Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Importance of Shopping Lists & Meal Planning

For as long as I can remember my mother always got out her pen and paper, sat at the kitchen table, and spent about an hour planning her bi-weekly “grocery list”. Now most people call it a grocery list, but I have personally dubbed it a “shopping list”. Especially since I am often buying more than just groceries for our household. It really doesn’t matter, but that’s my own little personal thing.
Now whether you get weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly income a Shopping List is always a good idea. Depending on your pay schedule it could take a short amount of time to plan or a long amount of time to plan, but the time spent planning is definitely worth it.
Many times we go to the store and there are so many great deals, and things on sale that we can’t resist we just stray off our main path. I mean it’s hard to resist a sale of any kind especially the more tempting things like junk food. And with the many of you that have kids a lot of times when we go to the store and have our children especially ones with young kids, kids tend to get rowdy and there’s the, what I like to call, “I want factor”. “I want this” “These are on sale lets get this” “Can we get this?” etc.
Things can get pretty hectic and it’s easy to get side-tracked. Then when we get home we have spent a fortune on basically a few meals and a bunch of junk.
The easiest way to make a grocery list is to sit down with a pen and paper and make a meal plan. This includes breakfasts, lunches and dinner.
Example:
SUNDAY
Breakfast
Egss, Bacon, Toast, Orange Juice
Lunch
Tuna Melts, Tossed Salad
Dinner
Grilled Chicken, Corn on the cob, Homemade Mashed Potatoes
Dinner dessert: Chocolate Chip Cookies
Then do the same for the rest of the week. It really does make things much easier, and it makes it easier to stay in a budget as well. It’s also easy to take a calculator to the store and quickly punch in the prices of everything gathered. Making a meal plan makes making a shopping list easier, and it makes it simple to stay in a budget. It also cuts out unnecessary buying.
I like to take an afternoon and go grocery shopping, or a morning when things aren’t hectic and go to the store. I grab everything on my list calculating everything as I go. I take a mental note of any items on sale, or special snacks I know my children would enjoy, and once I have crossed everything off the shopping list I take a quick stroll back through the store and pick up anything extra that may fit in the budget or that I want to splurge on or whatever. Sometimes if I want to indulge in something I will add it to the back of the list and if I have enough left in the budget I know that it’s an option. But it really does make things easier and while it’s a con to sit and fill out the list and make a meal plan and somewhat time consuming when we are already so busy the pro is it is a huge money saver, and actually saves more time in the long run because everything is already planned out. J Meal planning and shopping lists are a great budget keeper, and it makes things so much easier. Even if you decide to switch the meals up just plan a Day #1, Day #2, etc.

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