Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Day 20 and 21 FTJ Bootcamp Activity

This is such a great idea! I'm going to do this tonight.

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Grocery Planning

When it comes to saving on groceries, it helps to be a proactive grocery shopper. That means knowing what the best prices are and building a stockpile of things you need when prices are rock bottom, rather than when you run out of something and have to buy it at full price.

Create a Master Meals List

Take your price book one step further by creating a list of the ten frugal meals your family eats most often. Write down all the ingredients necessary to make those dishes from start to finish. Don’t forget anything – if you make garlic bread to go with spaghetti dinners also include the bread, butter, garlic, etc. Come up with a master list of all ingredients. These are the items you should focus on when creating your price book.

Your master meals list will also give you insight as to how much meals actually cost when you’re making them at home. This list will allow you to analyze the cost of what you’re making to see if you’re making smart choices. Sometimes certain meals (especially casseroles and one-pot meals with many ingredients) are more expensive than you think. A simple meal of broiled fish and a steamed vegetable often costs less than a casserole made with canned soup, cheese, and pasta and other ingredients. Also, pay close attention to the meals you make that require you to buy more of an ingredient than you need. For example, when you make a roast or a stew do you often have leftover celery, carrots, or other veggies? Do they often go to waste or do you incorporate the extras in your menu plan?

Once you’ve completed your master meals list, you’ll want to keep close tabs on the prices of those items for the next several months so you can spot pricing trends. Grocery sale prices hit rock bottom every 12 weeks on non-perishables, and that’s the time you’ll want to stock up. Certain things like fresh produce often hit rock bottom once a year when they’re in season and can be more difficult to stockpile, but it still helps to monitor their prices as well. In some cases you’ll still be able to stockpile them if you can freeze, can or preserve them in some other way.

Create a Master Pantry List

Now that you have a master list of ten standby meals and the ingredients required to make them, you have a great start to your master pantry list. Now, add all the things you need for day-to-day cooking – basics such as milk, flour, eggs, sugar, onions, garlic, etc. Once you’ve added them, you have a master pantry list.

Organize your master pantry list by grocery store department (produce, canned goods, dairy, etc). Then, print out the list and keep it posted in your pantry. Write down the number of boxes/cans you have on hand and take special note when your supply is diminishing. When you take something out of your pantry, adjust your list accordingly. This will also help you see what you have on hand at a glance instead of rummaging through the shelves, making it easier to keep your pantry organized.

Your goal as a proactive shopper will be to familiarize yourself with the prices of the things on your pantry list so that you can buy them when they’re on sale, rather than when you run out.


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