Tuesday, September 28, 2010

For you, Tara --- part 4

I seriously laughed out loud when I read the next question in line from Tara's comment the other day. I would stop & take a picture of my bedroom to show you just how bad it is, but I don't want to blow my image completely. ha ha! You see, Tara's next question was

" How you keep organized."

Hang on a second while I bust a gut like this lady.

Ok, seriously, I think it's so sweet that Tara thinks I'm organized. I will admit that I AM organized in some areas of my life. Unfortunately, that organization doesn't stretch into all the areas of my life that I'd like it to! I tend to be more anal-retentive/OCD/control freakish about those areas of my life, so hang on tight. If you follow any of these tips, you may be given those titles by your family too! Probably my biggest area of organization is in the meal planning/grocery shopping area, so I'll tell ya how I do that! (If you know of another freakishly organized area of my life & want to know how I do that, let me know & I'll explain!)

I get some sort of weird pleasure out of sitting down with my meal planner sheets (you can print it out from this site: http://www.homelifeweekly.com/cooking/weekly-menu-planner/) and my calendar to plan out the coming week's schedule & meals. If there is a night when I know that we'll all be going in different directions, I am more apt to plan something simple like sandwiches & chips & fruit or hot dogs. (quick things that can be thrown together or heated up in a hurry) If I know that we have somewhere to go, but it won't be til later in the night, I will plan for a bit more complicated meal, but not a typical one that will take 30 min to an hour to cook. Ordinarily, however, if we will all be home, I cook a 'regular' meal. I write out our meals for the week on the menu planner form & then pull out my paper to make the grocery list. I ONLY buy the ingredients needed for those meals. I do occasionally have to go back & buy milk or bread or fruit mid-week, but aside from that sort of thing, I buy it all at one time on the weekend. It took me years to master this skill, but I'm telling you, it's so worth the hour's time it'll take to sit down & write out a menu and list. You'll save lots of time & money in the long run!

And here's where I really bare my soul. I'm totally anal about my grocery list. Don't laugh. This is what it looks like.

I divide it up by the store's layout so that I'm in & out of the store quickly.

I try to make meals from items we already have in the freezer or pantry to minimize the cost. Some weeks that is easier than others! I like to stock up on meats & canned foods when I can for this reason, so watch those mark-down meats & grocery sale ads! (But be careful -- don't buy it just because it's a bargain! Only buy what you KNOW your family will eat.) I rarely use coupons because it's very easy to clip a coupon for something I DON'T NEED just for the sake of trying a new product or getting to use the coupon. Don't do it, folks! You're just wasting money!

Also, just because I have a menu plan doesn't mean that I stick to it like glue. Just because I planned to have spaghetti on Monday doesn't mean that we will eat it that night. If there is a change in our schedule or we're just not in the mood for that meal on that night, we'll have another one from the planner. I just mark them off as we go each night.


Tara and Ryan said...

LOVED THIS!!! Thanks Liz!!
I honestly have learned lots from you:)
And I will be using many of your "little secrets"
so watch out...I may turn out ok after all!

Kristi said...

Love it, love it, love it! I think I will have to give this a try. IF I go to the store with a list it is just items we are out of (TP, shampoo, etc) but that is rare. It sounds so easy, I know I spend more than I need to when I roam the isles and think, "oh, I don't think I have that in the pantry" or "that looks good." I do clip coupons, but only items that we use, because I have ended up with stuff in the trash because we never liked it or used it. Thanks for the blog!

Darcy said...

I do the same thing...planning out our meals. If it's a night that Steven has to be somewhere early in the evening, then it's something quick, etc.

But I menu plan and grocery shop for 2 weeks at a time. And of course have a trip in there sometimes for milk and bread. As I plan my menu, I check the cupboards for what I have on hand for that menu, etc. And only write on the list what is needed.

I write out my grocery list in the way the store is laid out and how I shop. LOL.

I've done it this way the past few years and the few times I've tried to go to the store without a complete menu (no less than 12 meals planned) I feel absolutely lost. And spend a lot more money than need be.