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Posts tagged ‘grocery’

Meal Planning — Spending Less

menu planAs part of my concentrated effort to pay off my car, my dear husband and I are going back to basics of saving at the grocery store.  The first thing we did was go through the freezer and make sure our freezer inventory was up to date.  There a several ways to keep track of your inventory.  The easiest is probably to just keep it in a handwritten notebook and update as you use up the contents.  This gives us a starting place.

With the inventory in place, I now begin the week’s plan.  Normally on Sunday, we will have a larger piece of meat.  We will then take the leftovers of this and reuse in a different meal later in the week.  In this way, we don’t waste the leftovers and it doesn’t feel like we are eating leftovers every other day.

For instance, this week I am going to make roasted chicken and vegetables for Sunday’s dinner.  On Tuesday, we will take the leftovers of the chicken and make a chicken vegetable soup.  Roasted chicken is one of my favorite leftovers as there are so many ways to reuse.   This week we are making chicken vegetable soup, but we could have also used the leftovers to make enchiladas, grilled chicken for salad, chicken tacos.  The chicken I choose is a six pounder, so we will likely have enough to freeze even after we make the soup.  Any leftovers of the soup will also be frozen and I will take them in my lunch in the next 6 to 8 weeks.  Because it is still cold, we will also have chili this week.  When we make chili we make a huge pot.  My dear husband shares with friends and relatives, we will eat leftovers and we will freeze some for later.

At our home, we plan the menu together and make our grocery list based on the plan.  We also keep a list on the fridge of staples we are low on so we don’t forget, or worse get to the grocery and say “do we need _____” and end up overspending buying stuff we don’t need.  If there is a really good deal on a staple we love, we will stock up a bit.  However, we try not to have too much more than we will use in a month’s time.  We like to shop together, as this makes us more accountable.  We never ever go hungry — we always overspend when we are hungry.

During the week my dear husband does all of the cooking, following the plan. Using a dry/erase marker, I put the menu on the fridge for him.

I made a magnetic border for the fridge using duct tape and magnetic strips.  I don’t think it is Pinterest quality, but it does the job.

tools for menu board

border

What’s for Dinner Sweetie?

How often do you hear “what’s for dinner sweetie”?  Over the last few months, we have begun meal planning.  We were looking for a way to save on our grocery bill, as it seemed like were spending a lot on groceries and not really getting much bang for our buck.  Not only do we always know “what’s for dinner,” we are saving lots of money. 

The first thing we did was do an inventory of our freezer.  Because I’m a bit of a nerd, I put it in a spreadsheet to keep better track.  You don’t really need to go that far, just putting it on paper and marking out as you use it will work just fine. This will be your best friend for your meal planning. I am planning on inventorying the pantry next. 

The first month we did this, we only spent about $100 for groceries for two people.  Now, each Saturday we sit down and plan out our meals for the whole week.  We incorporate any fresh food we have, as well as meat and other food already in our freezer.  We really try to cook as much from scratch as possible. There are many things you can cook in under 30 minutes with good planning. 

Because it is just the two of us, we end up with leftovers.  For chili, soups and stew, we freeze leftovers into single-serving containers and one-meal sized containers.  We can then pull these out of the freezer and pack in my lunch, or have a quick meal.  Today for instance, Larry worked away from the house.  At 5:00, we decided we would have chili and sandwiches.  Because we had it in the freezer, dinner was ready in about 30 minutes with no mess. 

We do buy fresh fruits and vegetables and incorporate them in our cooking.  Depending on your area, and the types of fruits and vegetables you buy, going to grocery once a week is probably enough.  When you go to the grocery, make sure you have a list and just enough cash for what you need so you don’t buy extra.  We are trying to buy less “junk” food which is not only bad for you, but can be expensive.

Look forward to sharing some of our delicious meals soon.

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