Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Keeping Home :: Monthly Planning

Do you have month end planning routines that you go through in order to keep on top the various aspects of running a home?

I have a few areas in the home that need planning around this time and I thought I would share a bit about that here. Of course, if you would like to share your own routines I would love to hear them - I am always interested in how others keep on top of their homes.

In the run up to the new month, I have four main areas of planning,

1. Menu Planning
2. Seasonal Planning
3. Homeschool Planning
4. Budgeting

Here's what goes on...

1. Menu Planning

This is quite a vital one for me as it affects my grocery budget quite significantly. If I don't plan our my menu's I end up popping things into  my trolley in a rather ad-hoc kind of way and of course contributes to blowing my grocery budget right out of the water. 

So, usually in the last week-end of the month, I grab my meal planner sheet (I just print one off from my Moms Toolbelt stash, surround myself with my recipe books, my computer so that I can check my Pinterest boards for any seasonal recipes I have pinned and my collection of relevant-to-the-season Landscape and Landlove mags which are full of seasonal food ideas. I grab my monthly overview calendar too so that I can see what my busy days are and so plan simple meals for those times.

Once I have all my 'tools' surrounding me - and this can look pretty chaotic LOL - I begin plugging in our 'usual's' like Sunday Roasts, Burger night, some family favourites.

I also plug in some simple lunch ideas. When you are homeschooling it seems that it is food that makes the day go round! I personally hate being asked the question,' What's for lunch/supper' and having no idea myself. It is stressful! I far prefer to have a general plan mapped out.

Once I have my monthly meal plan (of course you could rather work this plan on a weekly basis, but monthly works for me as it means I only have to think about this once!), I then start drawing up my shopping lists. These lists are drawn up weekly as I shop weekly. At the moment I am using the perforated shopping lists that I have in my 'Well Planned Day Homeschool Planner'. I begin by tearing our one list for each week and listing what I need for each recipe on the relevant weeks list. Then I pop each list into that weeks folder in my File Crate System. When I take out the folder to prepare for the upcoming week, I begin to add things that I have run out of in the home and anything else that crops up.

2. Seasonal Planning

These are the plans that I draw up to help mark and celebrate seasonal happenings which I post here as my monthly themes and plans. You can see these plans by clicking on the 'My Seasonal Themes and Plans' tab at the top of the page.

Again I surround myself with my computer, my copy of Chambers Book Of Days, as well as my Landlove and Landscape Magazines. I look at my calendar which notes down important celebrations and holidays relevant to England and jot them down. I draw ideas from my seasonal magazines, Pinterest boards and from things that are relevant to our family.

Once I have all my plans sorted out, I pop them onto my blog in a pretty format, copy this post onto a Word Document and then print out a copy for my Filofax so that I have access to it everyday. That way some of the things that I note I would like to do actually get done ;o)

3. Homeschooling

For me this means what PACE's I need to order. I will sit down and plan out the months lessons in my 'Well Planned Day'. I try to keep at least one PACE in stock at all times, so by planning out each day I am able to see if I will need new PACE's before the next month. I then put in my order.

Other homeschooling plans will be what we are going to cover in our art co-op lessons for the month. I am responsible for art appreciation, so I decided on what paintings we are going to look at and do a bit of reading up on them. 

Nature Study is another area I look at. This is mostly governed by what the OHC Newsletter puts out, but I like to read up before hand in my 'Handbook of Nature Study' on the topic,  make notes and perhaps find a nice YouTube video to include in the lesson.

Field Trips are also touched on here. Places of interest, National Trust properties I want to see etc. These are usually done together as a family at the week-ends so that we can all enjoy our countryside together.

and finally...

4. Budgeting

I keep my family budget on an excel worksheet. Of course we have all the regular things plugged in, but a month always throws up new expenses - MOT, car services, dancing costume fees, birthdays etc... 

Once I have our budget in order I print off a copy for my Filofax as well as a couple of expense tracker sheets. These sheets are the most valuable tool I have for keeping my budget on track and for actually keeping is IN budget! Every little think that is spent is recorded here. It is quite revealing really :o) - I am able to see exactly where every pence goes. Once a week I will go online and check our accounts balance - which again is noted on this sheet - it's just reconciles the whole lot and confirms that we are where we should be.

Now as you can imagine all this planning takes time, hours in fact, but the time invested is so worthwhile - and I love doing it all! All this planning usually happens over a couple of days. The meal planning and Seasonal planning are usually done on the last weekend of a month. the Homeschooling and Budgeting happen in the last few days of the month so that by the time the 1st comes around, everything is in order.

Rightie-Ho, that's about it from me on monthly planning. I hope that you all enjoy what is left of today :o) See you back here soon...


  1. I couldn't have brought up three boys without a plan! Weekly menus and food shopping. Planning for holidays, birthdays and Christmas. Budget on a spreadsheet. Plans for the house and garden, fluid to allow for British weather, usually by the season. I still do quite a bit now there are just two of us!

  2. Ah you're more organized than I am since it's down to the two of us. I have a binder for the household budget and tracking online bill pay. I write out a grocery list and menu plan every week but on loose paper. I do have a notebook that I write daily to dos that keeps me on top of stuff:)

  3. I love organizing! I use a nifty daytimer that has spaces for weekly and monthly planning as well as birthdays, grocery lists, weekly menu planning, etc. I make use of Google calendar which is terrific as it sends my beloved reminders of appts. so he doesn't forget. :)


Thank you for taking the time to comment. I appreciate each and every one left for me.