meal planning http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8588/all en-US 16 Simple Kitchen Skills Every Frugal Person Should Master http://www.wisebread.com/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_cooking_000088771691.jpg" alt="Frugal woman mastering simple kitchen skills " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Would you rather eat out than cook? You aren't alone. In fact, owing greatly to the availability of fast food, frozen food, and convenience food, fewer people are preparing meals at home regularly. Another factor is the decline of home economics classes at the high school level, where many basics were taught to both sexes. All of that eating out takes a toll, though, on your budget and your health. Learning to cook can also be relaxing and enjoyable. Ready to give it a try? Here are 16 simple kitchen skills that every frugal person should, and easily can, learn.</p> <h2>1. Make Coffee</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0FRDQM19WfE" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>How much are you spending each week at Starbucks? Ouch, right? Why not <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-starbucks-drinks-you-can-easily-make-yourself" target="_blank">be your own barista</a>? If you own a <a href="http://amzn.to/1VRcFm0">French press</a> (I paid less than $20 for mine), you can make your coffee concoctions right at home. I love a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FRDQM19WfE">good latte</a>. Some people are intimidated by the frothy milk, but there is no need to be. It's just aerating the milk, and you don't need fancy equipment. Your &quot;froth&quot; goal is to just double its volume. That can be done in the French press, too, or by using a whisk. Add your favorite <a href="http://amzn.to/1VRd08s">Torani syrup</a>, if desired, and you're set.</p> <h2>2. Roast a Chicken</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MOtuBSOcVCs" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>One of the pleasures of being a home cook is the aroma of a roasting chicken on a Sunday afternoon &mdash; especially one that contains fresh lemon and herbs. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOtuBSOcVCs">Roast chicken</a> ensures you'll have delicious leftovers for several days (or you can freeze the leftovers). You don't even need a fancy roasting pan; a large, shallow <a href="http://amzn.to/1qG9zWF">casserole dish</a> will work.</p> <h2>3. Boil an Egg</h2> <p>Every time Easter rolls around, I am surprised by the number of articles online, or in the newspapers, explaining how to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtt43zDzXSY">hard-boil eggs</a>. Egg hunts aside, hard-boiled eggs are a very handy thing to have around for a quick high-protein snack, an egg-salad sandwich, deviled eggs, etc.</p> <h2>4. Cook Rice</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-TaeYSiIbbw" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>I'm one of the few people I know who doesn't own a rice cooker. No need! It's really easy to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TaeYSiIbbw">make perfect rice</a> on your stovetop, and so long as you use your timer, it's pretty darn foolproof. I always make a big batch, because I think it's nice to have leftovers in the refrigerator for fried rice, a cold rice salad, or to toss into a tortilla with beans and cheese.</p> <h2>5. Cut Up an Avocado</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3HnqTz-0MvI" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Avocados are so enormously popular right now (watch for Sharwil avocados, now being imported from the Big Island of Hawaii). Full of healthy fat and vitamins, B6, E and C, we just can't get enough of them. How do you <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HnqTz-0MvI">cut up avocados</a> without making a mess? If you're a beginner, the chef in this video has an excellent safety tip for cutting out the pit, using a towel.</p> <h2>6. Know Which Knife to Use for Which Job</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pKgGlpe45T0" width="420" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Ever use a paring knife to cut meat? How about a serrated edge for cheese? Doesn't work very well, does it? Choosing <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKgGlpe45T0&amp;nohtml5=False">the right knife</a> for the right kitchen job, as well as knowing how to use that knife, will not only keep you safe, but is also more efficient.</p> <h2>7. Use Sharp Knives</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/SBn1i9YqN1k" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Most kitchen accidents occur from use of a dull knife. This is due to the fact that a dull knife requires more pressure to do the job, increasing the odds of slipping and cutting yourself. Is <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBn1i9YqN1k">sharpening knives</a> something that you can do, yourself? Sure! As you become more comfortable with cooking, you'll learn to appreciate working with sharp knives.</p> <h2>8. Bake a Potato</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/XeDsOAW7JC4" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>I prefer a potato <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeDsOAW7JC4">baked in the oven</a>, but you can also do them in the microwave. However, they won't have that nice, crispy potato skin. Few foods are as economical as potatoes, and you can easily make a meal out of one. Try adding chili, sour cream, and onions, or how about steamed broccoli and cheese? Key point: Don't forget to prick the potato with a fork to allow steam to escape.</p> <h2>9. Use Separate Cutting Boards</h2> <p>To minimize risk of cross-contamination, and making yourself sick, use different <a href="http://amzn.to/1SLhCYz">cutting boards</a> for meats and vegetables. Wash thoroughly after use. If a board starts getting grooves in it from your knives, replace it.</p> <h2>10. Brown Meat</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MRRDRk23gRA" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Why do you need to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRRDRk23gRA">brown meat</a>? Browning meat, or chicken, adds color and flavor, as well as gives it a better texture. If your recipe calls for browned meat, don't skip that step. It's mildly messy, and you need to be careful you don't burn yourself. However, the results make this step well worth the effort.</p> <h2>11. Peel/Chop Garlic</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rdAbdY7fUcY" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>As you begin to do more cooking, you will want to learn how to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdAbdY7fUcY">peel and chop up garlic</a>. This isn't difficult, and it will give your food so much flavor! One bulb of garlic will go a long way. Store in a cool, dark place (but not in your refrigerator). If you prefer, you can put it in a little jar, and cover with olive oil.</p> <h2>12. Grow Herbs</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RfJSIlL0PZI" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Even if you have no outdoor space, you can still <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfJSIlL0PZI&amp;nohtml5=False">grow herbs</a> inside. Herbs greatly enhance your food &mdash; think of dill in potatoes, tarragon with chicken, or sage in stuffing. You can make a quick pesto if you have fresh basil around, or liven up a tomato sauce with some fresh oregano.