Monday, September 27, 2010

Making Every Penny Count

How many times have you stood in your kitchen staring into space, hoping a dinner menu will just appear out of nowhere? That you'll open the fridge and your dinner will be sitting on the top shelf just waiting to be popped into the oven. Well, that's probably never going to happen! But with a little planning ahead of time, it could come pretty close. I get asked a lot how to save money on meals, and how to pull it all together. This series of posts will be about how to do just that.

The key to making inexpensive, quick meals is two-part. First, you need to keep a stock of staples handy in your fridge, pantry, and freezer.  Two, you need to know how to use them! You can click on each of those words to see lists of what I keep stocked, but you'll need to adapt the list to your family's needs/tastes and your cooking style. Staples are generally inexpensive items that are the building blocks you use to make a healthy, tasty meal for your family. If your fridge, pantry and freezer are well-stocked you'll always know what you have and you won't be tempted to say, "Oh, I don't know what to have. We'll just go out to dinner tonight." Planning out several meals you'd like to make each week will save you time and money. If you know what you're going to make that week when you head to the grocery store, you're less likely to be tempted to make impulse purchases that you won't use anyway! That saves you money. I've shown you how I make my grocery list, and that's the process I go through each week. I write down main dishes, the side dishes to go with them, treats ... everything I'm planning to serve over the next several days. I don't buy anything I don't need, and I come home having everything I do need. (Usually!) That saves me time since I don't have to make anymore trips to the store later.

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