Monday, February 1, 2010

Georgia’s Kitchen How-To-Do-It (Couponing, Meal Planning, Grocery Shopping Tips)

“Georgia’s Kitchen How-To-Do-It  (Couponing, Meal Planning, Grocery Shopping Tips)"
47 Years And Counting....
So.. I decided to copy a chapter from my book, 

Potty Training To Puberty---THE PITS (with hugs along the way) 
  My book not only shares many stories of my mothering journey, inspirational stories of God's blessings on our life and just plain humorous stories of my life..  but being the mother of 7 and now grandmother of 22 (almost 23) and a pastor's wife that plans and cooks for church functions.   I HAD to learn how to cut corners financially.   Here's my story.  Hope it helps.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.   I also have a grocery list and two monthly meal planner calendars that I share with MOPS groups when I speak with them.  I would be glad to attach them and send them for you to copy and use.
By the way, all the recipes listed on my monthly meal planner can be found in my book.   Over 120 in total.  Interested in purchasing it??  Let me know.  It is still available on Amazon

and Barnes and Noble online, but I can give it to you for a lot less.  Thanks!!!
HAVE FUN ON THIS GREAT ADVENTURE.  ha.  ha. By the way FYI,  I used to be called "The Coupon Queen".  :)

        Well, now it’s time  to get into the real "nitty gritty" of making the shopping list,
using coupons, and shopping. 
        As I said, I have been doing this for many, many years,  and there's an old saying,
"Necessity is the Mother of invention."   With seven  children,  and especially going
through Bible School with three,  four, and then five children,  we were on an  
"extremely" low budget.  The  Lord  was working many miracles Himself  providing for
this crew.  I knew that something else had to happen.  I know many people that do this,
but countless others that don't.  Many  just don't know HOW to do it.  That’s  why I've
decided to share  my shopping list and a monthly meal planner (originally created by
hubby, Tom)  for  those of you who just need a little help. 
               Every Monday morning  there is usually a plastic bag full of local grocery ads
that mysteriously shows up on my front lawn. That's where my  weekly adventure
begins. Depending on how you or your husband get paid will determine how often you
begin this adventure. I do it weekly (which really is much easier). 
    I find myself at the dining room table for the next day or two,   in between
cleaning, cooking,  managing my website, teaching  Ukrainian Egg classes and filling
orders from the internet (at Easter time), trying to prepare for my weekly class at
church, plus  being there for anyone who needs Mom or Grandma,  planning and
scrutinizing every necessary move to make those dollars stretch.  Now,  compared to 15
or 20 years ago  with seven children  at home and less money,  I must say that the  
money stretches a little better these days.  Nonetheless, I still feel that the Lord has
given us this money and we should try to be wise stewards in spending.  Hence, I use
COUPONS and compare prices. 
    There are coupons EVERYWHERE. You can find them mostly  in the Sunday
paper.  I don't get the Sunday paper,  but friends and family  usually share them and
sometimes I give back to them what I received from others.  Our local library had a box
with coupons that people brought in and shared. 
    Magazines and mailings come with coupons usually monthly and the internet is
full of them. I have downloaded coupons onto my computer and when I'm online once
a week,  I check what coupons are available and collect them and print them off and
take them to the store.  There's also coupons at the grocery store.  Some stores have
coupons right on your sales receipt  and they will give you an additional receipt that
comes out with coupons printed on them.  I have included some of  the links on the right sidebar on my blog.

