Printable Menu Plan, Grocery List & Calculator

by Nicki on July 23, 2009

in Frugal Food

I work hard to make menu planning and grocery shopping something that blesses my family and not something that annoys and frustrates me. It is my sole responsibility and I take it seriously. I’m responsible for the nutrition of my family as well as keeping those purchases within a tight budget. I would not be able to do this without planning. I’ve tried. It just can’t be done (not for me, at least). Wandering the isles, hoping for inspiration is maddening and stressful to me.

As a result of grocery shopping every week with the same spending limit I’m pretty good at eyeballing what’s in my cart and knowing when to stop. To be on the safe side though, I still use a calculator. The last few times I’ve gone my calculator has cleared or shut off on me in the middle of my trip. How frustrating. Then I have to stand there and mentally add up how much I’ve spent so far. Ugh. Not a fan of that.

Oh a whim a few weeks ago, I threw something together in Google Docs to help me with my menu plan, grocery list and … the total! I tweaked it a little and now I LOVE it. Pretty much, I know what I’m going to buy and how much it’s going to cost BEFORE I EVEN GO IN THE STORE. *sigh* I love this.

So, as promised I have my first printable resource for you today. I’m very happy to offer this to you with my compliments and well-wishes. I hope it’s as useful to you as it has been to me! Simply click here. You don’t need a Google account to open, print, or get an Excel version of it. You will need a Google account to get your own copy in Google Docs (which I LOVE). To do that, after you get your Google account (or if you already have one), click on File” then “Create A Copy” and you’ll have one of your very own to use.

I left some info in the one that you’re viewing so you could get an idea of how it works. Basically, create your meal plan, add items to your shopping list and as you add them enter the approximate cost of each item. There’s a yellow box on the left-hand side that says “Apporoximate Total” that will keep a running total of how much your grocery list will cost. This assumes that you’re usually a mindful spender and have a decent idea how much things cost.

It’s easily customizable. You can change my categories or move them up or down just by cutting and pasting. You won’t want to make it any wider, as it’s sized to print oriented in “landscape,” but if you want to add more categories there is plenty of room to add them in the existing columns. If you have any questions then be sure to contact me. Enjoy!

Why I do what I do ~

Me: “Ya know who I love? Y – O – U”

Chloe: “Y – O – Me?”

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 NMPatricia July 23, 2009 at 9:07 am

Brilliant. Another version of what I do, but dare say more efficient and effective. Thanks for posting.

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2 Andrea July 23, 2009 at 1:11 pm

Thanks for sharing. I have all these great ideas running around in my head but most of the time I never get around to implementing them. This one looks useful! Though, I still do not have a good handle on how much things cost around here. I just noticed our mayo bottle my husband bought cost nearly $5. Are you kidding me?!
.-= Andrea´s last blog ..Company =-.

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3 Country-Fried Mama July 24, 2009 at 7:05 am

This is a great idea; thanks for sharing.

We are on vacation this week, and my mom and I went to the grocery store to pickup a few things. We had no list, no coupons, and no sales circular. This is NOT the way I usually shop, and it was very unsettling.

I’m looking forward to trying your system.
.-= Country-Fried Mama´s last blog ..The bike trail of my dreams =-.

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4 L July 24, 2009 at 8:25 am

This is great! I do something similar, too. My question is how do you organize your price book in order figure out how much the stuff costs? I am having a hard time keeping track of items and cost comparison at different stores and sales. I have been trying to put it all in a spreadsheet form like you have. Thanks! :)

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5 Elisa @ blissfulE July 24, 2009 at 7:53 pm

Love this! I just clicked on the link and there it was in my google docs. How smooth are you?!

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6 Creative Triplet Mom July 29, 2009 at 11:45 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this. I struggle every day with what I’m going to make for dinner. I hope to try to use this and I’m so hoping it will help me get control on my grocery shopping as well. Thank you.

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7 Anjanette January 18, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Oh! I love lists and organization tools! Thanks so much for sharing!!
.-= Anjanette´s last blog ..Eat From The Pantry Week 3 =-.

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8 Mama Laundry January 18, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Wow – You’re so cool for knowing how to do the whole Google Docs thing. I’ve got to get in the know!

I can’t wait to use this. I detest menu planning. Really. I don’t like it at all…!

Thanks for giving me a little motivation!

(Here from Twitter, btw :) )

-Lauren

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9 Tia January 18, 2010 at 4:08 pm

I have Google Docs, and it was so easy to open and save.
Thanks so much for sharing this menu plan. I am looking forward to using it this week, as I start using a new budget. Perfect Timing!

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10 paige May 13, 2010 at 11:26 pm

This is the best thing Ive come across in forever! I love it wish I would have found it years ago.

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11 Bankruptcy Ben June 2, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Mmm, i’m thinking something similar to this for me. I’m thinking about building a database of my recipes. Then i’ll build a report I can run so I get a groceries list.

My problem is I was a dieitician for years so sometimes I can prioritise nutrition over flavour and my girlfiend isn’t always so impressed. Better organisation, less food Macguiver is the plan!
.-= Bankruptcy Ben´s last blog ..Sometimes you should just pay it. =-.

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12 Bankruptcy Ben June 9, 2010 at 1:53 am

I’ve got a first draft going from my meal planner. It’s a 3 sheet spreadsheet. On sheet 3 you enter your recipes, ingredients up top, quantities in g (sorry metric) below. Then on sheet one you can use drop down menus to select your weekly meaks and it generates a shopping list for you on sheet 2 with weights. Easy to change to imperial (non-metric) if people wanted it. What do you think?

http://www.debtmediators.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/MenuShoppingListPlanner.xls
.-= Bankruptcy Ben´s last blog ..FFJ – Ways to Save Money =-.

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13 Joy Bartos September 6, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Is there a site or tool that you use to approximate cost?

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14 Nicki September 6, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Unfortunately, no. I am familiar with the cost of pretty much everything I purchase – or I know the sale price from the sale flyers. I remember numbers very well (although little else!) so I’m blessed that way.

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