Frugal Meal Planning - version 2008 - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 59 Old 01-03-2008, 02:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Since it's a new year, and so many of us have "spend less" type resolutions, I thought it might be a good idea to review the Frugal Meal Planning. I, myself, have been a right little slacker in this department, : and I know I can't be the only one who would benefit from a refresher course.

All of the assignments (to date - there will be more in the summer, so stay tuned!) are posted below (to make locating them easier). The plan is to focus on each one for at least a month, and really establish it as a habit.

I'm looking for company on this journey - anyone care to join me?

Assignment #1 (January)
Your first assignment is to go to www.cindysporch.net and print out her kitchen inventory lists. (If the links don't work, you can just type the URL into your address bar. Or you can just use a pen and a notebook.) Make sure you print out the fridge one, the freezer one and the cupboards one, and that you print out enough for your situation. (For instance, I needed a fridge sheet, 2 freezer sheets and 3 cupboard sheets when I did this in my house.)

Go into your kitchen cupboards, your fridge, your pantry, your deep freeze, your basement shelves, anywhere you store food, and write down ALL the food you have in your home (types and amounts. For instance: corn- tinned: 3, corn- frozen: 2 bags)

Assignment #2 (February)
Gather your inventory lists, your calendar, your favourite recipes, a notebook and a pen.

Bearing in mind your schedule for the week, plan menues for the next 7 days, using what is on your inventory list. Try to use up at least one of those "mysterious" purchases.

Plan your menues around recipes that use only what you already have on hand - IOW, make a plan that does not require you to spend any money at the grocery. (If this is impossible, at least try to use recipes that call for only one or two things from the store. If these items are on sale, more's the better! Add those things to your shopping list, and then DO.NOT.DEVIATE from the list when shopping. This is very important. A list does you no good if it's incomplete, or you don't adhere to it!)

If your cookery books fail you, there are thousands of recipes at www.allrecipes.com. (They even have an ingrediant search option, so that you can find recipes that call for the things you have on hand.)

Assignment#3 (March)
Take your inventory, (you did keep this, right, and you're just crossing off the things that you've used?) and the sale flyers from the newspaper (I use the ones from the paper at work, so that I don't have to buy the paper. The ones from the library would also work, but you would have to write down what's on sale where, since I doubt the librarians would be too chuffed if you circled things in the flyers and then took the whole thing with you!), and plan menues for the next 7 days, using what you have on hand, augmented with sale items.

Repeat this process for the second week. At the end of the second week, plan for a fortnight. Keep extending your meal plan until you are planning for a month at a time.

Extra Credit: Try to incorporate 3 of the "why in the world did I buy this?" items from your inventory into your meal plan for this month.

Assignment #4 (April)
Look through your grocery supply and choose 3 different convenience foods. (These can be anything from boxed pasta side dishes to store-bought cookies to cold breakfast cereal.)

Can you make a similar version of these items? Can you use something else instead of any of these items? (Buttered noodles with herbs, homebaked cookies, oatmeal porridge are all cheaper than their store bought counterparts.)

Assignment #5 (May & June)
Make a list of 20 items you buy regularly. These are the things that you replace on your inventory when you run out of them.

Get a notebook (a loose-leaf one would work best, because you can remove, insert and shuffle the pages, if necessary, but a spiral on will do, as well.)

Write one item at the top of each of 20 pages. Separate the page into sections for each store you frequent.

Use your past receipts, sale flyers, store websites, et cetera to find out how much each item costs at each store.

Assignment #6 (July)
Price book:

Basically, a price book helps you figure out the cheapest price for the things you buy the most often. It also helps you keep track of prices, so that when something goes on an unbeatable sale, you know that it's time to stock up.

So, if you've made your list of the 10 items you buy the most often, make 1 page for each item in a 3-ring binder. List all the places you shop, and the "normal" price for each item. (This takes a little legwork, but if you just take your binder with you when you shop, and write down the prices at each different store, you won't have to make a special trip.)

Once you have your price book established, you move into a whole new realm of grocery shopping. You use your grocery budget to replenish your stock when the items you most frequently buy hit their rock-bottom price.

You don't have to worry about recording the best price on everything. Vegans, for instance, won't care a whit about where to find the best price for steak. Only track the costs of what your family actually eats.

Any questions?

NEW ASSIGNMENTS

Assignment #7 (August)
Food for holiday meals : can break your budget, if you purchase it all at once, and don't plan ahead. The best way to avoid this is to plan your meals (months) in advance, and purchase the needed non perishable ingrediants a few at a time.

Write out your typical holiday menues. Divide them up into perishable and non perishable items.

(more to come!)

Visit www.evolutiontosimplicity.blogspot.com to follow my epic saga of single mummahood....

 

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#2 of 59 Old 01-03-2008, 05:05 PM
 
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I am so going to do this!

I have got to lower my grocery bill. It's ridiculous to spend soooo much money at the market every month when my cupboards are so full that there's no room to put anything! Not to mention that I'm buying pre-made things instead of making them myself.

