I have identified several things that need to change in our lives in the next year, and many are tied to the cost of living…here is my first brainstorm:
1. Bring my lunch to work: I lose at least $30 to $40 per week on lunches. If I can regularly bring meals to lunch, especially left-overs, I will save between $120 and $160 per month just on me alone! That’s about $1,900 per year!
Ways I can do this are to work on my bento goal, to eat more fresh produce, and to cook enough from dinner to provide lunch for the next day. I also need to prep the night before so lunch is all ready to go in the morning.
2. Cook all meals at home: this is a huge one. I need to get my family eating healthier, and stop eating out!! I would estimate we eat out as a family at least 2-3 x per week, and sometimes more. If you figure the cost of going to McDonalds for 3, that is about $17×3 per week and that adds up. That means I am spending $200 per month likely at places like McDonalds, and $2,400 per year!!! Imagine if we cut that down???
Things I need to do to make this happen:
Freezer cooking: for the nights when I am wiped out, stuff prepared ahead of time will be very important
Meal planning: I’m tired of the “what should we have for dinner” routine, which usually ends in a trip to McDonalds. Meal planning is something I need to work VERY hard on!
Shopping local: by focusing on quality not quantity food, shopping organic and at the farmer’s market will help aid in keeping us away from McDonalds, and make mealtime more flavorful and enjoyable! I like to get a produce box from the local organic delivery or local farms to make sure I am forced to eat lots of the good stuff….stuff I would not otherwise buy
Crockpot cooking: by making use of my crockpot and preparing the night before, being a full-time working mom becomes a little easier
Dinner pre-prep: By browning ground beef ahead of time the night before, slicing onions, grating cheese, etc. and making sure I have an ample list of ingredients gathered together, last minute digging for the sage will not sap my energy when I am already exhausted
Trying 43 Recipes: as one of my goals suggest, it will help me become faster in the kitchen and give my family more variety in meals
Smart shopping: Right now hubby does a lot of the grocery shopping, and THAT IS A PROBLEM! He does well with comparison shopping, and will proudly save $ on some items, but coming home with bags full of candy, cookies, potato chips and Doritos, and beer is not healthy! I must regain some control, in order to make my menu plan work. I tried sending a list with him of things for my menus, but he would continuously leave out key ingredients (“Cream of Tartar? You don’t need that! Besides, it wasn’t on sale!”) that has contributed to repeated failure in my life as a blossoming “chef.”
Freezing of in-season produce: Things that go on sale and in season can be frozen for when they aren’t….like grapes (for salads), berries, peaches, zucchini, squash, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, cauliflower, just to name a few
Canning: making my own jams and jellies might save some $$ and be tasty too!
Pantry planning and rotation: discovering what I use most of can help me keep the pantry stocked AND moving as I try all my recipes!!
Making my own snacks and bake my own goodies: By baking once a week, I can make my own bread, and make my own muffins, cookies and other items that might prevent hubby from bringing it all home with him. Discovering new “snacks” and keeping them stocked in a visual area might encourage healthier eating (sliced veggies and dip in the fridge, chex mix, nuts, or pumpkin seeds to snack on, fresh fruits, etc.)
Grow my own food: I will be attempting to grow some of my own produce over the coming year to help supplement grocery shopping of fresh goods 4 years ago