After Store Meal Prep

So you survived the store congratulations! I hope the other posts helped you save some money. Now that you are home, it’s time to store food, meal prep, and clean the kitchen. I believe this last part is also just as important when spending less time in the kitchen. Would you rather spend 4hrs one day or 1hr every day, seven days a week? I’d knock it all out at once; it gives one better peace of mind throughout the week at times that matter the most.
Store the food, whatever you mean, well, I find that it allows one to stock up on the meats and freezer items, which can also save money. Some grocery stores sell family-sized beef, 3 or 4 lb. packs. It’s cheaper to buy the 4lb of ground beef, divide it out, and freeze it in zip locks. When freezing, I will sometimes add salt, pepper, or marinade to the meats. Yes, I leave some plain, and I write on all the bags what they are and the date I put them in the freezer. So for any meals I’m not making, write now they’re somewhat all ready to go. I occasionally add other seasonings, but it not often depends. I always encourage my family to eat fruits and vegetables, but one thing that kept coming up is they weren’t ready to eat. I find it cheaper to buy produce than rinse and chop them at home to make them easy to grab. Because while doing this, I can also prep the fruits and vegetables for my 1-2 weeks of dinners.
I like to multi-task when in the kitchen. I will have one meal in the oven while one is in the instant pot, and I’m prepping another. Multi-tasking allows me to not be in the kitchen all day but, simultaneously, get my meals for the week ready to go. At this time, I’ll make sure my fridge and pantry are clean, so I can fill and organize them for the week.
When the meals are done, I will clean the kitchen except for the floor and dishwasher. Because in my night routine, before heading to bed, I sweep, mop, vacuum, and run the dishwasher. Starting the day with clean floors and dishes puts me in a better mood to start my day.
The final step is to list your meals in the fridge first, followed by meals in the freezer. When a meal is gone, putting a line through it will help limit food waste. Now you are ready to go for your week.

Save at the Grocery Store

When you first think about how to save money at the grocery store you think of sitting around for hours cutting out coupons and bringing a stack to the store with a calculator pulled up on your phone right? Wrong its much easier trust me!

Did you know that there’s now more digital coupons then paper coupons even some grocery stores have reward programs now with digital coupons attached to your account either by phone number or with a card. Always check digital coupons rewards and apps. I know of numerous stores with a app Walmart, Target, Dollar General just to name a few. There’s also sites that have printable coupons for you to help limit the cutting such as crazy coupon lady and as well as P and G coupons. The P and G sometimes come in the mail depending on where you live.

When at the grocery store, pay attention to the red tag price per unit and buy based on that. The item may be more now but can save you down the road and overall will be cheaper. I also buy a lot of the same items so with dry goods I keep a mini stockpile in the pantry. I don’t have a huge pile of dry goods I do 2 months’ stockpile max. How much of a pile is up to you. Please note that it is best to grow your stockpile over time I didn’t start with a 2 month stockpile. I use the mindset if its on sale one for now and 1-2 for later mindset. I budget an amount for the extras and that’s how I decide on how and when to stock up on certain items. If you watch the sale flyers for long enough you will eventually see a pattern of certain items going on sale at the same time of y and I will usually plan around that. For example, where I am now in April laundry supplies go on sale next.

When planning your trip to the grocery store consider not getting everything all at one store. Yes, consider the distance to and from but if they are close to each other or you can do a pick up at one and run into the other one to save money on your groceries then split your list based on who has the better deals on your items. Most often you will find one store has better deals on produce and one is better on pantry staples. Always write your list in the order of aisles you will walk through and, base it on how your store is laid out. This not only will help you get in and out but also help prevent going down aisles you don’t need to go through. Also always eat even if it’s just a snack if you’re full your less likely to go oh this looks good too many times and toss it in the cart. I do allow an amount of the budget for one or 2 new meals each month because it’s good to add variety and change things up on occasion. But really if you stick to your list of 50 meals (link to other grocery post) then you get enough variety then adding an additional 1 or 2 recipes here and there your family will be surprised every time they go to the table.

I also suggest using fetch rewards, through this not only do you get points that turn into git cards you can visually see where you shop more and how much your spending.

When at the grocery store outside of a few items (due to allergies and knowing that sometimes there just worth the money) I dont pay attention to brands. Ill go for whichever is cheaper because outside of a few items there really all the same. You’d be surprised by how much you save just by doing this one simple thing. Its also worth mentioning that when buying based on the whole month you will spend more at once but now all you have to go back for throughout the month is your non perishables. This helps limit how many times your at the grocery store and how much time you spend in general on grocery shopping and meal prep. Now your ready to take your list and coupons and head to the store! (link for after store meal prep post)

Delicious meals all the time on a Budget

We all want a delicious and home-cooked meal every night, right? Let’s be real, who has the time or energy for that these days. Between work, kids, and life, our days are always busy. I know what you’re thinking, that’s impossible. Cooking from home must be more expensive? I’m here to show you that it doesn’t have to be. We’ll go over how it’s possible to have dinner on the table every night with little work while doing so on a budget and simultaneously keeping the kitchen clean! Sound too good to be true? Well, read on to find out!

Id like to start out with the going to the grocery store first because I find doing little bit of work before hand makes all the difference. First thing to do is to write down general idea of what you already have in pantry, fridge and freezer. I have a list of 50 dinners that I rotate through (link to list of mine) and I alternate the chicken, beef and pork during the week and a pasta or fancy dinner for the weekend then on whatever day you do the grocery store that’s your leftover day. Once you have the meals you want to have picked out write them on a mini dry erase board that will go on the fridge, I do meals on the fridge 1-2 weeks at a time. Then check your list you made earlier to see what you have and what you dont have. From here make your grocery list and write it out in order of how you’d walk through the store this will help you stay on track. Then I always do a good clean on the inside of the fridge, pantry and kitchen. And right before heading out I will always look for coupons (links that I use apps, websites ext) Now your ready to go shopping have fun!

Back from the store now time to take couple hours one day and make those meals Ill usually make enough meals to last 1-2 weeks from one day of food prep and to me that’s worth it. I use freezer containers and I stack all of the same meal in one spot to keep it all organized in the freezer if it helps to write on them what they are then by all means. Once all the cooking is done ill clean the kitchen again and call it a day.

So its Monday and you’ve had a long day but everyone’s hungry check your list of options to choose from and heat up whichever you’d like. Ill use a dish spray for the container to soak once its empty while we enjoy dinner. After dinner you may have one or two things that cant go in dishwasher but other then that dinner done and clean kitchen. I love my dishwasher and will use it as much as I can. Start that when you go to bed and you start the next day ready to go! Now you can eat what you want when you want, its easy to keep up with and your not eating out as much. You’ll save money by predominantly sticking to your 50 meals list because you can stock up on common used items. More info on saving money at the grocery store (link other post).