</p> <h2>13. Make an Omelet</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OQyRuOEKfVk" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Not only inexpensive to make, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQyRuOEKfVk">homemade omelets</a> are really versatile. Think ham, cheese, and tomatoes at breakfast; herbs and a little shaved parmesan at lunch, or a &quot;filled&quot; omelet for dinner. They take a little practice, but even when they don't come out looking omelet-y, they're still delicious.</p> <h2>14. Make Chicken Broth</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/X6jOzA2MTfI" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>After making <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6jOzA2MTfI&amp;nohtml5=False">chicken broth</a>, I let it cool, and then pour into Ziploc quart bags, and freeze flat to stack (don't forget to label with the date). I use broth just about as fast as I can make it, using it in soups, sauces, or in place of water (try in rice). The bonus is the cooked chicken, which you can also use right away in meals, or freeze.</p> <h2>15. Frost a Cake</h2> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fQKCitgCRuQ" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>Not much of a baker, my cakes always had a humorous &quot;made this for you myself&quot; look. I finally sat and watched an amateur cake decorator <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQKCitgCRuQ&amp;nohtml5=False">frost a cake</a>, and what a difference that made. Getting rid of the crumbs was my favorite tip, followed by cutting the cake into the right shape.</p> <h2>16. Plan Your Menu</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EENpjugzBU8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>You'll save yourself a lot of time and money if you learn to plan menus. It doesn't need to be complicated &mdash; all you need is pencil and paper. Getting the hang of cooking once and eating twice is a real treat, particularly during a busy week. Learn to watch grocery ads for sales; plan around those and save more money.</p> <p>Lastly, if you have gone to the trouble of making your own meal, why not enjoy it in style? Here is how to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EENpjugzBU8">set the table</a>.</p> <p><em>What frugal kitchen skills do you find essential?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-and-easy-meals-that-make-even-better-leftovers">10 Cheap and Easy Meals That Make Even Better Leftovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-perfectly-respectable-uses-for-instant-mashed-potatoes">5 Perfectly Respectable Uses for Instant Mashed Potatoes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-gluten-free-living-flour-tortillas-that-taste-great">Frugal Gluten-Free Living: Flour Tortillas that Taste Great!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tasty-treats-to-make-with-mulberries">Tasty Treats to Make With Mulberries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cool-jobs-for-foodies">12 Cool Jobs for Foodies</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink basics Cooking culinary kitchen skills meal planning recipes Thu, 28 Apr 2016 10:30:04 +0000 Marla Walters 1696225 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Stop the Takeout Meal Cycle and Save http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_eating_pizza_000021985984.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to stop the takeout meal cycle and save" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you're trying to lean your budget or your waistline this year, eating too many meals out is a common offender. In fact, CNN recently reported that the average dinner at a non-chain restaurant comes in at a staggering&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/20/health/non-chain-restaurants-calories-fast-food/">1,200 calories</a>. While prices can range wildly depending on the eatery, the solution for better physical and financial health may be as simple as cooking more meals at home.</p> <p>My family decided to embark on a challenge and stop dining out last month. We survived and have a stack of cash to show for it. Yes! We estimate we saved around $75 (conservatively) each week by skipping takeout and getting better with our meal planning. About $50 of this money, probably more, came from shunning restaurants and $25 is what we shaved off each week's grocery bill, all while making enough food for hearty breakfasts, lunches, and dinners &mdash; seven days each week.</p> <p>Your results with this type of challenge will vary depending on how much you eat out, the cost of living in your area, and your creativity with using leftovers. Regardless, here are some tips that can help anyone to stop the takeout cycle today and save big. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/try-these-6-money-saving-challenges-now?ref=seealso">Try These 6 Money-Saving Challenges Now</a>)</p> <h2>Examine Your Habits</h2> <p>Get honest with yourself about your eating and restaurant habits. When we wrote it out, we realized we were grabbing takeout pizza on Friday night, scouting out brunch or lunch on Saturday or Sunday, and sneaking in at least another meal out every week. I say we were spending $50, but I'm sure the amount was closer to $75 at the rate we were going.</p> <p>Beyond that, we had a huge problem with food waste. I found myself tossing rotten fruits and veggies before our weekly grocery trip. We had expired cartons of yogurt nearly full and long-forgotten bags of whatever else going stale. The weirdest part? Our grocery bill was higher than ever. In better days, we tried to stick to around $80 to $100 for a family of three, but we were climbing at least $25 higher than that amount, all while feeling like we never had ideas for dinner. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fruits-and-veggies-that-stay-fresh-a-month-or-longer?ref=seealso">10 Fruits and Veggies That Stay Fresh a Month or Longer</a>)</p> <p>After facing the hard truth, it became crystal clear that we needed to put more effort into planning and preparing our meals to save money and create less waste.</p> <h2>Embrace the Plan</h2> <p>Meal planning has been the key to our success, and it hasn't taken much effort. Every week before shopping, I take stock of what we have in the fridge, freezer, and pantry. It sounds like a big job, but it probably takes five or 10 minutes. I figure out what meals we can make with those items first. Some of the ideas come from memory. Other times, I use sites like&nbsp;<a href="http://www.supercook.com/#/recipes">Supercook</a> to help with my creativity.</p> <p>Feeling intimidated? It helps to stick to basic breakfasts (oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, cereal, etc.), easy lunches (sandwiches, salads, and other things that can be made in bulk), and use tools like a slow cooker to make simmering satisfying dinners a breeze. We even do some&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-and-money-with-a-monthly-assembly-or-bulk-cooking-weekend">bulk cooking</a> to help when we're in a pinch. Example: I made a huge batch of freezer veggie burgers that we can grab on busy nights.