I missed last week, but I'm ba-ack . . .
Today's tip is . . . menu plan! Seriously, it's SO helpful!! I have a handy dandy planner that has a place for writing in my dinner menus (and the magnetic calendar on my fridge, I adapt to have room for all meals, though I rarely follow it to the letter for Breakfast, lunch or snacks, if I'm feeling uninspired I can always look there for ideas LOL), but it's not necessary, there are plenty of online printable menu forms if you want a form (I'm still trying to decide if I'll get another Mom Agenda for next year (mine runs July to July, so I have a few months to decide LOL) or make my own planner out of all the printables I've found online) or obviously you can just jot it down on your calendar or planner that you're currently using (or a slip of paper & stick it to the fridge, whatever system works for you).
But here's the thing. You take a few minutes each weekend to plan out your meals for the week and then you save money, time, your healthy & the earth!
Before you plan your menu, take a couple minutes to see what you have in the fridge, freezer & pantry, especially things that need to be used soon. Then check the grocery sale sheets for any great loss leaders that you can use in this week's menus.
Then plan your menus, make your grocery list. Now you won't have to run to the store multiple times for things you forgot. You can also, over time start to get a feel for things you use often & then you can stock up on basics when they're on sale.
Whatever format you use for menu planning, make sure you have your calendar nearby, that way you can notice that on Tuesday you won't be home from playgroup until late afternoon & plan something quick & easy that night (or a crockpot meal that you can throw in the morning before). I also plan leftovers sometimes. Most often, anytime I plan rice for supper, I make sure I make enough rice to make fried rice for lunch the next day, the girls LOVE it, and it's easier to make w/ cold rice anyway (& it's cheap, healthy & easy LOL).
When you have a plan, and all the ingredients on hand, it's easier to actually cook dinner instead of grabbing fast food on the way home from soccer practice or ordering a pizza.
Homemade meals are healthier (and the more "from scratch" you cook, the healthier it is), cheaper, and better for the earth (less trash, no driving to pick it up (or having the pizza guy drive to your house).