Get Organized: I will first start in the pantry. I try to arrange all of my canned/dry goods in categories. I put all tomato based products together, canned veggies, soups, beans, etc.
Start The Inventory:I write down exactly what I have and the quantities of everything in my pantry, freezer, and refrigerator
Start Planning: Once I have my inventory I go through some recipe ideas I have on hand or look some up using a recipe finder online that allows you to type which items you already have then pops out a recipe.
Make A Shopping List: I may have 5 items but need two to complete the recipe. I create a list for the missing items so I am not buying too many things that are not needed.
Write Out A Calendar: You can schedule when you will prepare menu items or you can just make a list and cross them off as you prepare them.
By doing reverse menu planning you are saving money, using up everything you have, being more organized, and ensuring you are eating at home more often. With out a plan you are planning to fail.
By Misty from Aurora, CO
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When we were busy or had to work all at the same time, we had to prep for how we would all eat. There was no going to a drive-thru, because there was no extra money.
Maybe most of you are already doing this, but I just thought of it a couple of weeks ago. I tell my family I don't mind cooking or cleaning up but I hate trying to figure out what to cook. I got index cards, and wrote out a menu on each card including beverage and dessert.
Whether you're short on time or money, preparing one large meal on the weekend and stretching it all week long is a cost and time efficient way of meal planning.
I have read many frugal blogs and sites. Many of them rely and support the idea of menu planning for cutting your grocery bill. Those who are supporters of this practice, say they look at the sale flyers and base their menu on the rock bottom prices.
Menu index cards are great for when I can't think about what to cook. They have a whole menu, one menu on one index card. Since they are sorted into the index card file, I have them sorted by what types of meat (chicken, beef, ground beef, pork,vegetarian, etc.).
I have a friend who budgets wisely every month. She has raised 2 children and gone back to school herself with what she saved. She owns her own home and about 4 acres of land.
I'm starting to think about back-to-school tasks that must be done. Here is one that I thought up as I'll have four kids in school, as well as myself, so this year will be even harder to manage.
To make my grocery list I then just need to check out the specials, go to my box and quickly choose what I'll cook for the next two weeks and write down what I'll have to buy...
To help save money on groceries, start by making out a menu plan for the upcoming week. Once the menus are made, check your cupboards for the necessary ingredients. Make a list of what you need to buy and stick to this list.
Do you have a set of meals that you eat on a regular basis? Plan ahead at least a week in advance so you don't have to make too many trips to the grocery store. When at the store, buy extras of most often needed items (when on sale) so you will always have some in reserve.
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I am new here. I just quit my job to go to school full time and finish my degree. Anyway, I am looking for cheap and healthy meal plans. My husband and I work out a lot, so the healthy part is important. Would love any advice. Thanks!
By Jessica from UT
One side dish would be sweet potato fries. Cook them in the oven instead of deep frying them. I don't know how good they are but I think they sound good for something different. Several years ago I had a young boss that mentioned having them for supper one night, she cooked them in the oven instead of deep frying them.
At the moment I am using quinoa as a substitute for pasta, rice and potatoes.
It is the ultimate superfoood,containing far more protein and less carbs than all the above, it also has some really important amino acids and other trace elements that apparently can help prevent conditions like cancer. There are plenty recipes on the net and on Thriftyfun. There was a great one last week.
I think the cheapest things I make are soups. A chicken noodle soup that I just made used $1.21 piece of chicken. It made 5 large servings. You can use leftover chicken too. Any vegetable scraps you have (save little bits in a container in the freezer until you make your soup) can be added. I used green beans, onions and kidney beans in my last soup, but any vegetables are good. I make a good hamburger soup that has the same basic ingredients as any vegetable soup but add some canned tomatoes.
I think it is easy to eat a lot of starchy food when you are trying to save money, but I personally don't think that is healthy. Sure pasta is cheap, but as a diabetic I limit carbs.
A chicken can stretch a long way.
First night: baked chicken
2nd night: chicken in salad, sandwiches, etc.
3rd night: soup
Freeze the rest of the soup.
I also find that the less food is processed, the cheaper it is. No soda, limit junk, & buy a few treats.
Good for you for going back to school. Good luck.
Thanks for all the help. It gave me some great ideas!
Tips to help with meal planning. What do you do to make your meal planning easier and more cost effective? Post your ideas.
Plan your meals so you can cook several items at a time, while using the same temperature. While baking tonight's pizza, have a casserole ready to bake for tomorrow's lunch and maybe a few baking potatoes for tomorrow's breakfast home fries. Not only will you be saving energy on your power bill, but time you can spend with your kids or that good book, you've just started.
I do a monthly menu on a calender-
I select a catergory for each day of the week (eg. monday is meat & vege night, tuesday is chicken & rice night, wednesday is vegetarian night, thursday is pasta night, friday is burger and home cooked chips night, saturday is soup night & sunday is roast night) I then go through my favourite recipes and select appropriate ones for each night of the week. I note the recipe book & page no (if req)on the calender as well. Also as I go I write up my monthly shop menu (or you can do it in weekly lots) so I can buy everything I need for the month.
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My trick to avoid eating out is planning! I have a magnetic white board with each week's menu at the top and a spot for requests at the bottom. The kids love making requests and sometimes we do fun theme weeks.
You can save time and money by making two or more meals at once. Large cuts of meat can be divided and used for several recipes. This is a page about make two meals at once.
Meal planning allows you to eat a variety of healthy food without spending a lot of money. This is a page about developing a meal planning notebook and filing system.