</p> <h2>Shop Smart</h2> <p>After I account for all the leftover foods, I look up recipes or write down old favorites for the other nights in the week. What results is an awesomely organized grocery list. At the store, we only buy what we need, nothing additional. That's how food waste is made! And I'll tell you what, there's nothing more satisfying than ending the week with a near-empty fridge.</p> <p>We also found when we changed what day of the week we shop, we felt less compelled to grab takeout. For us, this meant heading to the store on Friday nights so our cabinets were packed with lots of exciting foods for the weekend. We had been shopping on Mondays, and with little in our reserves &mdash; that's when we'd venture out to takeout town. Now, making our meals and enjoying food together has even become one of our favorite sources of frugal entertainment.</p> <h2>Start Small</h2> <p>Does cooking absolutely everything at home sound too overwhelming? I admit, I have a high tolerance for being in the kitchen. If you don't &mdash; start small. You can get great results by replacing just one of your meals out each week. Maybe you can start by packing a lunch instead of buying out. Replacing your morning coffee and muffin habit with a homemade variety. Look for any and all opportunities and add on from there.</p> <p>If I had to choose just one, I would have started with our pizza takeout night. Making pizza at home doesn't take much skill. A plain pie at the place down the street costs around $14. To make dough ($1 for flour, yeast, and water) and top with sauce ($0.99 a jar) and cheese ($2.99 for a two-cup bag)? Well, that's more like $5 if you stick to the basics. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-make-restaurant-quality-pizza-at-home?ref=seealso">This Is How You Make Restaurant-Quality Pizza at Home</a>)</p> <h2>Resist Temptation</h2> <p>There were some tricky moments we encountered along the way. For example, our friends came down to visit and asked us if we wanted to buzz out to get some dinner with them randomly one afternoon. I felt paralyzed and slightly embarrassed, but I told them the truth: We'd love to get together, I shared, but we have some big budget goals this year, and eating out doesn't fit into the puzzle right now. Plus, we had already started cooking dinner.</p> <p>Guess what? It was no biggie. They came over to our place, we hung out for several hours, and they even told us our Crock-Pot dinner smelled amazing. For us, temptation usually comes when we're lazy about planning or when we get social pressure. We know this now. Your own triggers might be different. Be aware of them. Be honest about your goals. And get cooking.</p> <p><em>Did you break your takeout cyclc? What worked for you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-shopping-list-strategy-from-5-meal-plan-will-save-you-big">This Simple Shopping List Strategy From $5 Meal Plan Will Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-you-can-cut-grocery-expenses-today">13 Ways You Can Cut Grocery Expenses Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping eating out Fast Food food waste groceries meal planning restaurants Takeout Mon, 29 Feb 2016 11:00:11 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1659930 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Cheap and Easy Meals That Make Even Better Leftovers http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-and-easy-meals-that-make-even-better-leftovers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-cheap-and-easy-meals-that-make-even-better-leftovers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000068458311_Large.jpg" alt="a cheap and easy meal that will make even better leftovers" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's true, some things just get better with age. This is true even with some foods &mdash; just a <em>little</em> age, mind you. Some flavors improve when they've had time to meld, mellow out, or become more concentrated. Here are 10 dishes that not only get tastier, but can serve double-duty as an additional meal the next day.</p> <h2>1. Chili</h2> <p>My favorite recipe contains garlic, oregano, onions, Tabasco, green peppers, and jalapenos. On day one, it's a fairly spicy concoction, but upon reheating, it has been delightfully tamed. Chili also holds up well in the freezer and defrosts pretty quickly. Serve it up again for lunch or dinner with some grated cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips.</p> <h2>2. Meatloaf</h2> <p>Always great with a pile of mashed potatoes and some dilled carrots, meatloaf is so much better the next day in a sandwich with mayo, cheddar cheese, and dill pickles. If you can score some rye bread for that hot mess, all the better.</p> <h2>3. Pizza</h2> <p>If you buy a frozen pizza, or go the take-and-bake route, pizza and salad is a darned inexpensive meal. I never get anything except the large size because it can serve double duty: dinner <em>and</em> breakfast. My husband's trick is to heat a leftover slice in a little olive oil on the stove, so that the bottom re-crisps. Then, he makes an over-easy egg (firm, but still slightly runny). The egg goes on the top of the pizza. The flavors in Italian food are more pronounced, it seems, when reheated. I'm not sure he cares about that. He's a dude happily eating <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-actually-enjoy-leftover-pizza">pizza for breakfast</a> instead of granola.</p> <h2>4. Mushroom Burgers</h2> <p>These <a href="http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/mushroom-burgers">mushroom burgers</a> are one of my favorite vegetarian recipes. Not only are they inexpensive to make, but I actually prefer them to a meat hamburger. Don't skip the dried thyme, which imparts great flavor. I also add a little dried sage. This combo will remind you of Thanksgiving.</p> <p>Even though these days it's usually just my husband and I for dinner, I always make four patties. Why? Breakfast! Go Hawaiian-style with them and re-heat the &quot;burger.&quot; Plop it over some brown rice, and add an egg on top. As the Hawaiians say, &quot;So<em> ono</em>!&quot;</p> <h2>5. Lasagna</h2> <p>If you are going to make a lasagna (or <em>lasagne</em>, whichever way you prefer to spell it), well, go for it and make a big 9x13 pan of it. Why? Lasagna always always gets better after spending the night in the refrigerator. Mine are usually a little sloppy coming out of the oven, even when I let them rest. However, on day two or three, something magical happens and it firms up. The flavors are also more prominent. This can be a second or third dinner, or you can cut into smaller squares for lunches. Lasagna is also a good candidate for the freezer.</p> <h2>6. Stew</h2> <p>Stew meat is really cheap, and there is a reason for that &mdash; it comes from a tough cut (usually chuck or bottom round). Save even more money by just buying a package of meat and cutting it up yourself, rather than buying packages of precut &quot;stew meat.&quot; Don't worry about toughness, though. The act of cooking it slowly breaks the fibers down and tenderizes it. If you pair your meat with some pearl onions, garlic, red wine, and bacon, you'll be happy for days to come. It also freezes well.</p> <h2>7. The Sunday Roast, on Monday</h2> <p>Cooking a roast is a big effort, but the leftovers are great, and you will have enough for sandwiches, and maybe even another dinner. But wait! There is a breakfast bonus. Chop it up, add cooked potatoes, sauteed peppers, and onions, and bake into hash. Voila! Add a fried egg on top for a little extra treat.