Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
The word "planning" becomes extremely important in tough economic times. Planning can help us save time, money and frustration. This is especially true as related to your food dollars.
Here are five tips to help you plan your food budget:
1. Figure out what your food budget is. How many dollars do you have to spend on food each week? Once you know this amount, be determined to NOT spend more than that amount. If you cannot feed yourself /family on this amount, find out what other outside resources are available that can help you to stretch your food dollars.
2. Make a menu plan for the week. This is time well spent. It will save you time later. Check your refrigerator, freezer and cupboards for supplies you have on hand before going to the grocery store. Clip and save coupons for items you use. Then, make a grocery list of supplies you need. Once you are at the grocery store, stick to your list. Impulse buying is expensive!
3. Consider quantity cooking. Preparing food in large quantities and then freezing portions of that food for later use can be a great time saver! Freeze portions in amounts that you will use for one meal. Use frozen meals within a reasonable amount of time for best quality.
4. Planning ahead can include using your crock pot. Many tasty dishes can be prepared ahead of time and ready for you to eat later in the day if you do a little planning. This convenient cooking method is easy to do and eases the frustration level of many a cook who is trying to feed a hungry family who has just walked through the front door. Be sure to follow the proper cooking methods when using your crock pot to ensure food safety.
5. Prepare healthy snack items when you do have the time so that you and your family can "grab and go" with those snacks when you do not have time. Prepare fresh fruit and vegetables in ready to go forms to make them readily available and easy to eat. Whole grain crackers, low-fat yogurt and other healthy items are good items to have handy. Taking snacks from home for road trips will save you money in the long run and is a much healthier alternative than eating high-fat foods from drive-through windows and convenience stores.