Can't wait for the new assignments!
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#3 of 59 Old 01-03-2008, 08:48 PM
 
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I'll be back tomorrow to do the assignments. DH is taking me out to a movie tonight
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#4 of 59 Old 01-03-2008, 09:29 PM
 
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Ok... confused.... so all I need to do in January is the first one? Keep track of the food in the house?

Army wife to wonder hubby. Mama to 4 and Surrogate mother x2.: Zoey Born 5/7/2010
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#5 of 59 Old 01-03-2008, 09:31 PM
 
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Woohoo! I subbed and followed last year's thread without officially joining. :
But I did do the assignments.
I'll join this time. I recipes.
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#6 of 59 Old 01-03-2008, 09:36 PM
 
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Subbing.
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#7 of 59 Old 01-04-2008, 12:28 AM
 
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I didn't see last year's thread until recently so I'm totally excited to join and do the asignments this year - YAY!!!
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#8 of 59 Old 01-04-2008, 05:24 AM
 
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I'm in! Yay!

Me my DH 4.5 year old DS and who just arrived on the scene 6/10 Excited to be blogging! Decluttering in 2010: 2010 / 2010
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#9 of 59 Old 01-04-2008, 09:36 AM
 
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Just wanted to say that I know many people benefited from your info last year and I'm glad to see you taking the time to help people again this year. Kudos to you! :
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#10 of 59 Old 01-04-2008, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Kontessa View Post
Ok... confused.... so all I need to do in January is the first one? Keep track of the food in the house?
Yes. For January, make a thorough inventory of all the food in your house. (Use pencil for ease of updating.) When you use up something, erase it from your inventory. When you buy groceries, add them to your inventory.

The idea is to get in the habit of knowing what groceries you have in your house. No more random groceries malingering at the back of cupboards. No more wasting money buying something that you didn't realize you already had on hand.

Visit www.evolutiontosimplicity.blogspot.com to follow my epic saga of single mummahood....

 

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#11 of 59 Old 01-04-2008, 02:18 PM
 
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i'm new at this but i'm off to print out the inventory sheets!
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#12 of 59 Old 01-04-2008, 02:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wanted to say that I know many people benefited from your info last year and I'm glad to see you taking the time to help people again this year. Kudos to you! :
Thanks, but I really have an ulterior motive. If I'm posting regularly to this thread, it will make it easier for me to stay on track IRL.

Visit www.evolutiontosimplicity.blogspot.com to follow my epic saga of single mummahood....

 

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#13 of 59 Old 01-04-2008, 02:36 PM
 
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Yes. For January, make a thorough inventory of all the food in your house. (Use pencil for ease of updating.) When you use up something, erase it from your inventory. When you buy groceries, add them to your inventory.

The idea is to get in the habit of knowing what groceries you have in your house. No more random groceries malingering at the back of cupboards. No more wasting money buying something that you didn't realize you already had on hand.

I get now!

I was a little confused too
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#14 of 59 Old 01-04-2008, 02:51 PM
 
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I'm in! I've fallen into some bad habbits lately.

Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.)0(
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#15 of 59 Old 01-04-2008, 03:09 PM
 
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I've been doing (or trying to do) this on my own for a while. I used the sheets from Cindy's Porch as a jumping-off point, but my Kitchen Inventory is now in a spiral-bound notebook. It really has revolutionized the way that I manage our home. I'm struggling to keep it updated, though. Wondering if organizing it by product would work, rather than by location? For instance, right now I have sugar in my kitchen pantry, my secondary pantry, and in my coffee/tea cabinet. I have butter on the countertop, in my fridge and in my freezer. It's making me a little nuts trying to keep things updated as I use things up and replenish from the secondary pantry. Any thoughts?

hippie.gif+reading.gif= Peanut (2004), Pumpkin (2007) and Butter Bean!! (2011)

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#16 of 59 Old 01-04-2008, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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...Wondering if organizing it by product would work, rather than by location? For instance, right now I have sugar in my kitchen pantry, my secondary pantry, and in my coffee/tea cabinet....It's making me a little nuts trying to keep things updated as I use things up and replenish from the secondary pantry. Any thoughts?
For me, knowing where something is located is as helpful as knowing what I have on hand, so it works for me to have things listed by location.

OTOH, if it would be easier to keep track of your groceries if you listed them by product, then, by all means, do it that way. (I promise, the Frugal Meal Planning Police will not come to your door!) For instance, you could list "sugar" and then "kitchen pantry: 5 lbs; secondary pantry: 20 lbs; coffee/tea cabinet: 1/2 lb".

HTH

Visit www.evolutiontosimplicity.blogspot.com to follow my epic saga of single mummahood....

 

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#17 of 59 Old 01-04-2008, 03:38 PM
 
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OTOH, if it would be easier to keep track of your groceries if you listed them by product, then, by all means, do it that way. (I promise, the Frugal Meal Planning Police will not come to your door!) For instance, you could list "sugar" and then "kitchen pantry: 5 lbs; secondary pantry: 20 lbs; coffee/tea cabinet: 1/2 lb".

