One of the daily tasks we all must tackle is the cooking, grocery shopping, and meal planning. If you are on a limited budget, this is of special importance. While I mostly blog about cleaning and organizing everything in your home, organizing your meals is also an area I think we can all aim to do better. Let’s go through a few steps I use to plan my weekly shopping and meals.
Steps to Organizing Your Meals:
1. Check your fridge and pantry first. Cleaning out your refrigerator before you shop will help you to see what items you already have on hand. This way, you don’t purchase duplicates and waste money.
2. Once you have checked what foods you already have, make a list of meal ideas you can prepare to use those items. Try to use up everything you buy. As a whole, we are pretty wasteful of our foods in America. We can all help to be more responsible in this area.
3. With your meal/menu list, start a shopping list for the ideas you still need to buy to complete those meals. Think of simple meal plans. There is no need to try to make every meal complicated. For example, see if you can serve the same breakfast items 2-3 times in a week. You can alternate days for variety.
4. Before you head to the store, check the store website to see what meats are on sale. Meats tend to be the most expensive portion of the recipe, so try to save money there by shopping for what is on sale that week.
Read my # 7 tip below to save on meat. Meat is generally the freshest and can be discounted if your store has an in-house butcher. The meat is perfectly safe to consume and can be frozen until a later date.
5. Look for “buy one get one free” items, and try to utilize your savings here. If you have a Publix, they are well known for good deals in this area for ‘buy one get one free” options. Don’t buy it just because it is on sale. Check the savings and see if it truly is a bargain. Sometimes, just buying generic stores brands is more cost efficient. Buying ahead will save you money in the weeks to come.
6. Don’t forget your Dollar Tree stores. These stores are usually excellent places to find paper and cleaning products. I also use them for tin foil, zipper bags, plastic wrap, trash bags, napkins, etc. When I shop for groceries, I include all of these household items in my shopping list.
7. Look for discounted items. Most grocery stores have certain times of the day that they mark down certain food items. My stores do this in the mornings, so I try to shop after dropping the kids off at school. I often buy discounted meat and fresh fruits and veggies as soon as they are marked down. Bagged salads are often discounted, also.
Call your local store to get that information and you can rack up the savings. Talk to the butcher to see when the meats are usually discounted. In my stores, they have a certain area in the store where they place discounted meats. Also, as you are shopping, try to keep a little flexibility in your menu. For example, if you plan to purchase bananas for breakfast, but strawberries are on sale, swap that item out on the menu and you’ll save money.
8. Eat your freshest foods first during your week. Plan your menu to use your lettuce, tomatoes, or any other fresh produce early in the week while it is at it’s peak of freshness.
9. Freeze your leftovers. My mother-in-law was such an inspiration early on to us in our marriage. She watched me toss our leftovers more than a few times. She gently suggested I start saving them. Finally, after being very wasteful, it finally clicked with me that I could freeze most of what I served. Freezing your leftovers is the best alternative to just storing them in the fridge. They last much longer in the freezer.
10. Save and repeat your menus. My final suggestion on organizing your meals is to save and keep those menus for future rotation. Most of us serve many of the same type of meals monthly. Save these ideas for future menu planning. For example, Saturdays are a big breakfast day for our family. I usually cook a large breakfast that includes the same items every Saturday. Repeating family favorites will help simplify your meal planning.
I hope you have found this information beneficial to organizing your meals. If you enjoy reading this type of material, subscribe to my blog for tips and tricks on cleaning and organizing everything in your home.
Need to deep clean? I have lists for you to guide you along.
My How to Deep Clean Your Kitchen list can be found here.
My How to Deep Clean Your Bathroom list can be found here.
My How to Deep Clean Your Kids’ Rooms list can be found here.
My How to Deep Clean Your Living Room list can be found here.
My How to Deep Clean Your Bedroom list can be found here.
Also, to keep up the general housework, you may need to create a daily housekeeping schedule that suits your specific needs. To do so, I have created a helpful series you can read here.
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Need to Declutter Every room? I have declutter checklists for every room and every space in your home to guide you along below.
How to Declutter the Guest Room or Your Kid’s Room checklist can be found here.
How to Declutter Your Laundry Room and Patio checklist can be found here.
How to Declutter Your Coat Closet/Hall Closet/Linen Closet checklist can be found here.
How to Declutter Your Home Office checklist can be found here.
How to Declutter Your Attic checklist can be found here.
How to Declutter Your Garage checklist can be found here.
How to Declutter Your Living Room checklist can be found here.
How to Declutter Your Kitchen Checklist can be found here.
How to Declutter Your Entry/Foyer/Mudroom checklist can be found here.
How to Declutter Your Clothing checklist can be found here.
How to Declutter Your Bedroom checklist can be found here.
How to Declutter Your Bathroom checklist can be found here.
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