12 January 2011

Home Management Binder Section 3: Groceries and Meal Planning

The next section I am working on is groceries and meal planning! One of the first pages in my HMB (it's not even in a section) is our Menu for the week (or 2 weeks)  I just printed this off and it is in a page protector so I can write on it with the dry erase markers and wipe it off if I need to adjust it or every other week when it's old news! The reason I have it in the front (right after my calendar) is because one of the first things I need to do every morning is make sure something doesn't need to be thawed for dinner, so having that right in front of me is just easy!

Since using coupons better this year is one of my goals I have to find a way to fit a easy way to use them in this folder. I went to office depot looking for something and spotted these page protector things that are for baseball cards (I think) but I am using them for COUPONS. Each page has 9 pockets, I can break each page into isles or grocery sections. Health. Dairy, Paper, Meat, Produce, Breakfast, Canned, Frozen and everything else!  I set this up a few days ago and was able to use it already on Sunday! So far so good, and I got a whole pack of these for just a couple dollars so if I get more than 1 page can handle I can use another.

Then I have a chart of most of the groceries we buy, the regular price at the 2 grocery stores we go to and sale price that comes up at other stores (to price match). Sometimes you have to buy something even if it is not on sale, but I wanted to have an idea of the lowest price it goes down to so I know when to stock up (and hope I have coupons for it then). I am always adding to this list and adjusting the prices as they go up and down, it is not fun or easy, but I do think it is worth it to really know how much stuff is, it helps me plan our grocery budget. It really is a LOT of work but I have been able to plan a week worth of the most inexpensive meals when needed because I had the handy little chart. It really isn't something that I enjoy AT ALL and you can't really do it from home whenever you want. I think the easiest way for me to keep track of it is to just make a quick note on the price from my receipt and do major updates when I can. 

This part is new for me, a record of what we have stocked up! Some things I can guarantee we will use before it expires so I am trying to keep a couple months worth of our usual groceries, buying them on sale so we can wait if they don't go on sale again for a while. I don't want to just go out and buy it all at once and not get the best deal, so I am slowly buying when stuff is on sale. What we have so far I was able to get most for about 50% off the regular price! Still have a long way to go but I figure if something is on a GREAT sale I can spend $20 out of our grocery budget each pay period and stock up a little. It shouldn't take that long to stock up completely I hope.

I also keep the weekly circulars and my grocery list in the folder pocket.. I make my grocery list on Mondays usually, but then add to it all week as we run out of stuff. I use the circulars to see if anything I need is on sale and take them with me to the store since they price match! I am not a fan of dragging the kids in and out of more than 1 store, especially in this rainy cruddy weather!  I also keep another paper with what I needed from each circular and the coupons they match (if any) and what page they are on.. Nothing is worse than a grumpy checker waiting while you browse the ad's again looking for something :)

I used to have a section for recipe's but honestly I rarely cook from a recipe and when I do it is from a cook book or online.. if it's online I just print it out or bring the laptop over. I have a BIG box of recipes to try someday.. they are organized but I don't need to see them everyday so my HMB is just not the place for them.

The next section is kid stuff! 


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