Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Save money, plan your meals

I learned a long time ago that I don't make good quick decisions. I'm one of those people who end up wishing I could say,' uh, could I get back to you on that so I can think about it?'. I lay out my clothes the night before right down to my shoes and I don't allow myself to change my mind because if I do, it's a 20 minute ordeal in the closet! When I started working with two little kids, I realized that even though I thought I was organized, I was woefully wrong! I learned some techniques on organizing the hard way that I'm going to share over the course of the next year.

The first will be meal planning, how many of you end up overspending on eating out because at 5pm you don't know what you're eating for supper? I call the evening meal supper and the noon meal dinner, it's my southern upbringing. Drives my daughter seriously crazy! Anyway, the reason most of us end up going out is that we can't plan and we wait until the last minute to realize we are hungry. Hello! Around 6pm, you will be ready to eat a meal almost everyday!

My first piece of advice is to look in your pantry, freezer and fridge to see what you already have. Take stock so you'll know what you need. Always make sure that you have the basics; flour, sugar, etc. One of my biggest frustrations in life is when I start making something and realize I don't have an ingredient. I never realize this until I've already started...no I don't set out everything before I start, who do you think I am? Martha Stewart?

This leads me to the second piece of advice, a running grocery list. I buy my cards, paper and stuff like that from a company called Current. I have for years and years and they always sell helpful paper products like grocery lists and meal planner calendars that have magnets on the back that will stick on the fridge. You can find them at www.currentcatelog.com Or use the back of an old envelope from all those junk mailings but stick it on the fridge.

When you use the last of the ketchup, crackers, jelly...well you get my point, add it to the list. When I make one of my pantry staple meals, like the mc... deli soup from an earlier post, I add the ingredients to the grocery list. When it's time to visit the grocery store, you already have a list of needs and you just need to add the things that you need for the meals you've planned! Saves time and it ends up saving you money because you have a list and you won't go cruising down the aisles looking for good things to buy!

I have actually trained my children to list the things they use up on the list. Momma's mantra, 'if it isn't on the list, it doesn't get bought!' Another one is, 'if I don't have a coupon, it isn't getting bought!" I haven't moved my husband to do this yet and at this point, it ain't gonna happen! He just can't remember to do it.....

Try to start the new year off by taking charge of your kitchen. It will set the tone for your entire household! Getting organized in the kitchen will give you a chance to cook up healthy, quick and easy meals and end up saving a bunch of money. And remember, a home cooked meal is a way to bless those around you!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the tips! I always have a list when I go to the grocery store. Another handy tip is never go to the store hungry! I have a dry erase board on the fridge for when we run out of things. I say the same thing, "Did you write it down?" I need to sit down and plan out meals more than a few days ahead. I like the calendar idea and will try it. I used to like eating out until I saw how much it was costing us and how unhealthy most restaurant foods are. We had beans and cornbread for dinner last night, and it was perfectly fine. We now try to reserve eating out for payday.