This doesn't even have to be planning ahead in a formal dinner plan. Just think about what your family likes to eat all the time and then work on having those things on hand. Take note of what you wish was in your pantry, and that is the start of what you want to stock up on when it goes on sale. Think about as well what you would like to eat, but don't because you aren't ever prepared. I have been doing the informal meal planning for the last month or so, and we have only eaten out once in that time. I picked up a bunch of the chicken on sale, and pulled out all of those marinades and salad dressings, put them in plastic bags in a meal size portion, labeled them and froze them. I have pulled these out and put them in the even even frozen and had great chicken. I then add some rice, pasta or instant potatoes along with veggies frozen or canned, depending on the sales, and there is dinner without much thought or work. Pizza is so fun to do from scratch- especially if you are prepared. Lucas picked up a big can of sauce and a big bag of cheese from Sam's Club, and this started our first pizza night. I put the left over sauce in containers for the freezer, and bagged up the cheese for the freezer too. I find the toppings go on sale, and all that free pepperoni can be frozen as well. Having pasta and sauce in the cupboard is also great, since that can be cooked up quickly. If you like meatballs, those can be bought on sale, or made yourself when meat is on sale. If you are watching the fat, you can mix in some ground turkey with your ground beef. I make up a huge batch, fully cooked, and freeze those as well. They can be defrosted easily and used for many different meals. Since I have put some of these things back in the freezer, I have not wanted to eat out. That becomes too much work to take the whole family to do when I have choices at home. This alone will save you LOTS of money on your dinners if you eat out regularly, not to mention the time and stress that is relieved by knowing you are prepared. Any other planning ahead meal ideas? Please share under comments!!! We could ALL use more ideas, these are just mine.