HTH
LOL You're right ... I know nobody's going to come haul me away or fine me because I didn't follow "the rules!" I guess I was just curious if anybody else who has stuff spread out all over their house had that same struggle. I've already been sort-of making notes like this. For instance, my kitchen pantry sugar entry has a note to the side reminding me that I also have 10 lbs. of sugar in the 2nd pantry. It simplifies making my shopping list.

BTW, I'd also like to thank you for your earlier thread. I don't think I ever posted on it, but I did the steps and it has made SUCH a difference for us. I started baking our own bread as a result, and throw away a LOT less produce/leftovers than before.

hippie.gif+reading.gif= Peanut (2004), Pumpkin (2007) and Butter Bean!! (2011)

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#18 of 59 Old 01-04-2008, 06:09 PM
 
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I just printed off the inventory lists and will get started on it tonight! I've got to do something to cut our grocery bills.

Erin, mom to Amelia Rose:, 6/15/06 and Lily Grace, 6/7/09; wife to Phil since 10/9/04
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#19 of 59 Old 01-04-2008, 06:53 PM
 
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I'm in too! And so excited!
I saw the thread and started reading and thought to myself...I know what I have in there; and my mental meal planning seems to work just fine. But thought I'd give it go; printed off the sheets and started writing down what I have...geesh! I have a lot of food in there! Makes me wonder how I think to myself that there is nothing to eat!
This will help me out on the no spend challenge I've given myself!
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#20 of 59 Old 01-06-2008, 07:54 PM
 
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I'm joining in!

I'm already doing the no spend and the pantry challenges this month, so this is one more way I can spend less and use up what we already have in our home!

Sarah ~ Kinda Crunchy Mom to 11yodd , 10yods, 10yods (MZ twins), 7yods , 5yods , 3yods
 
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#21 of 59 Old 01-06-2008, 08:10 PM
 
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I started on my list this morning.

For lunch I made a really yummy soup. I am not creative in the kitchen at all so this was really something to behold, lol.

I had a package of those tiny star noodles that you get in the mexican food section of your grocery store. I melted some butter and threw the noodles in to brown them a little. I then tossed then into a pot that had one can of tomato sauce, on can of diced tomatoes and leftover turkey (with some seasoning) All of the family loved it! Woohoo.


I really really wish that there was a web site that you could type in ingredients and it would come up with how to put them together. Like right now I am really Jones'en for something sweet. I have a bunch of stuff that could make a really great desert or sweet treat but I am clueless on how to put it together.
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#22 of 59 Old 01-06-2008, 09:20 PM
 
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This is a good website to type ingredients into.

http://astray.com/recipes/
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#23 of 59 Old 01-06-2008, 10:02 PM
 
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Ok, count me in! I need to be inspired and more organized :

Married to my wonderful DH; Mama to DS born 6-07 and 4 in heaven brokenheart.gif1-06 (7 weeks) brokenheart.gif1-10 (6 weeks) and our twins 5-11, brokenheart.gifone sweet boy (17 weeks) and brokenheart.gifone precious baby girl (18 1/2 weeks).

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#24 of 59 Old 01-07-2008, 04:38 AM
 
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I so want to do this!! We just moved and We have like NO food in the house, and will be doing some major shopping next weekend, lol. But, I will write it all down!!! lol.

Laura wife to Chris proud mommy to our lil monkey (c-section 6-10-06), our other lil monkey (HBAC 3-08-09) Our next and last son (due by HBAC mid July 2011) and our angel (10-03-04). My middle son has many severe food allergies.

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#25 of 59 Old 01-07-2008, 04:37 PM
 
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Wow, this looks great, but I'm a bit overwhelmed with the thought of inventorying the pantry :

Mama to three - DD : 1/03, DS 2/06, and DS 6/09.
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#26 of 59 Old 01-07-2008, 05:09 PM
 
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I get now!

I was a little confused too
Me too. Makes sense now.
Im in :

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#27 of 59 Old 01-09-2008, 11:32 PM
 
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#28 of 59 Old 01-09-2008, 11:51 PM
 
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Has any one taken inventory yet?
I have not. Maybe I will tonight.
I am curious to see what others have in thier pantry

Decluttering 500/2010
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#29 of 59 Old 01-09-2008, 11:52 PM
 
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Has any one taken inventory yet?
I have not. Maybe I will tonight.
I am curious to see what others have in thier pantry

Not yet

I just went grocery shopping too today. It probably would have been easier if I did it before.
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#30 of 59 Old 01-10-2008, 02:09 AM
 
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Not yet

I just went grocery shopping too today. It probably would have been easier if I did it before.
I inventoried my frig yesterday and then went shopping today...now I have to add a bunch more stuff!

Are we supposed to put things on there like leftovers since they'll only be on the list a couple days? (ideally )

Married to my wonderful DH; Mama to DS born 6-07 and 4 in heaven brokenheart.gif1-06 (7 weeks) brokenheart.gif1-10 (6 weeks) and our twins 5-11, brokenheart.gifone sweet boy (17 weeks) and brokenheart.gifone precious baby girl (18 1/2 weeks).

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