</p> <h2>8. Chicken Soup</h2> <p>For a variety of reasons, chicken soup is just better down the road. My mother's theory was that bay leaves gave soup extra flavor. She also was a fan of bouquet garni. I think the chicken fat and salt helps, too. I freeze mine in double gallon Ziplocks &mdash; you don't want to chance leakage &mdash; and don't forget to label. When you get a cold, remembering you have homemade chicken soup in the freezer will make you instantly feel better.</p> <h2>9. Thrice-Baked Potatoes</h2> <p>Not too many foods are as inexpensive as potatoes &mdash; or as versatile. Baked potatoes are fine, but twice-baked (containing cheese, green onion, maybe some broccoli or spinach) are terrific. And they are even better at breakfast, and especially on cold days. Bake a whole potato, stuff each half, and enjoy half with dinner and half another time. I tote my &quot;second half&quot; to the office, where I can microwave it.</p> <h2>10. Curry</h2> <p>Curry is often so spicy that I want a glass of milk to drink with it. So hot, but so good! Let it spend the night in the refrigerator, though, and it will mellow out. But it won't become boring, as the flavors seem to concentrate. I like mine with chicken, carrots, and pumpkin. Usually served with lots of rice, there is always enough for a second meal. It's inexpensive comfort food.</p> <p><em>Did we miss any delicious leftover gems? Let us know in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-and-easy-meals-that-make-even-better-leftovers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master">16 Simple Kitchen Skills Every Frugal Person Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-salvage-a-burnt-meal">10 Ways to Salvage a Burnt Meal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-actually-enjoy-leftover-pizza">9 Ways to Actually Enjoy Leftover Pizza</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-meals-that-make-terrific-leftovers">11 Meals That Make Terrific Leftovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-gluten-free-living-flour-tortillas-that-taste-great">Frugal Gluten-Free Living: Flour Tortillas that Taste Great!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink cheap dinners Cooking easy meals leftovers meal planning recipes Tue, 23 Feb 2016 11:00:11 +0000 Marla Walters 1658639 at http://www.wisebread.com The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-easiest-food-budget-wins <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-9-easiest-food-budget-wins" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_couple_cooking_000065817113.jpg" alt="Couple finding easiest food budget wins" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What I spend on food makes up a large part of my monthly budget, so it's great if I can save a little when I can. The problem is, the most frugal methods of cutting down your food budget &mdash; meal planning, couponing, bulk buying, bulk cooking &mdash; are difficult to sustain given a busy lifestyle and, to be frank, lack of interest. Honestly, I'd much rather be binge-watching Netflix than couponing or meal-planning, and I don't have enough storage space to stockpile a lot of bulk items.</p> <p>I've found that it's much easier for me to trim the budget here and there by using a few tricks. I can go crazy spending on restaurant meals, but limiting the number of times we dine out has helped our food budget tremendously. Many of these tips center around preparing meals easily and cheaply, without spending money at a restaurant.</p> <h2>1. Have Go-To Meals in the Pantry</h2> <p>How often do you get home at 6 p.m., only to realize you have no idea what to make for dinner, and you have no groceries in the fridge? When caught unawares, it's often easier to eat out or order in, but unfortunately, unplanned restaurant meals can add up quickly. Prevent last-minute splurges by keeping your pantry stocked with quick, easy-to-prepare, non-perishable, and cheap ingredients. Make sure you have at least three or four pantry-friendly meals you can call on in a pinch. Supplement this with frozen vegetables and a few frozen entrees like ravioli, meatballs, or salmon burgers.</p> <p>For example:</p> <ul> <li>Canned tuna + frozen spinach + spaghetti = tuna pasta<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dried red split lentils + chicken broth + canned tomatoes = lentil soup<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Rice + canned beans + salsa = Mexican rice bowl (add a fried egg on top!)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Marinara sauce + frozen meatballs + frozen pineapple = Hawaiian meatballs<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dried ramen or soba + dried seaweed + frozen edamame = veggie noodle bowl</li> </ul> <h2>2. Make a Shopping List</h2> <p>Making a shopping list doesn't have to be intimidating &mdash; we're not talking about planning your meals for the whole week. It's more about preventing that moment when you get home from the grocery store only to realize you forgot the ingredient you went there for in the first place. Instead of shopping by the seat of your pants, make a list. In fact, make a list throughout the week, by writing down ingredients that you are running out of or know you'll need. Use the last egg? Put eggs on the list. Use the last can of salsa? Put salsa on the list. That way, you won't need to make a special trip to the store when you find yourself without important staples.</p> <h2>3. Reduce Food Waste</h2> <p>Most of us lose a lot of money through food waste. Something looks good at the store, and it sits forgotten in the bottom of the crisper drawer for the next two weeks. Here are a few easy ways to cut down on food waste:</p> <ul> <li>Look in the fridge before you go to the store. Take note of what you already have and what needs to be used up.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Make a shopping list!<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use up leftovers for lunch the next day.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Only buy as much as you need. That giant bulk-size bag of chips might be a good value, but not if the chips go stale before you can eat them.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Make sure you can see at a glance what you have in the fridge &mdash; this might mean organizing or cleaning out your fridge.</li> </ul> <h2>4. Pack Your Lunch</h2> <p>Spending the extra time to prepare a lunch the night before work (or the morning of) can seem like a chore, but there are a few ways to make packing a lunch easier:</p> <ul> <li>Keep groceries at work. My husband recently started doing this and has cut down on eating out from five meals a week to one or two. He keeps a bag of bagels or wraps at the office, and stores packages of deli meat, sliced cheese, baby carrots, and hummus in the office fridge. He's definitely saving money, and can use his lunch break to go for a run or a swim instead of standing in line to order food.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Plan to cook a little more at dinner the night before, so you'll have leftovers to bring to work the next day.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Portion out easy-to-grab containers of sliced vegetables, hummus, fruit, and other lunch components at the beginning of the week to make the lunch-packing process faster and easier.