One of my resolutions was to do 1 month of menu planning and evaluate at the end of the month. My goal with this was to lessen stress at meal times, cut down the number of late meals by prepping earlier, and to go to the grocery store only once or twice a week (hopefully resulting in spending less money).
I originally thought I'd do a menu for the whole month in one sit down, but I quickly found that was not going to work for me. So, I ended up making a fairly comprehensive list of items we eat pretty regularly, or at least enjoy eating. The list really helped me in planning meals for the week. Most of the time I planned on Monday during Dean's nap and went shopping after he woke up.
My master list: (Sorry it's messed up, I had to transfer it over to paint to turn the table into a picture. Click on it to get a readable view.)
I was able to keep my shopping to 1-2 trips per week which is fairly amazing for me. It also did help lessen stress over meals, especially when I didn't particularly feel like thinking about food. We ate out a little less. By the weekends I normally am burned out thinking about food so we end up getting at least one meal out, usually just taco bell or something. I don't know if it really saved me money, but it probably did. The first two weeks I felt like I spent a lot (but it's kinda hard to tell when you have diapers and other non-food junk mixed in), so the third week I did a "make only what you have" menu. I think I spent about $10 that week on milk and produce I didn't have. I'd make a menu for the week and shop for that specific menu. I did end up trading around meals within the week, but I did pretty well at sticking to the items on the menu. When I changed the menu in real life, I changed it on the print out so I could see what seemed to work from day to day for us, and so I could have an accurate picture or what we really do eat.