There's something to be said for good old pencil and paper sometimes. Sure, I've got tech gadgets--and there's an app for just about everything these days. But my best planning (and meal-planning) tools are my planner, a spiral notebook, a binder clip and a pencil.
Family-Centered Press, and it's got space for everything. Monthly grid, plenty of weekly space, and even menu or lesson-planning pages (I use the lesson pages for lists and reminders).
I get the spiral notebook at the supermarket during the back-to-school notebook sale. I haven't had to pay more than 15 cents for a spiral notebook in years. And I get about a year out of a notebook--doesn't get any more frugal than that!
Last week while I sat at the rehearsal for the play Little Brother is in, I was busy with my calendar, planning out dinner ideas for December. I needed to work around his rehearsal schedule, his sister's schedule for a different play, Cub Scouts and a couple of church events. I needed to include meals that were easy to make, and I wanted to make some favorite dinners for Big Brother when he gets home from college in 2 weeks.
So I sat there with my pencil and planner and figured all this out. And today when I went to the grocery store with my notebook, I wished I'd had that planner with me so I could look for deals on things I'll need to make those meals for the month ahead.
I printed out the monthly menu calendar at Canny Women and trimmed it to fit the inside cover of my notebook, then just taped it in. After that, I penciled in all the dinner choices and even started listing groceries I know I'll need to make those meals--though I've got most of it already in the freezer and pantry.
There's a reason for the pencil--it's erasable! That's important when things suddenly come up and get in the way of the plan.
I can't forget to bring my menu plan to the store if my shopping list is written in the same notebook.