It seems each of us has prepared for the world’s pandemic in different ways. There are many items that average consumers are having difficulty buying, such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer. With the thought that the pandemic may cause a complete quarantine or lockdown of our world, it’s important to know what you should have stockpiled at home. In fact, taking action can actually soothe your fears.
Schools have already shut down and many areas are on restrictions for social gatherings or even dining out. This is simply how our life is right now. It’s been said that if any area is about to go on complete lockdown you’ll have 1-2 day notice so that you can be fully ready. That’s why I wanted to share some tips, as it sounds like you’ll have 1-2 days to get that stockpile prepared.
Tips for Stockpiling
Take look in your cupboards, fridge and freezers to see what you already have on hand. You may actually be surprised at what you already have! It may not be exciting, delicious food, but it will keep you fed! To help you out, I have a Freezer Inventory printable here and a Pantry Inventory printable here.
Stock up your family’s Essentials
The first step is to make sure you have the essentials. By this, I mean to stock up on what your family regularly eats. Families have been advised to stockpile at least two weeks’ worth of food. I highly suggest you get food that can be frozen or has a long shelf life to keep the food healthy longer. Prioritize those items you really can’t live without like baby formula or foods for special diets. When this all blows over, you don’t want to find you have spent a fortune stocking up or be stuck with food you don’t like. Focus on buying a few extras of what you normally consume. Make a list to keep yourself on track at the grocery store or when you’re placing a grocery order.
Make a Meal Plan
Sit down in the near future and make a list of meals you can create with your essentials. Make sure you account for drinks, breakfasts, lunches, dinners and of course, snacks. With a meal plan in place, your food won’t go to waste and you’ll spend less money.
Planning a menu is simple. First, print off two copies of this weekly menu planner. This resource will allow you to plan breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. Next, start writing in meals that you know you like, based on foods that you already have and what can last awhile. If you need some meal ideas, here are our family’s favourites.
Focus on pantry meals
By this, I mean meals you can create using canned goods like beans, tomatoes and even canned tuna or chicken. Rice and pasta are excellent for pantry meals. Items like cheese and milk can even be frozen. Basically, focus on items with a long shelf life. Some fresh produce like apples, carrots, oranges, and celery have a longer shelf life compared with other counterparts like fresh berries.
These are just a few tips for stockpiling that will ensure you’re prepared to keep your family happy, healthy and fed for an extended amount of time. I’ve seen a lot of people out there panic buying and will have too much stuff after the fact or perhaps are going too deep into the financial hole due to panic. The key is to make sure that you’re able to financially afford your stockpile and be smart about what you spend money on for your stockpile.
I think this will be a fun week in the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series! It’s all about food! Specifically, we’re going to plan our holiday menus. You’ll want to think about:
- Christmas dinner
- Christmas brunch
- Christmas eve
- Boxing day
And well, any meal surrounding Christmas day. My planning is quite simple. My parents cook our Christmas brunch and dinner so all I have to do is bring the cheesecake and some baking!
For inspiration, I highly recommend taking a look through Pinterest.
While you’re planning out your dishes, be sure to start adding items to a grocery list. You don’t want to forget anything!
To help you out, you’ll want to check out the Christmas dinner planner and grocery list that are available in the Holiday Planner, here.
Also be sure to print off the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas checklists to make sure you’re on track for the final week’s until Christmas day!
What will be on your holiday menu? Leave it in the comments! Any food traditions you have to uphold? How do you keep on budget?
Sign up for the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas newsletter to receive a FREE Christmas Dinner Checklist! This checklist is quite detailed and will help you remember all the details needed for a memory filled dinner with family and friends. You’ll also receive a weekly email with each week’s “task”.
Here are the posts in the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series so far:
Summer is almost here! Can you feel the heat and the excitement?
This season is all about outings, get-togethers, swimming, and vacations! There are more opportunities to spend more time with your family and friends. Catch up, enjoy, and explore new locations!
Of course, any summer activity would not be complete without food!
If you want healthy and home cooked meals, you don’t need to spend a lot of time (Who has extra time in the summer anyway?) The secret is all about meal prepping. You can create different meals for different times of the day without the hassle and without overspending on take out.
If you want to create a meal plan this summer for your family, here are 10 quick and easy meal prep ideas that will help.
Create A Plan
Decide on the different kinds of food that you want to prepare ahead of time. Take note of all the recipes you want to prepare and cook for the whole week. Then write down all the ingredients you need on your shopping list.
Cook multiple recipes at the same time. You can roast summer vegetables while baking chicken. This will allow you to get things done faster.
Don’t Over Prep
Don’t prepare meals for five days or more at one time. Some foods, such as fresh summer produce, may not last for more than three days in the fridge and you might end up with a lot of spoiled, wasted food.
Use Your Grill
Summer is often too hot to turn on the oven because it heats up the house. Instead, prepare meats and vegetables to cook outdoors on the grill, after all summer is time to grill! Schedule some barbecue nights and grill fresh summer vegetables. They not only taste great, you can relax on a warm summer evening with your family while grilling outside.
