Unemployment is in the double digits in some areas of the country. Foreclosures are at an all time high. If you listen to enough news on television, you’ll end up depressed and glum with a negative attitude to rival Eeyore’s!
But the facts are the facts; the American Psychological Association reported that 80% of Americans feel stressed out by the economy, 60% are angry about it and another 52% are having trouble sleeping.
Those are alarming statistics, but what’s even more alarming is just sitting around doing nothing about it. One of the best ways to take on the economy is tackling your own economy by getting your budget in line and your finances handled.
In my opinion, the number one way to really get a grip on reducing your spending is via your grocery bill. You can only turn off the lights and hang your laundry out to dry to save a little. When you eat at home you save a TON.
How’s this done? The biggest way to save money is by planning your meals. I know it’s not a lot of fun, I know you think you can handle your local grocery store without a grocery list or meal plan. I know that. We are SHE’s and we always think we can just scoot by the seat of our pants and get it done. We go to the grocery store week after week without a weekly menu planned and no grocery list. Is it any wonder family budgets are so out of control?
Start TODAY. Get your menu planned for the week. You need to feed that family of yours breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks 7 days a week. So sketch it out on your computer. Write down everything. What does your family like for breakfast, lunch and dinner? What about snacks?
Remember too, you’re the gatekeeper of your family’s nutrition, so make sure you’ve got plenty of good stuff that will keep your family healthy. Food is fuel and not just entertainment for the mouth.
Here are 5 big things to help you stay on track both nutritionally and budget-wise.
- Cook breakfast. Yes I know you’re trying to all get out the door, but homemade pancakes and waffles are cheaper and better than the store bought frozen variety. Make extra on the weekends when you have the time and freeze your own. You’ll save a bunch of money.
- Stop buying the single serving packages of oatmeal, chips, applesauce, etc. Yes they’re convenient, but you have to pay for that and the extra packaging is hard on the environment. When you buy chips, dole them out into snack sized bags and hide the stash so when you need them for lunch boxes, they’re waiting for you.
- Use your crockpot for tougher cuts of meat and cheaper pieces of chicken. You can make a multitude of different dishes with shredded beef from barbecue beef sandwiches to taco meat. The chicken will work in a variety of ways too—chicken salad, chicken for Mexican dishes, chicken sandwiches.
- Speaking of crockpots, cook your own beans. Buy them dried, soak them and cook them in your crockpot. The directions are right on the package. Freeze leftovers for another time.
- And speaking of beans, extend your meat or chicken by adding beans to it. The bonus is the extra fiber and nutrition and your meat will go a lot further.
It’s a tough job being the family nutritionist, food manager and chef. The importance of planning your meals wisely cannot be stressed enough, you’re growing a family!
I so totally agree! I live on disability, so have to watch every penny. One of the main ways that I do this is by making a monthly menu plan and buying groceries once a month. This is easier for me than for some people because I am only feeding/buying for one person. I have had to change my cooking habits to buy in bulk when I can, and had to learn to cook from scratch. But I have never eaten so good in my life. I don’t even want fast food, and don’t miss restaurants. When I was growing up, eating at a restaurants was a special occasion. I am back to thinking of it in that way, instead of thinking of it as a normal part of my month.