I Need Money Saving Tips for Menu Planning

Hi FlyLady,

I am a new FlyBaby and have found a lot of peace implementing your systems. Thank you very much. My question is on menu planning. I have been menu planning for the past 3 month and have seen some great benefits with it. The problem is that since now I am going to the store for 2 weeks at a time, I am spending a big chunk of money all at once. I’m sure I’m saving money on gas and groceries and saving stress and frustration but I was wondering if there are some money saving tips you could give me.

I do prefer to shop every 2 weeks but am willing to change that if I need to. I will take any help you have. Thank you again.

Fluttering in Georgia

Dear Fluttering in Georgia,

Just the fact that you are staying out of the grocery store for two weeks means you are saving money! There are lots of impulse buys at a grocery store. Why do you think they are designed with all the bright colors and end cap special deals? They are to entice you to add items to your cart. Here are some tips to help you save money.

  1. Always have a grocery list and stick to it.
  2. Do not go to the grocery store hungry!
  3. Do not shop when you are in a hurry!
  4. Take your time putting groceries away!

Let me explain why these tips help you save money.

(1) Sticking to your grocery list keeps you from making impulse purchases. Making this rule will help you. This is why I love for Robert to go shopping for our family. If it is not on his list, he does not buy it. I love and hate that about him, but I am getting used to it. I have to be very specific about what I want. Once I put carrots on the list and he brought home skinny pencil sized carrots in a tiny bag. I wanted bigger carrots for a pot roast. We still laugh about it.

(2) Going to the grocery store hungry means everything looks good and you place those items in your shopping cart. Your grocery budget is blown before you get down two aisles. Don’t do it!

(3) Going shopping when you are in a hurry means you will be grabbing a lot of precooked foods from the deli section. Unless you have a roasted chicken on your grocery list then stay away from those sections of the store. Go shopping when you are not pressed for time. I know people who like to shop at 9:00 pm. There are fewer people in the store and it can be a quiet time for you too.

(4) Buying food in bulk especially meats and not separating them into family portions sets you up for wasting food and space in your freezer. This about this! Buying two Boston butts and freezing them as they came from the market if going to take up a whole shelf in the freezer. If they are boneless you can slice them for pork steaks and put into 2 portion packages. If you have a family of four, then pull out two packs for dinner. If you want leftovers for your lunch then pull out 3 packages for your planned leftovers. Be sure to package them so they will not be freezer burned. Put them on your freezer inventory and make a plan to use them within three months.

If you vacuum seal them they can be kept much longer.  If you use hamburger a couple of times a week; buying it in bulk can save money too. I brown my hamburger in my slow cooker with a cup of water. Then I let it cool and package into 2 cup packages for spaghetti sauce, my hamburger helper dinner, sloppy joes, tacos, and Mexican casseroles. I also like to make up meat loaves and hamburger patties when we buy in bulk. I always repackage all the meats unless I am using them within two days of purchase.

Here are some tools that I use to repackage my meats.

  1. Vacuum sealer (Mine is a Foodsaver)
  2. Ziplock Bags (I use 1 quart and 1 gallon sizes)
  3. A roll of Freezer Paper
  4. Masking Tape for freezer
  5. Sharpie Marker

Having a plan for everything you put in your freezer will save you money. Marking a date on each package will will tell you when you froze the item. Then plan to use these items within the next three months. You can use your calendar to plan to use these items.

This essay is continued to my Morning Musing; I could not stop writing!

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