I have been using a menu long enough that my menu is based on a full year. I began doing this more than 25 years ago when I worked at a nursing home. They printed their menu every quarter. Each quarter took into account the food items they could get that were in season, so the food items tasted better, and the cost was less.
As you can see, I also love playing with clipart and I love using colors. I also track national food holidays because that forces me to build in different recipes that have to do with the holidays, and that provides a HUGE variety of foods!
Additionally, as I have traveled and visited different regions of the United States, the United Kingdom and Wales, Mexico, and Canada, I discovered recipes that the locals made. There are also family favorites that I grew up with. So that I keep all of those memories and great recipes, I have built them into the various months of my menu.
I keep my menu in an Excel spreadsheet with one tab for each month. Of course I had to make the tab colors the colors that I think of with each month. I highlight holidays in colors. My calendar has color coded words: blue for items that are from the freezer, green for items that are leftover from previous meals and also for salads, leftovers are a variety of colors because the items that come out of the fridge for LEFTOVERS night are a variety of colors, same with Fruit & Cheese Platters and Veggie Trays. I make the favorite recipes of family and friends whose birthdays we will be celebrating.
TAKE ACTION: Decide how you want to set up your menu; whether on an Excel spreadsheet or a Word document, or graph paper. Next go through the recipes that you have and decide which ones you would like to use to start your own menu. As you will see in the 10 Step Supermarket Combo Technique, there are a variety of steps that you can use to save big bucks in your food budget. They each take time to set up the process; however, none of those steps cost any money; only time to get set up.