24 October 2013

How we save on groceries~Part 1

Since coupons are out I have to use other ways to make our budget work. The grocery store is probably the 2nd easiest for me to blow money, Target of course being the first.
I am splitting this into a couple posts, because really it can be a long process.
It's not anything too complicated, just a little time consuming, nothing compared to cutting coupons.
I know meal planning is NOT exciting or fun. It's boring and sometimes tedious but it pays off!
~Meal Plan~
I make a plan for the entire month. We don't always stick to it 100% for each day. Some days I forget to take the chicken out to thaw, kids drink the last of the milk and I am not about to make another trip into town. We just make it work and swap days, this isn't a big deal because I am using washi tape and just write dinner on the washi tape, if things change, I just peel and stick it on another day!

Knowing that I need to plan for an entire month I get out my list of dinner ideas. When I start to decide on meals I make a list first, just a list of dates. That way I can highlight ahead of time when Ryan will be out of town, date night, holidays. Those types of days where dinner might already be taken care of or when I can make breakfast for dinner, Ryan isn't a fan so we have that when he is gone! If someone has a request I can usually get that on the list too.
I make a list of the things we have leftover or that are close to expiring, those have to be used in the first part of the month. I also make sure we have all the staples; flours, sugars, non stick spray, spices.
Check the flyer, but since I am shopping for the whole month I can't base it all on that one week flyer. I usually check for staples or the deals to mix with the card and save more.

Once I have a list and basic idea of days we may not need dinner, I start making the real plan!
I plan the quick stuff or crock pot stuff for evenings I know will be rushed. Once I have those days taken care of (with the washi tape) I plan around them for cooking once, eating twice. If I am baking chicken, it is going to be for 2 or 3 meals, not just one. This saves me time, dishes, and I don't have to use the oven extra times.

 Once I have everything decided, I start with the washi tape. Some meals I know we will have pretty much every month, so I just keep those in my mini planner.

That is ALMOST it for the actual planning, just one more thing I do. I make a little note for the day before if I need to take something out to thaw.  That is all the planning I do, if I had a block of 40 minutes with no interruptions I could get it done. Instead I work a little on my break, lunch and whenever I have a few minutes to sneak in.


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