HomeMenu PlanningBuild a Menu Review – Budget Friendly Meal Planning

Do you struggle with finding healthy budget friendly meals to cook?

ProductBuild a Menu: Build A Menu – Helping busy families save time & money with healthy budget friendly meals

Who is product for: Busy families who need help planning meals and saving money on groceries

Price: $8 per month  (Use coupon code “SaveMeMoney” and get the first month for only $4)

Guarantee: 30 day money back guarantee

Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

Try Build a Menu FREE for 2 Weeks

Click Here

(no credit card required!)


Do you know how much your recipes cost before you go to the grocery store?

 

I have found a great resource with healthy budget friendly meals to choose from.

Karee Blunt and Lisa Holcomb have created a wonderful website called Build A Menu. You will not believe what their weekly meal planning software is able to do!

Build a Menu is a meal planning software online that helps you plan all of your meals for the upcoming week. You pick your local grocery store, pick your recipes, and then their Build A Menu system creates your shopping list along with a grand total of what it is going to cost you when you checkout! Menu planning doesn’t get much easier than that! It is so easy on the budget too!

build a menu steps

It all started when Karee and Lisa were brainstorming together to try and find a way to make dinner time less stressful in their homes. They have 11 children between the two of them and homeschool them as well. They were on a budget also and needed to find a way to feed their large families efficiently. They were looking for healthy budget friendly meals. Karee has a business/marketing background and has helped clients save money and teach them budgeting skills. She put her budgeting knowledge together with the needs of both moms to de-stress and simplify the meal planning process and birthed Build A Menu in 2011. I am so glad they did! It has gained me extra time back that used to be spent on menu planning and shopping!



STEP 1: PICK A GROCERY STORE

Need to count your pennies? No more scouring sales flyers!

The Build a Menu program searches the local grocery stores in your area and will let you know what each recipe costs based on that week’s sales in your location. In Step 1 of the site, you enter in your zip code and pick which store you are going to shop at. It then searches that store’s sales ads and recommends several recipes for you to make for breakfast, lunch, dinner, side dishes, and dessert that week.

In my local area, the program gives me up to 7 stores to choose from. Some of the grocery stores represented on the Build A Menu website are Safeway, Fred Meyer, Walmart, HEB, Kroger, Aldi, Publix, and the “any store” choice.

pick a grocery store menu

If you don’t shop at one of the major grocery chains listed above, you can select the “any store” option. This option offers the same recipes and uses “average” pricing to compile your shopping list.

STEP 2: PICK YOUR RECIPES

Are you gluten free? A Trim Healthy Mama? Food Allergies? Dieting? Large Family?

menu categories

There are numerous recipes in each category for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Side dishes, and desserts. There are several different recipe sections to choose from for healthy budget friendly meals:

  • Dine on a Dime
  • Family Friendly
  • Low Carb
  • Low Fat/Sensible Portions (Points Based)
  • Gluten Free
  • Allergy Friendly (No Gluten, Dairy or Nuts)
  • Vegetarian
  • Clean Eating
  • Slow Cooker
  • Grill-A-Meal
  • Your Choice of Side Dishes
  • Trim Healthy Mama Friendly
  • In addition to their Dinner Menus, they offer the following:
    • Lunch Box, Family Friendly, THM and Gluten Free Lunches
    • Family Friendly, THM and Gluten Free Breakfasts
    • Cheat & Eat – Breakfast & Lunch (no recipe needed!)
    • Family Friendly, THM and Gluten Free Snacks
    • Cooking With Kids
    • Dessert of the Week (Family Friendly, THM & Gluten Free)

    As you build your menu, the program keeps track of your menu selections and the grand total of your grocery bill as you go. You can modify the recipes selected if you see your grocery bill is going over your budgeted amount for the week.

    build a menu recipes

    You can also choose your serving size needed. The recipes are categorized on whether they will feed 1-2, 4-6, or 8-10 people. The cost is then adjusted to reflect this amount of servings in your total grocery bill.

    The Build A Menu website has between 250-300 recipes that rotate each week, so you won’t see the same ones every week. You can save your weekly meal plans and pull them back up at anytime if you have a favorite though.

    New Feature! The website now offers a way of adding your own favorite recipes to your meal plan. You enter in the ingredients and it will pull up the associated cost of that item. How cool is that? So you basically could add in your own recipes to this program and know approximately how much your total grocery bill at checkout will be.