Be sure to cook up plenty of meats so you have leftovers for other nights!
Prepare Raw Food
Vegetables like zucchini and cucumber can not only be paired with different fruits and veggies, it can make you feel cooler, especially during the hot summer months.
Spiral some zucchini and cucumber then blend them with basil pesto for a vegan pasta recipe. You can also schedule some no-cook options like canned corn, beans, and green salads to spice up your weekly schedule.
Utilize Your Slow Cooker
You might think that your slow cooker is only for winter, but this multipurpose appliance is also ideal for summer cooking!
You don’t need to heat up your whole house while waiting for your lunch or dinner to be cooked. Start making large batches of shredded meat or beans then freeze them in smaller portions. You can also cook potatoes, corn, and carrots in your slow cooker.
The Instant Pot is also ideal for summer cooking!
Glass Over Plastic
Plastics can be cheaper but using glass containers are better. Here are just a few of the many reasons why you should choose glass over plastic containers:
- The contents are easier to see.
- You can microwave them.
- The taste of the food will not be altered, even if you leave them in the container for several days.
- Glass doesn’t release any chemicals when exposed to heat, thus making it safer for your family’s health.
Make extra servings of your meals for dinner then eat the leftovers for breakfast or lunch. My husband loves taking leftovers to work!
Reusing leftovers makes it easier to plan your meals because you don’t need to think about the food you’ll eat for lunch every day. It also eliminates wasted food and cleaning out the fridge.
Buy The Best Bread You Can Get Your Hands On
Did you know that all the outdoor activities of summer can cause you to feel more hungry and more often?
Opt to get whole grain breads, especially if you’ll be having sandwiches for any of your meals.
Look for a bread that is made with 100 percent whole grain. Bread with lots of texture makes you feel like you are eating an actual meal, which can make you feel fuller, faster, rather than just eating a sandwich.
Cook Once A Day
Prepare all your food in one go then store them in your glass containers so you can just heat them up once your mealtime comes.
Check your schedule then look for a block time when you can cook and prep your meals on a daily basis.
Stop spending a lot of time thinking and prepping your meals for the whole week. With enough preparation, you can feed yourself and your family with healthy and delicious meals without spending much time or money.
What are your summer meal prep tips? Let us know in the comments below!
One thing that will bring a family together are home cooked meals at the kitchen table. There is nothing better than gathering around yummy food, while conversing about life, with your family members. Unfortunately, feeding your family does not come cheap. Here are some great tips to help you feed your family on $50 this week, whether you are tight on cash, or just simply looking to be a little more frugal.
How to Feed Your Family on $50 This Week
Take inventory of what is already in your fridge, freezer, and pantry. I make a list using the inventory sheet from the Grocery Conqueror Kit, so that I have it as I sit down to make my shopping list and menu plan. No need to buy tomato sauce if you already have some in the pantry!
Use Store Rewards
I like to collect PC Optimum points because the points turn into cash that I can put towards my grocery bill. I just recently redeemed $30 so that was a nice chunk of change of of that grocery bill! There are many other store reward programs out there that may be worth trying out if it means savings for you!
Use Grocery Rebate Sites
I like Checkout 51 and Caddle because I can just upload my receipt and go. I have 7 days from the time I shop to upload, and I can combine rebates from all 4 sites from 1 receipt to maximize savings!
Shop the Right Places
Being able to feed your family for less, means that you need to be willing to shop at different stores. If you are used to shopping at higher end grocery stores that generally charge more than say, Walmart or No Frills, consider stepping outside of your box, and head into a less costly store. Set aside your reasons and any ill feelings that you may have about those stores. You certainly will not regret it after leaving the store with a little extra change in your pocket!
Meal Plan Around Flyer Sales
Meal planning is a great way to make sure you know exactly what your family will be eating every day. Knowing which meals you will be enjoying also means that you know all of the ingredients needed, and this will allow you to better stick to your budget of $50. Just make sure that as you plan your meals, that you are scoping out the flyer sales and planning
your meals around what is on sale and what you already have at home.
Use Cheap Fillers
When you have a tight food budget to stick to, you will find that rice and beans will become some of your favorite ingredients. Rice and beans generally do not have much flavor, so they can be added to almost any meal, even if it is just as a side that you season with salt and pepper. However, the other great thing about rice and beans is that they are cheap fillers in things like tacos, soup and chili! This means that you will feel fuller after eating them. Dry beans will be your best value, so don’t be afraid to use them!
Make a list of cheap meals
I’m in the thought camp that most meals can be frugal meals if you purchase the ingredients on sale. for example, meat. Don’t buy chicken breasts if the chicken thighs are on sale. Also, take a look at the 20 meal rotation I have been doing as our meal plan lately. I’d consider most meals on the list cheap and frugal!