</li> </ul> <h2>5. Have a Snack Before Shopping</h2> <p>It can be dangerous to shop on an empty stomach &mdash; everything looks so appetizing. Stop yourself from giving in to the temptation by having a nutritious and filling snack before you go to the store. Plus, you'll need energy to wrangle all those great deals you'll be finding!</p> <h2>6. Stock Up on Staples</h2> <p>When you see non-perishable staples that you know you'll use on sale, be sure to stock up. If pasta is on sale for 79 cents a package, buy as much as you think you'll use before it expires. Same goes for canned beans, canned tomatoes, and pasta sauce. Sometimes meat goes on sale &mdash; you can freeze a bunch for use later (though don't buy more than you'll use in a couple months). The key to stocking up, however, is to only buy what you know you will use. Don't fall into the trap of hoarding food just because it's cheap. You'll only end up wasting more food and money.</p> <h2>7. Cook What's Seasonal and Cheap</h2> <p>Instead of buying groceries based on a recipe you want to try, look for recipes based around what's seasonal and inexpensive at the grocery store. This is especially easy if you have a smartphone. I often check to see what meats and vegetables are on sale, then quickly browse the Internet to see what dishes I can make with them and if I need to pick up any extra ingredients.</p> <h2>8. Buy Cheaper Cuts of Meat</h2> <p>Learn to cook the cheaper (and often tougher) cuts of meat. A pork shoulder roast is one of the cheapest meats that you can buy, and can make a pot of pulled pork (or my favorite, kalua pork) in the slow cooker that will last you three or four days. Instead of going for the more expensive chicken breasts, try cooking with inexpensive chicken thighs. And instead of roasting a tender rack of lamb ribs, barbecue a few crosscut lamb leg steaks. Optimize a rotisserie chicken by eating the drumsticks and thighs for one meal, and using the breasts for another dish (we frequently do chicken and dumplings), as well as making soup with the bones.</p> <h2>9. Eat Less Meat</h2> <p>Meat or fish is usually the most expensive part of the meals I cook at home. Try designating one day (or more) for a meatless meal. Instead substitute vegetarian dishes, like chickpea curry, pasta primavera, or vegetarian pizza. Eggs can be bought very inexpensively &mdash; try making a veggie and egg scramble for dinner, a quiche or frittata, or an egg and potato salad.</p> <p><em>How do you keep your food budget low? Do you have any favorite tips or tricks?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-the-takeout-meal-cycle-and-save">How to Stop the Takeout Meal Cycle and Save</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-you-can-cut-grocery-expenses-today">13 Ways You Can Cut Grocery Expenses Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-big-at-these-4-discount-supermarkets">Save Big at These 4 Discount Supermarkets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-off-season-foods-that-are-destroying-your-grocery-budget">5 Off-Season Foods That Are Destroying Your Grocery Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Food and Drink Shopping dinners food costs food waste groceries lunches meal planning seasonal Mon, 22 Feb 2016 11:00:12 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1659840 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: Do You Meal Plan? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-meal-plan <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-do-you-meal-plan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_cutting_veggies_000058499462.jpg" alt="Woman meal planning by cutting vegetables" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-meal-plan#comment-788283">Michelle</a>, Susan, and Kristin for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>Meal planning offers a lot to the frugal household. It provides a guide for your grocery shopping, it allows you to avoid wasting food, and it's a way to make sure you have healthy meals at home &mdash; or a suitable alternative when you need it.</p> <p><strong>Do you meal plan?</strong> What are your favorite go-to meals? What tips do you have for someone who is new to meal planning?</p> <p>Tell us whether you meal plan and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; here's how you can win!</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will be randomly selected to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</li> </ul> <h3>For Extra Entries:</h3> <ul> <li>You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:</li> </ul> <p><a id="rcwidget_d51nzasr" data-template="" data-theme="classic" data-raflid="79857dfa229" rel="nofollow" class="rcptr" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/79857dfa229/">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a> </p> <script src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script></p> <p>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, February 8th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. Winners will be announced after February 8th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us whether you meal plan and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-meal-plan">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-new-years-resolution">Ask the Readers: What Is Your New Year&#039;s Resolution?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-did-you-spend-your-first-paycheck">Ask the Readers: How Did You Spend Your First Paycheck?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master">16 Simple Kitchen Skills Every Frugal Person Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Giveaways Ask the Readers meal planning Tue, 02 Feb 2016 16:00:19 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1647151 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Pantry Tricks That Save You Big http://www.wisebread.com/9-pantry-tricks-that-save-you-big <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-pantry-tricks-that-save-you-big" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_groceries_000043134348.jpg" alt="Woman learning pantry tricks that will save her big" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all want to save wherever we can, and the pantry is a place where small steps can make a considerable difference. Learn how to cut back and cash in with these nine pantry tricks that will save you big.</p> <h2>1. Start Stacking</h2> <p>Raised or stacked storage (like bleachers in a gymnasium) will let you see more of your canned and jarred items simultaneously, so you instantly know what you have at your disposal. Often, these storage devices are expandable &mdash; like this&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001E2864K/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001E2864K&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=AI57KKQFTODP23T4">three-tier spice organizer</a> &mdash; to accommodate spaces of varying widths.</p> <h2>2. Buy in Bulk and Portion at Home</h2> <p>If you have a lot of mouths to feed, or you consume large quantities of a particular food item, you'll save money by buying in bulk. When you get home, you can divvy up the portions into your own containers without paying the extra &quot;convenience&quot; costs that are passed on to you for pre-packaged items. This practice also helps you reduce runs to the store to refill, which, in turn, saves you time and gas money.