     STEP 3: PRINT YOUR GROCERY LIST AND RECIPES

    This is the most exciting step of the menu planning. You simply click “Print” and your grocery list is ready and guess what….it is organized by sections of the grocery store! So you can get in and get out of the store fast! That’s my kind of shopping. Did I mention I despise grocery shopping?

    build a menu shopping list

    This is a dream come true for me. When I have 4 children with me in the grocery store, I want to make it a quick trip! Having my list in hand that shows me what to pick up in the Dairy section, Produce section, and Frozen foods section means I can get out of that store much faster.

    You also have the option to print a nice handy calendar. You can drag and drop your recipes into each date on the calendar and have breakfast, lunch, and dinner right in front of you.

    build a menu calendar

    All of the recipes you have chosen can be printed out at this step too. You could save it to a pdf file on your pc also if you don’t want to print them all out. Save a tree that way!

     Plan a Menu, Help a Child

    You know what is even better about Build A Menu? Every month a portion of the subscription price is paid out to an Orphan Care Ministry of your choice. When you sign up with Build a Menu, you get to choose which organization receives your donation. A few of the ministries you can support are Compassion, LifeSong for Orphans, Arms of Hope, and many more. What a great idea!

     Recap (Pro’s and Con’s)

    Pro’s

    Easy to Use

    Detailed shopping list organized into sections of grocery store

    Tailors to all diets (gluten free, dieting, allergies, etc)

    Practical, healthy budget friendly meals

    Easy to stay on budget

    Eliminates the need to review sales ads at grocery stores

    Low cost

    Saves time and money

    Con’s

    Prices are pretty close, but not always exact

    Total cost on list does not include staples on hand (i.e. spices)

    Rating

    I give Build A Menu 9 out of 10 stars. I personally love this program. It saves me time and money. It is a powerful tool to help me organize our meals. I know exactly what we are eating each day and approximately how much it is going to cost at the checkout.

    I no longer stress about “what’s for dinner” at 4:30 each day when I am exhausted after a day of homeschooling the kids!

    Try Build a Menu FREE for 2 Weeks

    Click Here

    (no credit card required!)


    I would love to hear how you organize your menu planning! What method do you use? Leave a comment below.


     


Comments

Build a Menu Review – Budget Friendly Meal Planning — 15 Comments

  1. hi
    wow this seems like a fantastic tool!! I dread the “making the grocery list” part of the week and this seems like it would be very efficient and really be able to plan budget wise and money wise. The program seems to do so much!

    • Hi Emily! Yes this menu planning software has saved me tons of time. I used to spend at least 2 hours planning our meals for the week before I found Build A Menu. Now it takes me about 15 minutes to select my recipes and print my shopping list. You should give it a try for sure!

  2. Hey Kimberly, this is a very cool tool. Your article is very thorough and interesting. My family and I’m sure a whole lot more families could use this tool I think you on to something. Keep up the good work, I will be showing my better half your site.

  3. This looks like a great thing to do when you want to save money on groceries. Never even knew something like this existed. Does this program work out every meal according to least cost calculation?

    • Yes the recipes are calulated using the current sales prices in the store for each of the ingredients. So you know approximately how much your grocery bill will be at checkout. They also look at the sales ads for the week and plan menus around those ingredients on sale or in season.

  4. Hi Kimberly,

    Your “Build a Menu Review – Budget Friendly Meal Planning” post is very thorough and has tons of great information. That build a menu software looks real good. It’s something everyone can use. Thanks

  5. I am currently a university student and I’m always confused about what to eat. This program might be just the thing I was looking for.
    This is a great overview on all that is offered.
    Thanks for this!

    • Adam, I remember those college days. Build a Menu has a great Dine on a Dime menu that serves 1-2 people. That would fit you very well. You should try it!

  6. Wow, Kim! I almost didn’t read this post because I get overwhelmed with online menu planning options. This one is so different! I don’t have great recipes that we love, so the fact that this one GIVES me recipes AND tells me what I need and how much it will cost is AWESOME! Thanks for sharing! I’m loving your blog! 🙂

    • Thanks Amy! I have used Build A Menu for 10 months now and absolutely love the recipes. They are easy to make and easy on the budget too! You should give them a try. Thanks for following! I love homeschooling and organizing so I thought I would share what I have used!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *