I just wanted to insert a little blurb here about the Necessity Of Forethought when it comes to maintaining a frugal grocery lifestyle.
One of the main reasons I plan my menu with my calendar in front of me is because of the Necessity Of Forethought. Take this weekend for example. My husband is away from home on Sunday from about 7:30AM until about 9:00PM. He will need food. He will need both a packed lunch and a packed supper. He prefers not to take food that needs to be reheated, so leftovers are out. And, it has to be food that will keep all day. This means sandwiches and things like granola bars. So, I have to make sure I have bread on hand, and that I have snacky things like granola bars. This means that I have to bake. BUT, I am away from home all day on Saturday!!! This means that I need to bake before Saturday!
If I didn’t have my calendar in front of me when I planned my menu, I would have been caught off guard and stuck without anything appropriate to pack in my husband’s lunch. The result would have been a trip to the store or he would have had to get food from a restaurant. This would have cut significantly into my food budget of under $300/month! Thus, the Necessity of Forethought. It makes all the difference.
So, not only does it save money, it also saves time and stress. Take beans as another example. In order to keep the budget down, I use only dried beans. This requires a great deal more time than canned beans. It is absolutely essential that I am prepared before a meal requires beans! Once again, the Necessity of Forethought!
When I plan my menu, I use my calendar to help me determine WHAT we’ll need to eat, but also WHEN we’ll need to eat it, and also WHEN I will have time to PREPARE it. In the case of dried beans, if I know I’m making chili on Friday because I’m gone all day and want to have it in the slow cooker, then I need to cook the dried beans BEFORE Friday. So I look at my calendar. If we’ve got appointments on Thursday and I’m running errands, that might not be the best day to do the beans! So, I’ll mark ON MY CALENDAR/To Do List on WEDNESDAY that I have to cook dried beans.
The Necessity of Forethought! It pays off. Really.
*Note: My example of dried beans really isn’t the best one. If you’ve seen my tip on How to Cook Dried Beans, you’ll notice that this is actually something that can be done literally while you are sleeping! But I hope I got the point across anyway.