A friend asked me, would I please explain what I do to plan my menus? Sure. Here it is.
I start by printing out the form I made. I've got a file I made up in Word. The menu goes down one column, and all the stuff I buy on a regular basis is in the second column. I also grab a highlighter and a pen.
Then comes the hard part: actually making the menu. I write out 2 weeks of meals, lunch and dinner. We generally just have cereal for breakfast, so that's a no-brainer. But I mark in the left margin when we're having company, when we're traveling, and anything else that I know about that will affect menu-planning, and then I go through and figure out what we're going to eat. This is easily the hardest part of the whole process.
When I know what we're eating, then I take my highlighter and mark the things that we'll need on the list, and write in any odd items at the bottom. Normally, this doesn't take very long at all, and I often go through and do it as I make the menu, so by the time I finish that chore the list is 90% made too. I always read through it, just to make sure I haven't missed anything. Sometimes I mark which stores at which I plan to get the various items (I regularly shop at 3-4 to get the best prices. It sounds excessive, but it sure makes the money go further). Then I fold it in half.
With my list folded in half, it fits better in my pocket for going to the store. Plus, it's easier to look at. But, if I get to the store and bell peppers are on sale, I can flip it over, make a quick adjustment to the menu, and feed my husband one of his favorite foods: fajitas. Having the menu right there isn't a big deal... except for when it is. As I go along, I scratch off the stuff I bought, just like a regular list, only I ignore anything that's not highlighted: it's not "on" the list. When I get home, I flip it over and stick it on the fridge.
And that is how I do my menus. Thanks for asking!