Stick to the same things for Breakfast and Lunch
In our house, I have a rotation going of oatmeal, pancakes, French toast, scrambled eggs and cereal all served with fruit for breakfasts. Sounds time consuming, but it’s really not because once in a while we have breakfast for dinner (pancakes/French toast) and I freeze the leftovers. We can then pop them into the toaster for a super quick, filling breakfast! Same sort of idea for lunches. Sandwiches, grilled cheese, soup, leftovers… Dinner is where most of the variety comes from!
Eat Those Leftovers!
Who wants leftovers? Most people generally are not fond of reheated meals the following day. However, eating leftovers is a great way to help you stick to your weekly food budget. If your family cannot handle the same meal twice in one week consider turning your leftovers into a new meal by turning it into a soup or stew, or adding new flavors or vegetables to it. Taco Tuesday can become taco salad (or taco soup) Wednesday. I especially love to freeze leftovers like spaghetti sauce. Makes for a super easy meal on a rushed night.
Feeding your family on $50 this week really comes down to being creative as much as it does frugal. People do what they have to do to survive and you, my friend, can totally make this work for your family. What tips do you have to add?
What if there was just one thing standing between you, a lower grocery bill and a healthier life?
I know it seems hard to believe but hear me out…
Healthy meals don’t just happen. (Wouldn’t that be nice!) You have to decide what you’re eating, make your list, buy the ingredients, and then prepare everything. And the domino that starts it all is knowing what you’re going to eat.
In other words, the path to a lower grocery bill and health begins with a plan.
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Planning a menu each week can be such an annoyance. Some weeks, it would take me hours to come up with enough meals for the week because I’d always try to add variety with new meals. I would scour cookbooks and Pinterest for new recipes and get distracted trying to decide if something sounded good or not. Or whether or not the rest of the family would eat it… So, one thing that has helped us to cut our grocery budget was to create a short, go-to recipe list! I mean, we eat the same basic things for breakfast each day, why not apply the principle to dinner too?
Narrowing our meal ideas to only 20 options has made meal planning a breeze and has saved us so much money. It also reduces food waste, because I know I am making food that we all enjoy. These meals are a mix of quick & easy meals, recipes that are great for leftovers, and some a wee bit more complicated because they’re just so tasty.
So, if you want to finally stop wasting money on groceries, I’d encourage you to grab some inspiration from our go-to recipe list. Here’s what we’re eating, aside from leftover nights and super simple meals (like tomato soup & grilled cheese):
- Tacos – I find that one package of ground beef is enough for two meals for our family. I’ll often make it stretch further with a can of baked beans.
- French Toast – We often like breakfast meals for dinner. I especially love to make a big batch of French toast because I can freeze the leftovers for quick breakfasts.
- Instant Pot Beef Stew – This is so good! Since the recipe doesn’t call for potatoes, I like to serve it over mashed potatoes.
- Spaghetti – Lately I’ve been browning ground beef, adding it to the slow cooker with a jar of pasta sauce, a bit of water and a sprinkle of beef bouillon powder.
- Hamburger Soup – This freezes well and is enjoyed every time I make it.
- Slow Cooker BBQ Sauce Pork Chops – Place pork chops over sliced onions in a slow cooker, then pour your favourite BBQ sauce over top. Cook on low for about 4 – 6 hours. Serve with rice or potatoes and steamed veggies.
- Sausage and Potato Bake – Cut up potato, carrots, sweet potato, peppers, and farmer’s sausage and place in a big 9×13 baking dish. Drizzle olive oil and a dose of oregano, salt & pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes.
- Roasted chicken – It no secret that a roasted whole chicken can stretch for many meals. I’ll often buy rotisserie chicken for a super fast dinner with veggies and potatoes.
- Balsamic beef roast – This is another meal that stretches far or is great for feeding a crowd.
- Quiche– a satisfying meal
- Instant Pot Honey Sesame chicken – Delicious served with rice and veggies!
- Creamy chicken soup – This is another delicious soup that freezes well!
- Chicken pesto stuffed shells – My husband’s favourite meal that actually isn’t that hard to make! Great freezer meal too.
- Ramen Vegetable stirfry – I buy the healthy ramen noodles from Costco. A great way to use up vegetables that are needing to be used up.
- Meatballs– These are so versatile and the recipe make a ton so you’ll have plenty for the freezer.
- Chicken in basil sauce – One of our “fancy” dinners that we enjoy.
- Fettuccine Alfredo – An indulgence we don’t mind occasionally since we need to fatten up the kids. 😉
- White Chicken Chili – A good twist on classic chili that again, freezes well.
- Chicken & Asparagus Pasta Bake – So easy to put together. Also works well with green beans.
- Slow Cooker Barbacoa – Leftovers are so good over salad, in tacos, burritos, quesadillas and more!
There you have it! The 20 family dinner recipes that have managed to cut our grocery bill!
Does your family have a go-to recipe list? What are your favourite meals?