Home management or meal planning software?

I have a couple of questions that I thought you ladies could give me some feedback on:

1) Do you use any computer programs that are intended for moms or for home management? Which programs do you use?

2) Do any of you use meal planning software or services? Which ones do you use (of have you used in the past), what do you like about them, and why do you like it? 

Thanks! I'm looking forward to hearing your answers! :)

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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  1. For anyone that has an iPhone or iTouch that is interested in managing routines, I highly recommend the HomeRoutines app. I always use free apps but this is only the 2nd one that I have actually paid money for.

    It is loosely set up with the FlyLady routines but it is highly adaptable (and easily) and can be used for any routines you need to keep up with. It’s awesome.

  2. I’m real, real boring and I use paper “software”. As in, I keep a list of 30-35 dinner meals in my planner and every Sunday I pick 7 to write down for the coming week on my calendar. We grocery shop once a month, so I just always get what is required to make my list and I know I have it on hand. We never get through the whole 30 meals in one month because we inevitably get invited out, eat leftovers, etc.. You could do the same thing to plan lunches and breakfasts but we eat the same 3-4 things for breakfast and lunch all the time anyway. :) To me it’s a hassle to have to use the computer every week to plan my meals, but this could just be because my 1-year-old is obsessed with typing.

  3. Thanks for all the great ideas and feedback, everyone! I hardly know where to begin, but I’m excited to take a look at some of these things!

  4. I have a mac and just got MacGourmet Deluxe software for recipe management and much more. IT IS AWESOME!!! I’ve also started utilizing Spring Pad for meal planning, grocery lists and house calendar. I love it. I do still find myself using paper lists while I adjust to an all online system, but now I know where to start looking for the lists! http://recipesdealsetc.blogspot.com

  5. I just use google docs for everything. You can create spreadsheets and documents on there, then put them into a pdf file or just print them. I print them and put them into my household notebook. This way, also, I can share mine on my blog! You can publish it, or you can just share it with individuals. I LOVE google docs. I am going to check out using google calendar, though, since many have suggested it! :)

  6. Oh! I forgot to add, I follow FlyLady.net for home management. I keep a control journal with routines and cleaning lists. I don’t get her daily emails, which can truly become clutter in my inbox, but I do visit her group on facebook to get the daily flight plan and discuss things with other flybabies.

  7. Hi Stephanie,

    I just started using Google calendar for mealplans. I have some repeat every 2 weeks, some monthly. I also just started using Delicious to bookmark recipes I find interesting and want to try. Then I just cut and paste the link to the recipe into my calendar and have it emailed to me each morning, or the day before if I need to soak or defrost anything.

    I had never heard of delicious before and really didn’t know what it was, but the learning curve was fast and I think I’m going to really get a lot out of this system.

  8. I’ve been using mealsmatter.org. It will repeat my meals, (breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks) weekly, daily, or monthly. I can find almost any recipe I want and it will print out the recipe. Pretty nice.

    I also like Advantage software for doing freezer meals. You have to input the ingredients, but then it will generate a list of ingredients and you can print all the recipes. I find it invaluable for doing a large bunch of freezer meals. (We used to do 30 or more in a day.)Here’s the link if you are interested. http://www.30daygourmet.com/store/detail.aspx?ID=73

  9. You should consider getting an I-phone. It has been a huge blessing as far as getting me organized in both of these areas and numerous others. There are numerous applications available. I would have never considered getting one till my phone died and we found a great deal on a refurbished one. I love it!

  10. I would like to invite everyone to visit DinnerPlanner.com.

    It may be for you and then it may not… but it is an easy meal planning solution for busy moms!



  11. For menu planning I set up a separate google calendar just for our menus, I have our typical breakfasts & lunches set to repeat weekly & then most of our dinners are set to repeat every 4 weeks. That way each Sunday it’s just a matter of looking at the new week’s menu & changing anything I want different that week, it works great for us, though I’ve gotten lazy & need to re-do the dinner menus, I think I have some set for every 4 weeks & some set for monthly so they overlap sometimes, plus some of the meals I put on there the kids & hubby have gotten tired of, so I end up deleting & overwriting those every time they come up.

  12. I have tried several online programs for finance/budgeting. (www.pearbudget.com, http://www.mint.com & others that are downloadable). To date, I think http://www.mint.com has worked the best.

    In terms of meal planning, I have used my Google calendar to plan meals & then I make the meals “repeatable events” i.e. I have spaghetti every 2 weeks. So, you really just need to plan about 3 weeks of meals & then make them repeatable & you’ve got meals for a long time. I got this from http://www.simplemom.net, she has a step by step post on how to do this.

    I have tried various online “scheduling” programs but they all have become too cumbersome. Google Calendar allows me to keep my work schedule, church schedule, husband’s schedule, meal schedule, etc, all on one site with minimal effort. Please see http://www.simplemom.net

    Good Luck

  13. For managing menu plans, I use Living Cookbook. You can copy/paste a recipe into the program and put it into a meal plan. But better yet, it tells you the COST of each recipe, the nutritional info, and whether you have all the ingredients on hand. You can make shopping lists & have an estimate of your total bill. You can buy a download online through Amazon or their website (http://www.livingcookbook.com). It’s the best investment we made. I copy/paste a lot of recipes from websites into it. We use google calendar to track schedules & Quicken for finance.

  14. These are all free programs that I use.

    For managing our finances: http://buddi.thecave.homeunix.org/en/

    For managing our schedules/calendars/lists:

    For managing menu plans/calendars/and lots more:
    http://www.springpadit.com/ (This is my absolute favorite organizing tool–and I highly recommend it! Watch their tutorial video!)

    Oh and here’s a link to a really neat Recipe Generator that lets you enter in the ingredients you have on hand and it generates ideas for you to use those items. It’s really nice when you’re trying to stretch your groceries, clean out the pantry, and save money. http://www.supercook.com/

  15. I saw a program at Target for menu planning, but I can’t seem to let myself buy it without knowing it’s really worth it. It looked great- plug in what ingredients you have on hand and it will give meal suggestions. I can’t wait to see what folks have to say. Thanks for bringing it up for all of us!