Meal plan for the YEAR in one weekend!

Recently reader Carrie shared her 5 Week Rotating Meal Plan on the TFF Facebook page and many of you wanted to know more. I asked her to share it with us in a guest post, and she was thrilled to do so! If you’d like to submit a guest post, you can read more about what we offer in exchanged and what we’re looking for over here.

The way this works, is you create a meal plan reference sheet of 5 full weeks or 35 different meals, you can see mine here in Excel, or get it here in PDF.

Whatever day of the week the 1st of the month falls on dictates your starting point on your calendar. I highlighted the corresponding weeks in the same colors for easy reference. So this month, the 1st falls on a Saturday. This is the starting point on your calendar. So week one is the 1st- 7th, week two is the 8th- 14th, you just write in your meal plan for the corresponding weeks. It’s really that simple. I made sure that every dinner throughout the month was different so we didn’t get bored or feel discouraged because we were repeating too much and used our family favorites for Breakfast & Lunch. I also kept some of the meals listed generic. For example, Roast night, I never list the type of meat or lack there of (think Vegan).

That can be left entirely up to what the sales are at the time or what we feel like eating. I also don’t list the accompaniments in great detail because that varies by season and sales also. But what you are left with allows you to make your shopping list very quickly and even create your shopping lists for the entire year with minimal changes. Then your efforts are concentrated on finding the deals, sales, and coupons to support you meal plan. This allows you to really stock up on certain items when you can get the best possible deals out there!!! I also tried planning for using some leftovers for other meals throughout the week. For instance I can turn Pot Roast leftovers into French Dip Sandwiches or Enchiladas. Taco night can be converted into Taco Pizza later in the week and so on. I also plan for some doctoring up of foods like Ramen Noodles, I just can’t bring myself to eat them plain. So I add some veg. and canned chicken or something else similar. It’s been working fantastic for my family and saving us a bundle!

I hope this helps someone that was as frustrated, and without time, as I was.

If you have questions about how this works, feel free to leave a comment – thanks!


  1. Kimberly says

    The file is in the newest version of excel, so if you don’t have that you will need (as mr frugal mentioned) the compatability pack. I don’t use Microsoft products, (I use Open Office — it’s free!) but it was interesting that I couldn’t automatically open the file when I clicked on it either.

    I had to first save the file to my computer, then go find where I had saved it and open it from that folder. Usually it will just open for me.

  2. Tiffany Lester McGouirk via Facebook says

    thank you for reposting this! I never could get it to pull up the other day, but I can now :)

  3. Debby says

    Love this post! The Excel spreadsheet is wonderful. I have been wanting to do this but would get lost in the logistics of it. I love using spreadsheets and this just got me moving in the right direction. Now I am on my way, thanks to you!

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