By Ann Martin
With the start of a new year comes that sense of renewal! Anything is possible and it is a fresh start to whatever project you have been considering to start (or finish). Most of us our trying to find more and more ways to make our hard earned dollars stretch a little bit further. We are also trying to find ways to save money. When I look over my bills, I am also astonished with regards to how much we spend on food. I consider myself a relatively smart shopper, as I use coupons, watch for sales, etc. But when it some down to it, the bill is the bill and it is quite difficult to be shelling out the amount week after week. So with the start of this new year, I have done some research how I can save at the grocery store. The first item on my agenda to tackle is meal planning. When you actually take the time to meal plan, you truly are saving BIG MONEY! Here are a few important pieces of information that I found out about meal planning. Remember, I am just a few weeks into this idea of meal planning and I am already reaping the benefit of saving money, but time as well.
Get Your Supermarket Ads Ready – In order to get started with planning for your meals, grab your supermarket ads first. Why? This way you can see what is on sale at your local stores. Begin with what is on sale and plan you meals around those specials. Also, by scanning your ads, you will not feel so overwhelmed with idea of planning a week’s worth (or more) of meals, you’ll have something to go by. By the way, if there is an unbelievable sale on an item, buy double of it and freeze it if possible, and use that item for future menu planning.
Look At Your Schedule – Are there nights when no one will be home for dinner? Will everyone be eating at different times? Will there be more time available on the weekends for cooking? Take a look at your schedule and see if there will be any free time to cook more than one meal. If so, it will make it much easier to whip out that delicious chicken pot pie and throw it in the oven to heat up during a night where you’ll be home late than making it from scratch. Making multiple meals of your menu, save you valuable time. Remember, you can always freeze the extra meals you make as well and save them for a rainy day.
Not Every Meal Has To Be Gourmet – It is great to have such high ambitious of cooing five course meals for your family, seven nights a week, but are they realistic? In my household, absolutely not! However, I do like cooking and enjoy trying out new recipes. With my planning, I have been limiting myself to trying out two new recipes a month and creating them on the weekend, when I know I will have time. When week nights are busy, I plan a night for a pasta dish (relatively low in cost as well), a sandwich and soup night (great use of a slow cooker here), and plan to serve leftovers from Sunday’s dinner at some point during the week. It is actually not too difficult to plan meals, it is just about sticking to the idea.
Ann Martin is a contributing writer for Dinnerware Center, which specializes in dinnerware and flatware sets, such as the Oneida flatware and WMF flatware sets. Ann writes additional articles for other food and home websites. When Ann is not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children.
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