As you all know, I like to plan. It makes my life easier when I have control over a few things because let’s face it, you can’t control everything. On Sundays, I enjoy going through my pantry, fridge and freezer to see what I have and think up what I could do with these items. Some days this task is easy, some days it’s hard. Some days the ingredients practically tell me how to use them up, and some days they don’t. When it’s tough, I go to the internet for ideas and inspiration.
WORK FROM THE BOTTOM UP, DINNER MENU FIRST:
I like to begin with deciding on dinners first. My goal is to cook at least four times a week. Four is good, five is better, and three is likely. Knowing this helps me from overbuying and wasting food. If you know that you are going to have a busy week and you’ll only cook twice, only buy enough for two dinners. You can always go to the market if you really need something, and then you don’t waste food and money. After taking stock and visiting my Pinterest board, I know what I’m making for dinners and can create my grocery list.
*Side note, in looking at your menu for the week, think about how these things will translate for lunches. For example, re-heating tacos don’t really work for lunch in your typical office kitchen, so I make sure to buy enough lettuce to create a taco salad for the next day.
Once dinners and lunches are covered, I think about breakfast. For me breakfast consists of a smoothie, coffee, and an egg. For my husband, oatmeal and orange juice. Add those items to your list. Now is the time to jot down any other necessities, such as toiletries or cleaning products. There it is, your list, in all its glory.
COUPONING, LAZY GIRL STYLE:
This is the part where I go to my coupon envelopes to see if I have anything that will save us a few bucks. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. The thing I have learned about couponing is that it can be easy to clip coupons because they sound good, but if the coupon is for something you don’t normally buy, it’s not worth it. I clip coupons once a week and stash them in an envelope. After I make my list, I see what I can use for this shopping trip, and I go through and toss anything that has expired.
Another way that I coupon is through Safeway’s Just For You program. Safeway is the closest grocery store to me, and convenience is king when it comes to chores like grocery shopping. I simply log into my account, and review all of the personalized deals, store specials, and manufacturer coupons. I click away on what I need, and it automatically loads them to my card. It is super easy, and it’s pretty silly not to do it. Super dorky fact, I have the app on my phone too (see image above). Oh, and I accumulate gas rewards points. After grocery shopping today, I received a $0.90/gallon discount. I know, super dorky. I like saving money, can’t help it.
In all this process takes me about an hour. Within this hour, I am able to make my evenings easier, so I have more time to spend with my hubby and pets, and I keep our dinners interesting, so we don’t eat the same things over and over. I’m sure that this isn’t for everyone, but it works for me, so I wanted to share.