    First of all, I make copies of my grocery shopping list.  My husband was the first to create this using items that I most generally
use.  You can do it yourself, too.  This is what I'll send you if you request it.
    I then have my calendar available as well as coupons, a calculator and all the ads
for the store or stores where  I will be shopping.  Then the adventure starts.  Who can
give me the best deal? And what dinners will there be for THIS week? 
    I look through all the ads making a point to remember which buys or specials
are best for the week at each particular store. I check my calendar to see what the
week has planned. There's always a big Sunday dinner for anywhere between 14 to 20
people (after church), and Wednesday night prayer meeting,  so that has to be a quick
meal.  Are there any other special things going on that will help me decide on whether I
can spend more time planning or make something quick and easy and frozen? You
know what I meant    There are just days that we have more time.    If you work outside
the home and use the crock pot or set the timer on the stove, you can plan accordingly.
    Saturdays are usually another quick and easy meal for us because we're busy and
on the run (like most families) and just don't have time for cooking.  Maybe this can be
a  family "out to eat" night. Those are great too (when the budget allows for it). 
    If chicken seems to be a good buy for the week, then I make one or more meals
with chicken including chicken soup, chicken divan, baked or roasted chicken, or
grilled chicken, chicken quesadillas, chicken enchiladas, chicken savory bake or
chicken casserole. 
    Sometimes hamburger (ground chuck/ round) is at a really a good price  and  the
majority of meals can be centered around that.  Some examples:  grilled hamburgers,
spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna,  hamburger helper, meatloaf, tacos, Johnny Marzetti,
or goulash, salisbury steaks, sloppy joes, or chili. 
    There are  always the ‘fill-ins’ for meals that aren't are expensive or time
consuming  to prepare,  for instance: hot dogs, Polish sausage, gyros, steak hoagies,
breaded chicken chunks, fillets, or patties, corn dogs, frozen fried chicken, frozen pizza,
or even those newer meals  that have EVERYTHING in it  and all you have to do is
heat it. They are great. 
    Then there are the meals that sometimes cost a little more and take a little more
 time to prepare  which include:  turkey and dressing, roast beef, pork roast, steak, beef
stew, beef and noodles, or homemade pizza from scratch. 

    So once I build my "skeleton,"  (which means my main meals for the week),
I work on the side dishes for each  meal (potatoes, noodles, vegetables, etc).   There’s
also the breakfast foods consisting of  cereals, eggs, pancake or waffle mixes,  juices,
etc.  Then, there are the  lunches.  I sometimes pack one lunch a day for my son, Dan,  
and pack a lunch for Dad  (Tom) to take to church with him.  
I buy the salty snacks
(pretzels, potato chips, cheese puffs, flavored tortilla chips, snack mixes, and whatever
else, plus  the snack cakes, cookies, peanut butter or cheese crackers, cheese sticks, fruit
snacks, drink boxes and anything else I put into a packed lunch. I still try to make it as
nutritional as possible too  (which includes a piece of fruit). Also,  the store deli has
plenty of things for lunch or sandwiches made at home during the week or weekend like
bologna, ham, turkey, salami,  and all sorts of cheeses. 
    I check out the best produce prices available and buy at least three to four
different fruits for the week:  bananas, oranges, apples, tangerines, grapefruit.  
Depending on the season of the year, there are  plums, grapes, nectarines, peaches and  
so much more.
The veggies are in abundance always.    I wish you could all come to
my favorite place to shop---Jungle Jims .  It definitely is an adventure all wrapped up
into one. This man started many years ago as a corner vegetable stand and has
eventually developed quite a place to shop.  There are international foods and all the
jungle sounds with a pond full of animated elephants, giraffes, and monkeys all around.   
Link also to the right.
    I can always find any vegetable I want or need: carrots, celery, assorted peppers,
lettuce, the bagged salad assortments that I love,  cucumbers, garlic, zucchini, corn on
the cob, green onions, bagged onions, potatoes, and much more.
    Then,  there's the dairy department.    Oh well, ice cream does come from dairy,
doesn't it?    Anyway,  there's the milk, margarine, chip dips, sour cream, cream cheese,
coffee creamer, eggs, and on and on.  You get the idea, right? 
    So you continue to fill in the blanks of what you need and what's available and
put it on the shopping list with the price beside it. 
    The other things you need are household items like paper goods, laundry and
cleaning essentials, dish detergent, dishwasher detergent, and the bathroom needs like
toothpaste, soaps, shampoos, conditioners. Don't forget any health needs like feminine
products, pain relievers, and even vitamins, bandages, and antiseptics. 
    Now that you've covered every area,  go over your list making sure the prices (or
approximate prices) are written down. Then recheck your menu on the calendar to make
sure all the day's main meals are covered.  NOW, it's time to add everything up. 
    How close will you come to your budget for the week (or two)?   This is when
you make any changes necessary.   Subtract things are really not necessary or lower the
price to get a smaller amount.  This is where you fit it to your needs or add what you've
forgotten.  We had a simple philosophy, “YOU DON'T BUY WHAT YOU DON'T NEED.”
    NOW,  comes the moment of truth. You stick to your budget and you're ready to
conquer the grocery store.  Here you  come!   Ready or not! 
    I hope this has helped you somewhat, along with the other pages, to become a
little more organized in your meal planning, budgeting, couponing, and shopping.
Have fun on your shopping adventure.. and save ---save---save...

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