I must admit that I have strayed from menu planning in the last few weeks, and MUST get back to it. I know it saves time and money. I also know that it helps me plan more balanced and healthy meals for the week. It doesn't take that long - and the time saved at the grocery store more than makes up for it. Another advantage - I usually take the time to seek out and try at least one new idea or recipe.
Some people I know are really good and plan all three meals - here, not so much. I plan one meal a day, and maybe one breakfast for the weekend. A sample week might look something like this:
Sunday - Chili, cheese bread, fresh fruit
Monday - Chicken and Dumplings, fresh fruit
Tuesday - Baked fish, brown rice, green beans
Wednesday - Bbq pork sandwiches, jello/fruit, cottage cheese, carrot sticks
Thursday - Spaghetti with ground turkey/veggie sauce, salad, bread
Friday - Pizza, salad, fresh fruit
Saturday - Grilled chicken sandwiches, baked beans, cole slaw
Breakfasts I try to have about 3 options available for the week. This week there is Oatmeal with apples and cinnamon (I cooked up a bunch of apples w/cinnamon and have them frozen in 1/2 cup containers), Apple Zucchini Bread, and "Toasty O's" cereal.
Lunches are generally leftovers but I also try to have a couple of other options around like meat for sandwiches, boiled eggs, cheese/crackers, and a couple of emergency cans of soup or single serve soups in the freezer. And, if you know me, there is always peanut butter!
My one addendum is that there is almost always a couple of "back-ups" in the freezer, cupboard for a quick substitution if something comes up and there isn't time to prep ahead or if we suddenly have the opportunity to be hospitable and need to increase the amount of food. Examples are fixin's for grilled cheese to go with soup, ingredients for mac and cheese, turning meat for sandwiches or grilling into a casserole, etc.
There are a lot of great frugal menu sites available, including this great booklet from the USDA including food plans and recipes for thrifty family meals.
Do you plan ahead? Are you willing to share a sample menu?