Five Ways to Save...
When You are Busy
by Stephanie Nelson
1. Make a commitment. Don’t have time to prepare for every meal? Neither do I. If you are like me, you need to pull meals together in a hurry. I’m committed to feeding my family healthy meals at home and I use strategic meal planning that helps me stretch our food budget while making sure we carve out precious family time around the table.
2. Plan. Effort on the front end takes stress out of searching for healthy, inexpensive options when it’s time to eat. Each week, scan the front page of the grocery circulars to see which main dish ingredient is selling for 50% off. Chicken? Pork? Determine the deal of the week then start building meal plans for that week.
3. Freeze. If you have room, freeze some of the weekly bargains for future use. Over time, you can build up a variety of items. At my house, we may not eat the same thing night after night but you can be certain that we dine on main-dish ingredients that I’ve purchased at a discount of 50% or more.
4. Cook once, serve twice. Once you’ve come up with a meal plan, double recipes. If you double a batch one night, you are able to essentially give yourself a night off down the line. I marinate two packages of chicken and my husband grills them all at the same time. I’ll serve half that night and the rest on the 2nd and 3rd night with different side dishes. I take the same approach with soups, casseroles, and many side dishes.
5. Look forward to leftovers. Two extra pieces of chicken can go a long way for a family of four. Add marinara and pasta and you have dinner on a leftover night. Slice up and mix with veggies and cheese for entrée salads or sandwich wraps. Prefer chicken fried rice or chicken soup? Repurposed menu items won’t even seem like leftovers.
Stephanie Nelson is the Coupon Mom. Her web site, www.CouponMom.com, has 6 million members, and she is established as the nation’s top expert in couponing across the country. Stephanie has been on every major national television talk show and taught millions how to save money for the past 11 years. She has been called ‘”the rock star of the recession” by the Washington Post and her book, The Coupon Mom’s Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half, is a New York Times best seller.