I have an idea! But I need a plan

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I'm a student on a budget, and I've been trying to make my life easier, by creating a "foodplanner" spreadsheet in Excel, that will help me save money, and save time planning.

Thing is; I don't have the skill or the experience to figure out how to solve the conundrum, that my idea(s) for what I would like this spreadsheet to be able to do, has generated. 

So, I thought I'd pass my thoughts through here, and see what advice the kind, and clever people of the internet would grant me. 


The idea is making a spreadsheet that will allow me to enter recipes; list the pricing of each recipe and the individual ingredients; easily pick which recipes you would like to make, for each day of a particular week, and have the spreadsheet automatically consider and figure out, what ingredients you will need to purchase, based on what ingredients you already have in your kitchen (essentially have it make a shopping list, based on the recipes picked)- and, of course, do more simple things like write out the total cost etc.


Also, it would be so cool, if the spreadsheet could calculate which of the recipes/dishes use the same ingredients, and have it come up with foodplan-suggestions, based on those ingredient synergies- let's call them. That way, it would be easier to make a foodplan, optimized for saving money!


I understand that this would probably require a bunch of manually fed data; the recipes, ingredients, store prices, which ingredients you already have, and how much of it you have left etc. 


For the recipes and their ingredients, I thought to use a nice little cook-book I bought when I moved out.

For the store prices of the ingredients, I will have to do some field work in my local grocery store- buy the wares for the recipes, and enter the data into the spreadsheet.

I will also manually need to monitor which ingredients I already have, and how much of it I have left; enter this into the spreadsheet as well, and update it every week.


Thoughts and suggestions on how to solve this in a good way? 


Kind regards.

- BK


6 Replies



It wouldn't be easy that's for sure.

just thinking out loud per say
Maybe if you load a few recipes
you could workout what recipes use the same ingredients
as for how much you have left well that would probably best best done manually . hmm maybe if you had a tab with ingredients and had a start figure and a couple of columns for how much you use and then delete the figures when you replenish,

Me I think I'd first list all the ingredients you have and have a start amount ie white sugar 300gm etc
I'd try keep measurements the same. Then do a couple of recipes on a separate tab each and list the ingredients and how much you need. then I would maybe have it search your ingredient list for the item and see if you have enough. Some conditional formatting who help with that. like highlight the ingredient if you don't have it or make the vale red if there's not enough. then on the recipe list you could have a column that tells you what to buy when it went below a certain level.

for me it would be coffee 2 new jars 1 open if i get to 1 new and 1 open I buy another jar. same with sugar.

Can't be done but with so many logical nested if, sumif, including filter function... Though it's mind Challenging.i like stuff like this

If I want to do it,
I have to break down each step one by one and solve it but as it is, it's going to be a long nested formula
I was thinking the same.
just sort of writing as I thought about it.
I have managed to create a list of recipes (there's only a few atm, but enough for me to test it out), and beside it- in the same tab; a list with each day of the week, and then drop down "menus" beside each day, containing the name of every recipe listed. Next the drop down menu (to the right of it), we have the price of the recipe, conditionally formatted to change colour, depending on how expensive/cheap it is. The way it works now, is that when you pick a recipe in the drop down menu, let's say for monday; a formula in the "price" cells, looks for the recipe name you picked, in the recipe list, where I have manually entered the ingredient prices and summed prices of each individual recipe. Then it will take the total price of the recipe, and post it next to, like this: "Monday - Spaghetti Carbonara - 10$". Then when you're done picking which recipes you'll be making throughout the week, it very simply sums the picked recipe prices, and writes it out below the array.

Upload it so we can have a look and make sure it's in English

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