Find us on Google+ Pinch A Little Save-A-Lot: Recipe Binders & Magnetic Menu Planner - Part 2

**Attention Readers: As of 1/24/14 all printables are first come first serve. I apologize for the inconvenience, but I had to end my Box membership, so they will only allow a set number of downloads per month. Once I’m moved and have settled in to my new home, I should be able to once again afford the monthly fees. In the mean time please come back at the first of the month and try downloading. Thank you for your patience.


Recipe Binders & Magnetic Menu Planner - Part 2

Happy Friday everyone! So in part 1 I showed you how I organize my recipes, now for how I plan my meals for the month!

A while back, I contemplated simplifying my meal plan by rotating between my top 20 favorite recipes from each protein source. My current meal-planning system was working fine so I shelved the idea until I came across these pictures on Pinterest:

                                          (source)                                               (source)

I’m a visual person, so the menu board concept was very appealing. I decided to try and make my own, but incorporate it with my numbered recipe idea.

Are you ready to see how the Magnetic Menu Planner works?

At the beginning of the month I look over our calendar to see if we have any parties or date-nights coming up. I mark these dates on the menu planner with “Out” magnets.
For the days we are eating at home, I assign meals using the "# magnets”. I choose between the top 20 recipes from each protein source, ensuring that we have at least 1 seafood and 2 vegetarian meals a week. {The color-coding system corresponds with the recipe binders, which makes for easier meal planning.} 
Next, I allocate a side to go with the main dish. I can choose between one of the top 20 “soup & side dish” recipes or from one of the 7 abbreviated side dishes.
To save time and money, I’ve started to double my recipes and freeze half for an easy meal later. The “snowflake” magnet helps remind me to buy extra ingredients. We tend to have freezer meals once a week, so I tag those days with both the “Leftovers” and "#" magnets. You could also hand-write in the meal name. 
Are you still following me? To avoid boredom we try a new recipe at least twice a month, which is marked by the “NEW!” magnet. If we love a new meal and want it to become part of the regular rotation; I simply type and print a recipe card, decide which of the 20 recipes in our binder we’ve grown tired of and insert the new one in its place. Easy as pie!
Are you inspired to make your own menu planner? We've only been using ours for the past few weeks, but I'm already smitten with it – its way more organized than my last system. I love that I can easily shift around the magnets if plans change and I can quickly swap out recipes when my family gets tired of a meal. Plus planning a whole month at once saves me time and guarantees that we eat a variety of balanced meals.

1. Purchase printable magnetic sheets and full-sheet labels at Staples along with a magnetic dry-erase calendar.

2. Print both pages of the meal planning magnets onto magnet sheets and cut out.

3. Print the 1st page again, only this time on the full-sheet labels.
Cut out the # labels and place them on the corners of each sheet protector that holds your top 20 recipe cards in each of the 7 binders.

4. Plan out your monthly menu and pop it on your fridge using 3M Command Picture Hanging Strips.
Step back and admire your lovely new planner from every angle.

5. Place extra magnets in baseball card sleeves and put them in front of one of your recipe binders for easy access when meal planning. 

{download here}

This menu planner combined with the coordinating recipe binders would make a fun gift-- first-time college students would love it, especially if you added a few of their favorite recipes!

For personal use only. Please do not reproduce for commercial use.

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  1. oh wow Bekah!! LOVE this!!!! I so need to make my self something similar. pinning!!!!

  2. I love love love this idea, now I just have to get organized enough to get organized (yeah it's that bad) when are you coming to California to organize me? oops I mean to visit! :)

    1. It took me a while to go through and organize all of my recipes, but it is so worth it in the long run. Hopefully I can visit soon. :)

  3. Wow, I have so much to learn on your site...!

  4. Love this concept, so organized, visually appealing and colorful!

  5. I'm finally embarking on this project. So question- which size labels did you use for the magnet sheets? or did you just do a full sheet and cut them up yourself?:) I have had to go gluten free because of health issues, and using my cookbooks as is, is no longer an option...unfortunately! Thank you for the idea.

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