Here we are again, it's Friday and you know what that means; Deal Diva is prepping! LOL I thought I would use this post to show you how a couple hours of prep (not all at one time) can save you some money when it is time to shop. Everyone knows the basics; plan your meals before, make a list, use your coupons and shop in-store specials. And that is exactly how I do it, just not your reg. coupons or store sales. It also takes dedication. I am a stay home mom, whom home schools, this is MY JOB and I take just as seriously as I would any joy I have held in the past (maybe more so). For example, today I had to be in town early and used that as a chance to visit a couple different stores and search for reduced items to include in next weeks meal plan, which I am making today.
I work on my menus a few minutes everyday, basically whenever I get a idea for a meal, but I know that Thur. is my deadline. When I go to bed Thur. night I have to have my menu and shopping list done for the following week, so I can be ready to shop Fri. morning at the crack of dawn for those great deals : )
This is my menu book, a reduced notebook from the dollar store. I have my cup of tea, ink pen, highlighter and phone ~ I am ready to rumble! By the way, I love Perry the Platypus and the never flinch refers to menu plans in my case - LOL
Each week has it's own page, labeled with the date it encompasses at the top. I run a list of days of the week down the side, with the three meals of the day branching off from each day. I also include any outings, special plans or things to be done; on that given day and highlight it for easy reference at a glance latter. I have some room at the bottom of the page and label that Notes, and write down numbers, on-line orders to place, or blog notes : ) I also reference and highlight any food prep that needs to be made ahead of time.
The page in the book right behind the menu is labeled for the upcoming shopping day As I plan a meal, I turn the page and record the ingredients I need for that meal. This allows me to keep a running shopping list during the week of any item I may run out of. I also do this for paper, pet and any misc. item be purchased on that same shopping trip. That leads to another tip, plan all shopping trips to coincide with other outings, so as not to waste gas. Lastly: as you can see from the picture, keep all coupons together with your shopping list.
During the week I cross off menus or items I have already used. This helps me stay organized, as my old brain gets confused easily and I like to be able to see at a glance what still needs to be done, when and what my menu choices are. Just because I wrote down a food item for Monday, doesn't mean I ate it then. I might eat Tuesdays food Monday, Wed. food Tuesday, etc. You get the idea, the list is just to help you stay organized. The list is your friend - LOL Basically I now have a list of what I can make with what I have bought and can eat it whenever.
Once the menu is done (the hard part) I take a sheet of scrap paper (backside of junk mail) and organize that shopping list I have been keeping. I make different sections for different stores, since I don't get all my items at one store. I list the food for each store in the order I shop, as best as I can remember the aisle layout. I also list any coupon for each store I will use it at. Don't you just HATE when you get home and find out you didn't use your coupons? I do! Every little bit helps : )
That's it! Your done for another week! Stick that bad boy in your purse before you forget, and you are ready to be a Deal Diva in the morning! Now that you have a list, when you see a special at the store you can quickly see if it is needed for this shopping trip or if you start planning ahead you might find something for the next week that you can take home and freeze. Either way doesn't matter. This is just how this OCD SAHM does it and stays in budget (mostly) (sometimes) (well it helps some) - LOL
Blessings, Beth Ann