</p> <h2>3. Store Food in Clear Containers</h2> <p>By putting goods like cereal and pasta in airtight, see-through containers, you're helping yourself out two-fold. One, you'll be able to see right away what you need more of, and what you don't (therefore reducing your grocery bill). Two, the food will stay fresher longer than if left to sit in rolled-up bags in the original boxes.</p> <h2>4. Use the FIFO Method</h2> <p>Don't know what the FIFO method of storing is? Simple &mdash; first in, first out. In other words, you should be removing/consuming pantry items in the order you put them in, instead of eating newer items first. That way, you don't waste food by letting items expire.</p> <h2>5. Emphasize Healthy Staples</h2> <p>Instead of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-hardest-working-foods-in-your-pantry">filling your pantry</a> with a hodge-podge of things you'll &quot;probably&quot; eat, focus on things you know you'll eat &mdash; like healthy, all-meal ingredients that are part of your everyday diet.</p> <p>&quot;Keep healthy staples, such as oatmeal, brown rice/whole grains, and dry beans &mdash; stored in airtight BPA- free containers to ensure they last longer &mdash; as well as canned tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and low sodium bouillon or broth as recipe starters,&quot; advises registered dietitian Kristie LeBeau. &quot;You can cook large batches of beans, soups, grains, and oatmeal for a quick, low-cost, healthy meal.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Stock Up on Seasonally Packaged Items After the Holiday</h2> <p>If you're a snacker, you'll save a bundle if you scour the aisles after a big snacking holiday like Halloween, Christmas, or Easter. Most popular snack brands release goods in holiday packaging, which is drastically reduced &mdash; sometimes to the tune of 75% &mdash; just days after the holiday. These items have just as long a shelf life as the regular packaged items but at a fraction of the cost. Don't go overboard, of course, but a few bags of discounted chips, cookies, and crackers is never a bad idea.</p> <h2>7. Keep an Eye on What You're Eating &mdash; And What You're Not</h2> <p>One of my worst habits when I was younger was going to the supermarket blind. By that I mean I would shop for pantry items that I wasn't sure I had or not, because I didn't check before I left the house. I was buying these items over and over, when, in reality, I still had plenty at home. You may be doing the same thing. I suggest taking inventory of what you have before making your shopping trips to cut back on duplicate items.</p> <p>This is also a good time to take a look at what you're eating more and less of. Take that feedback and adjust your shopping habits accordingly. Stop buying what you're not eating.</p> <h2>8. Shop for Non-Perishables Less Frequently</h2> <p>I changed my diet to include primarily fresh, healthy foods so much, that I've whittled down my pantry from a large closet in the hall to just three cabinets in the kitchen. You've heard time and again that all that processed junk isn't good for you &mdash; and it isn't &mdash; so maybe now's a good time to clean the pantry. Keep the essentials, donate the excess, and start eating a little cleaner.</p> <h2>9. Plan Meals at the Beginning of the Week</h2> <p>If your pantry seems to be fattening instead of slimming, you need to use more of what you already have. An easy way to do that is to plan your meals. On Sunday, decide what you'll make for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the week, and try to integrate some of your pantry items into that menu. Not only will you save time by having a plan of attack when you're hungry (which helps ward off last-minute take-out meals), but you'll reduce your stockpile of overflowing pantry items without spending any extra money.</p> <p><em>Do you have more pantry tricks that have saved you big? I'd love to hear your tips. Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-pantry-tricks-that-save-you-big">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-the-most-of-a-tiny-kitchen">7 Ways to Make the Most of a Tiny Kitchen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-dinner-stress-pay-someone-to-plan-your-meals">Avoid Dinner Stress: Pay Someone to Plan Your Meals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-cheap-and-healthy-filler-foods">9 Cheap and Healthy Filler Foods</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-maximize-fridge-and-freezer-space">Here&#039;s How You Maximize Fridge and Freezer Space</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Home Organization cupboards food storage groceries meal planning pantry Wed, 09 Dec 2015 16:00:25 +0000 Mikey Rox 1618563 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: The Keys to Successful Meal Planning http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-the-keys-to-successful-meal-planning <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-the-keys-to-successful-meal-planning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_cooking_dinner_000050364290.jpg" alt="Couple learning keys to successful meal planning" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on how to stick with meal planning, tips for negotiating a better salary, and ways to save money at Trader Joe&rsquo;s.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.everybodylovesyourmoney.com/2015/10/19/4-keys-to-sticking-with-a-meal-plan.html">4 Keys to Sticking with a Meal Plan</a> &mdash; Meal planning is one of the best ways to save money and eat healthy, but it can be difficult to keep up if you're new to it. So keep things simple: prepare the meals that you like and use your crockpot for easy dinners. [Everybody Loves Your Money]</p> <p><a href="http://www.biblemoneymatters.com/tips-for-negotiating-a-better-salary-and-benefits/">Tips For Negotiating A Better Salary (And Benefits)</a> &mdash; It's important to be able to show the value you bring to the company. Note your accomplishments and give them concrete value, like time saved, money made, etc. [Bible Money Matters]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/How-Save-Money-Trader-Joe-35589009">9 Ways to Save Major Money at Trader Joe's</a> &mdash; Little-known fact: Trader Joe's accepts manufacturer coupons for name-brand items! [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2015/1020/Four-Ways-To-Avoid-Monthly-Bank-Fees">Four Ways To Avoid Monthly Bank Fees</a> &mdash; Most banks and credit unions will waive your fees if you satisfy certain requirements, like enrolling for direct deposit or maintaining a minimum balance. [The Monitor]</p> <p><a href="http://www.dumblittleman.com/2015/10/reaching-goal-heres-10-common-fears-may-derail.html">Reaching a Goal? Here&rsquo;s 10 Common Fears that May Derail You</a> &mdash; You may be afraid of changes that will throw you into new situations and experiences, but taking positive action can alleviate that fear. [Dumb Little Man]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://afewshortcuts.com/2015/10/10-things-to-do-with-over-ripe-bananas/">10 Things to Do With Over Ripe Bananas</a> &mdash; Don't waste your over-ripe bananas! Use them in delcious and healthy Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies, or blend them up for a yummy smoothie or milkshake. [A Few Short Cuts]</p> <p><a href="http://untemplater.com/business/career-business/6-unconventional-careers-with-good-pay-and-no-cubes/">6 Unconventional Careers With Good Pay And No Cubes</a> &mdash; If you're good at bringing order to chaos, consider becoming a professional organizer! [Untemplater]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/10-halloween-candies-that-are-safe-for-trick-or-treaters">10 Halloween Candies That Are Safe for Trick-or-Treaters</a> &mdash; Many popular treats contain wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, milk, or eggs, but there are tasty options for kids who are allergic to these ingredients. