Monday, January 7, 2013
Once A Month Shopping- Creating A Kitchen Binder
Welcome to my new series on getting organized, saving money and time by planning your grocery trips once a month. Each post of this series will take you by the hand through the process of organizing your recipes, planning out your menus, making a shopping list, and how to fill out a calendar JUST for meals and meal prep. Soon you will be saving so much time and so much money by shopping this way.
It takes a bit of prep work, but it’s work you only have to do once! Once you have these few simple steps done, you can add to it anytime and continue to grow your Kitchen Binder! I call it a Kitchen Binder because it can have so much more than just recipes in it. Cleaning tips, websites that you like, a place to keep your receipts to track your savings and to calculate your cost per meal and so, so much more. Our Kitchen Binders are going to be a safe place to keep anything related to our kitchen, food and cooking/baking. For example, mine keeps a list of what long-term food storage I have so it’s easier for me to shop out of my pantry when I need to.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Today, we are going to focus on our recipes. The easiest way to get started shopping once a month is to make a list of meals that your family likes. If you have a family like mine that doesn’t mind eating the same thing twice in one month, you can write down 14 meals but if your family doesn’t like repeats you have the task of getting 31 meals down on paper. On another sheet (or the back) write out breakfast meals. Most people tend to eat the same thing for breakfast, so this may be as easy as just writing down “cereal” and a note that you want to eat it all month. Do the same for lunches, but be sure if your family eats leftovers that you make a category for that as well.
Once you have your meals written down, get out your recipe (or index) cards! You are going to write your recipe and instructions on it. These are going to go into your recipe page protectors (if you opted for them) or into an envelope tucked into the front of your binder. This is going to make creating your grocery list SO much easier! You won’t forget an item to make a dish if you have the ingredients on a card in front of you while you make your list out. On my card somewhere I like to make a note if there are ways I can change the recipe (Use ground turkey or chicken, leave out olives, make a double batch-freezes well, etc.). Do this for all of your recipes, and even make a card for single items like “cereal” and be sure to include milk as an ingredient with it!
This is going to be your homework for the next couple of days. In the next series post, I’ll show you how to put this all down on a calendar in a way that keeps you totally organized and ready to go. After that we will explore how to make a grocery list for it all, how to deal with the fresh fruit and veggies issue when you are stocking up for a month and what you can and cannot freeze. I encourage you to ask questions along the way and I’ll be so glad to answer them. Remember, get your recipes written down and on Thursday we’ll take another bite out of the sometimes daunting task of meal planning and shopping.
Let me know how it goes and if you have any questions