Meal Planning

As some of you know I have written about trying to get my financial S*** together and work hard at paying down my student loans while getting some savings and funding for when things do start to fall apart.  (Things do inevitably ALWAYS fall apart.)

One of the areas that my spending is always erratic and feeling wasteful is in the grocery area.  For a little while I decided that I would start couponing.  Nothing crazy or excessive, but it just seemed wasteful to throw away money people were trying to give you.  It didn’t last long.  I researched online and it all just seemed so messy and complicated.  If we had more space for storage, (I share a small townhouse with 3 mid-20 to early 30s guys,) and we could stock up on non-perishables it might make sense.  

I have been researching other ways to save and it looks like meal planning is the way to go.  I think it will help me to get better with a few different problem areas.

1.  Fewer trips to the store.  There is no doubt in my mind that with every trip to the grocery store theres always a few unexpected and likely unnecessary items that end up in the cart.  Fewer trips to the store should cut down on these items.  

2.  Along with lack of planning and impulse buys comes waste.  I see the asparagus is on sale and buy it, but forget that I have a head of broccoli in the back of the fridge that is rapidly reaching its natural expiration.  If I have a plan for food for the week it should take into account items we already have and build off of them.  This means one less item and one less item wasted.

3. Fewer meals out.  If we haven’t taken something out to thaw or made a specific plan on whats for dinner, more often than not that night ends up being take out.  After working for a minimum of 11 hours and then fighting traffic to come home, the last thing I want to do is have to think of what to cook and then make it.  However, if I have a plan and have been thinking about dinner I am mentally prepares and know that someone else is relying on it as well.

4. Lastly, I hope that planning out our meals will improve what we eat.  We will no longer resign ourselves to the box of hamburger helper sitting in the pantry.  (Note: theres nothing wrong with hamburger helper, sometimes I kinda crave it.)  We won’t just throw together a bunch of random stuff either.  Meals and leftovers will be planned.

Well, we will see how this goes, I had planned on starting this week, but I am working late every night but the one we are going out.  😦 So this weekend it is!  



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