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.marcandangel.com/2015/10/18/8-ways-to-be-emotionally-strong-in-your-relationships/">8 Ways to Be Emotionally Strong in Your Relationships</a> &mdash; You can tap into your emotional strength by creating something &mdash; anything! You gain more insight into your own abilities and passions. [Marc &amp; Angel Hack Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.cleverdude.com/content/how-to-build-a-budget-friendly-work-wardrobe/">How to Build a Budget Friendly Work Wardrobe</a> &mdash; Buy quality pieces &mdash; even better if you buy them on sale! Stores like TJ Maxx and Ross offer brand-name, quality clothes and accessories and much lower prices. [Clever Dude]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-the-keys-to-successful-meal-planning">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master">16 Simple Kitchen Skills Every Frugal Person Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-and-easy-meals-that-make-even-better-leftovers">10 Cheap and Easy Meals That Make Even Better Leftovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-pantry-tricks-that-save-you-big">9 Pantry Tricks That Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink best money tips meal planning Wed, 21 Oct 2015 19:15:36 +0000 Amy Lu 1597151 at http://www.wisebread.com This Simple Shopping List Strategy From $5 Meal Plan Will Save You Big http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-shopping-list-strategy-from-5-meal-plan-will-save-you-big <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-simple-shopping-list-strategy-from-5-meal-plan-will-save-you-big" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_groceries_000049544868.jpg" alt="Woman using shopping list with $5 meal plan to save big" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Erin Chase is the founder of </em><a href="http://5dollarmealplan.com/join-today-v2/?ap_id=wisebread"><em>$5 Meal Plan</em></a><em>, a weekly meal plan and shopping list service that will help you save time and money on your food bill this week.</em></p> <p>For many people, meal planning is one of <em>those</em> items on our weekly to-do list that sometimes gets done and sometimes (maybe most of the time) doesn't.</p> <p>But proper meal planning can make a huge difference in our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">grocery budget</a>. Not to mention, the peace of mind in knowing &quot;What's for dinner tonight?&quot; instead of stressing over missing ingredients or wandering the grocery store for inspiration.</p> <p>After years of experience, I've honed my routine to the basics. Here's how I set up a weekly meal plan that's going to lead to full and satisfied tummies, as well as shopping list for budget-friendly ingredients that won't drain my bank account.</p> <h2>1. Start With the Store Ads</h2> <p>Start by laying out the circulars for your local stores and going through them with a marker. Clearly mark all the ingredients that are on sale. Circle the items you purchase regularly, and make note of how many you should pick up if you are stocking up. You'll use these sale ingredients as the base of your meal plan.</p> <h2>2. Write Out Meal Ideas</h2> <p>Once you have your list of sale ingredients, begin to think about how you can use them in meals. What meals can you make with these ingredients and how can you stretch them?</p> <h2>3. Family Input</h2> <p>Ask family members about their favorite meals and keep a list in your meal plan binder or folder. Reference it as you are looking through the sale ingredients and writing out your meal plan.</p> <h2>4. Double Check the Pantry</h2> <p>Do a quick scan of your cabinets to make sure you don't miss adding an item onto your list, and to cross off any pantry staples that you already have on hand. Always compare the ingredients you need to the supplies you have on hand. This is particularly helpful if you have leftovers that you can work into the recipes. Save where you can and you will find that your waste will shrink to nothing.</p> <h2>5. Rearrange Your list</h2> <p>If you're Type A or hyper-organized like me, you'll want to write your list in the order that you'll go through the store. For me, it's produce, meats, snacks, cereals, pantry staples, dairy/eggs, and frozen. This will help you stay focused in the store and save you time too! It might help you avoid impulse buys during a backtrack through the store.</p> <h2>6. Stuck Like Glue</h2> <p>No, not the country song. I'm talking about your shopping list. If you have things that are distracting you like chocolate, fresh coffee, or a new apron to add to the collection, forget about it! Stick to your list!</p> <h2>7. Reap the Rewards</h2> <p>Finally, come back home and follow the plan that you're written out and enjoy dinner with your family throughout the week!</p> <p>You will eventually get to where the meal ideas come easily and naturally to you, based on what's on sale and what your family enjoys. You will become a pro in no time flat!</p> <p>And if you have no intention, time, or brain space for becoming a meal planning pro, we are happy to shoulder the burden for you! We can help you cross &quot;Write a meal plan&quot; off your weekly to-do list by delivering a meal plan to your inbox every week through The $5 Meal Plan. If you think that having meal plans sent to you every week is the answer to your dinner hour woes and you want to give the plans a try, we'd love for you to <a href="http://5dollarmealplan.com/join-today-v2/?ap_id=wisebread">sign up for The $5 Meal Plan</a>.</p> <p><em>How do you do meal planning?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/erin-chase">Erin Chase</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-shopping-list-strategy-from-5-meal-plan-will-save-you-big">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/easy-ways-to-save-on-7-everyday-buys">Easy Ways to Save on 7 Everyday Buys</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-foods-that-are-actually-cheaper-at-whole-foods">6 Foods That Are Actually Cheaper At Whole Foods</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-you-can-cut-grocery-expenses-today">13 Ways You Can Cut Grocery Expenses Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping budgeting expenses groceries meal planning saving money Tue, 16 Jun 2015 17:00:26 +0000 Erin Chase 1456856 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_groceries_000026443745.jpg" alt="Crafty woman saving money on groceries in a pinch" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you need to cut your budget &mdash; and fast? Stuff like blown tires, broken furnaces, and other unexpected expenses have to come from somewhere, and so many of our regular monthly expenses are fixed bills we can't do much to budge.