21 February 2009

meal planning and shopping

Today was my second two-week shopping trip.  After searching sales from flyers online; cutting and filing coupons; scouring the internet for new recipes; making price sheets at home and while I shopped I have made some helpful observations. 
  • Shop alone: have someone watch the kids and leave hubby home too
  • keep your eyes open for other sales at the stores that were not in the flyers
  • coupons do not give you the best price - store brands are often cheaper
  • don't try and get the HUGE bag of dog food first when your cart is empty- wait until there is weight in your cart to keep it from rolling away while you struggle to lift it onto the cart.
  • try to leave some food budget for fresh produce or extra/forgotten items -don't just spend what you have because you have it
  • having a list of possible meals and writing them in a calendar helps the brainstorming side of meal planning.  
  • When trying new recipes gauge your family's reaction to know if it is a winner or not to waste your time and money on it again
  • portion out needed ingredients so they are not consumed in snacking and label for others and yourself
  • put labels with leftovers' name and date made on the container - remembering how good it tasted instead of how it looks on the shelf will help consume it before it gets thrown away (aka throwing money away)
  • utilize the freezer- make bigger batches (of meals you know your family likes) and freeze with labels
  • if you can get yourself to soak the beans overnight ( my downfall) buy the dried instead of canned and stock your pantry.