I'm a big fan of meal planning or planning your meals ahead of time. Normally people plan a week ahead of time. This helps you figure out what to buy at the grocery store and saves you money. AS LONG AS YOU STICK TO THE PLAN.
That's the hard part for our family - sticking to the plan. To help us stick to our plan we usually build in a take-out day. That's a day when we're too tired/too busy/too whatever to cook, so we go out to eat or order delivery. We also mix and match our meals. What I mean by that is we come up with 6 meals and they are fixed on whatever day we want. Let's face it you may not feel like eating spaghetti on Tuesday but you're craving it on Thursday.
Sticking to the menu planned is important because everyone knows what happens when you go to the grocery store to get a week's worth of meals and then order take out or eat out a lot that week. You waste a lot of food and spend more money than you probably planned.
To make our lives a little easier we almost always have pizza on Fridays. That's our Pizza and a movie night. It's a little tradition and it helps to make meal planning and grocery shopping easier. Try to automate as much as you can. Come up with a couple meals that your family really likes and rotate them over the course of a month.
Be flexible when planning the daily meals. Automate as much as you can. Remember, by sticking to the meals you have planned you will save time and money.