  4. Plan menus & shop from grocery store ads and coupons


  1. Of all the items you do not have on hand for breakfast, lunch, dinner & snacks.
  2. Keep this list and add to it week by week until you have a master list. This list becomes your grocery store inventory.
  3. See handouts for sample.


  1. Shop from your list & stick to your list. Once you enter the store you are not allowed to add or purchase anything that is not on the list
  2. Do not shop more than once a week. Try to stretch the time between shopping trips to two or more weeks.
  3. Stick to your budget. Only shop with cash. Leave your credit & debit cards, and checkbook at home. Use a calculator to keep track of what you are spending. (This way you will never over spend your budget.)
  4. Shop alone when possible – less eyes – less temptations
  5. Shop on a full stomach


Menu Items.

  1. $10 per person per week (example: Family of 5: $25 per week)
  2. $5 per person per week on buy and store items (see short-term handout)
  3. $5 per person per week on other menu items
    1. Long term food reserves
  4. $5 per person per week (example: Family of 5: $25 per week)
    1. See long-term storage handout

    Total Budget for family of 5

    1. $50 per week ($25 for menu items and $25 for long-term items)
    2. Total budge for month (4 weeks) $200


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