</p> <p>So here are some ways you can dramatically cut your grocery bill in a pinch to redirect some of your hard earned dollars elsewhere. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-eat-well-on-just-20-a-week-with-meal-plans?ref=seealso">How to Eat Well on Just $20 a Week</a>)</p> <h2>1. Dig Deep</h2> <p>Before heading to the store, dig into all your cabinets and drawers to assess what you have in stock. Pasta and rice can be dressed up to make delicious meals with few ingredients added &mdash; here are some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-new-ways-to-spice-up-rice">recipes for inspiration</a>. A simple <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-use-canned-salmon">can of salmon</a> can be transformed into a salad, sandwich, or soup. You may even discover some foods hiding around that are nearing their expiration dates. If you're stuck, try tools like <a href="http://www.supercook.com/">Supercook</a>, which allow you to look up recipes by searching the ingredients you already have at home.</p> <h2>2. Go Vegetarian</h2> <p>Some of the most expensive items in your cart? Meat and seafood. If you're up for it, try eating a vegetable-based diet for a period of time. It's likely your cheapest meal alternative. You don't need to worry about protein since you'll find plenty in inexpensive sources like eggs, tofu, nuts, etc. And if you think you can cut dairy, that's more savings. There are millions of people thriving on vegan diets around the globe. Who knows! You might even lose a few pounds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-slow-cooker-recipes-for-busy-or-lazy-vegetarians?ref=seealso">35 Slow Cooker Recipes for Busy Vegetarians</a>)</p> <h2>3. Plan Accordingly</h2> <p>It sounds counterintuitive, but meal planning might be costing you money. Variety can be tricky and require lots of expensive ingredients if you aren't careful. Though you want to keep a good balance of nutrients in your diet, try choosing a few cheap, satisfying meals that might sustain you all week long. We keep our breakfasts and lunches very simple: Usually oatmeal with banana and homemade hummus sandwiches with chopped raw veggies. For dinner, consider sticking to meals that use similar ingredients but have different flavors or textures. Pizza and pasta make a good duo, as do taco salad and quesadillas, for example. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-grocery-items-you-should-make-at-home-and-5-to-buy?ref=seealso">35 Grocery Items You Should Make at Home</a>)</p> <h2>4. Substitute Similar</h2> <p>Have your heart set on certain recipes? Try <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-recipe-substitutions-that-save-money-and-prevent-food-waste">substituting ingredients</a> that you might already have at home versus buying new. There are a number of foods that can easily swap in similar ratios to get tasty results. The best part is that you'll not just save money this way, you'll also eliminate food waste and learn some new culinary tricks.</p> <h2>5. Track and Plan Ahead</h2> <p>I often shop at Wegmans. Something that's really helped save me money is using the <a href="http://www.wegmans.com/mobile">Wegmans app</a> to plan my trip in advance. I make an organized list on my phone &mdash; including the prices at my store that get tallied up at the end. That way, if I stick to the list, I know exactly how much I'll be spending (provided I don't grab something random off the shelf). A growing number of stores offer similar apps &mdash; like <a href="http://www.safeway.com/ShopStores/Get-Connected-Mobile-Apps.page">Safeway</a>, <a href="http://www.kroger.com/topic/mobile-app">Kroger</a>, and <a href="http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/apps">Whole Foods</a> &mdash; giving you the power to write lists or even snag coupons.</p> <p><em>Have you had to cut food costs fast? Tell us how you did it in comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-shopping-list-strategy-from-5-meal-plan-will-save-you-big">This Simple Shopping List Strategy From $5 Meal Plan Will Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-12-best-frozen-food-values">The 12 Best Frozen Food Values</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-easy-ways-to-stretch-your-grocery-dollars">20 Easy Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Dollars</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-foods-that-are-actually-cheaper-at-whole-foods">6 Foods That Are Actually Cheaper At Whole Foods</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping Cooking dinners groceries meal planning saving money Thu, 23 Apr 2015 11:00:10 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1393781 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Ways You Can Cut Grocery Expenses Today http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-you-can-cut-grocery-expenses-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-ways-you-can-cut-grocery-expenses-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/grocery-shopping-126532715-small.jpg" alt="grocery shopping" title="grocery shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Since December 2013, the <a href="http://www.investingdaily.com/19990/food-disruptions-continue-2/">&quot;spot foodstuff&quot; index price is up about 20%</a>. Ouch! For those of us who aren't commodities investors, that will translate to about a 3.5% increase in the price of food over the year &mdash; double the rate of last year's increase. Even vegetarians will feel the pinch due to the ongoing <a href="http://americasmarkets.usatoday.com/2014/04/16/california-drought-to-cause-fruit-and-veggie-sticker-shock/">California drought</a>.</p> <p>So what can you do to maximize your food budget? Here are 13 suggestions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-supermarket-tricks-you-havent-heard-yet?ref=seealso">22 Supermarket Tricks You Haven't Tried Yet</a>)</p> <h2>1. Don't Even Go to the Store, Yet</h2> <p>Take an inventory, first. Do you have things to use up in the refrigerator? Should you <a href="http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/storagetimes.html">defrost </a>something from the freezer? If you have a garden or orchard, you might need to pick and use up fruits and vegetables. Maybe stale bread needs to become croutons or avocados, guacamole. Have you checked dates on your canned goods, lately? Might be time to use some and rotate your pantry. So, first, avoid possible <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youre-wasting-13-of-the-food-you-buy-heres-how-to-stop">food waste</a> by checking to see what you have and can use.</p> <h2>2. What's Truly on Sale?</h2> <p>I scan the front page and the back page of my grocery store ads, because the best sale items are found there. Sometimes, items in the center of the ad aren't even on sale, believe it or not. You may assume that because there is a picture of name-brand bologna in the ad that it's on special, but I am looking at small print that says, &quot;4.99 Every Day!&quot; If you have the time or patience, keep a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-tool-that-assures-you-never-pay-too-much-for-groceries">price book</a>.</p> <h2>3. Clip Coupons?</h2> <p>Maybe. I only use coupons when they save me money on a product I actually use. Often, a store brand product is cheaper than the name brand product, even with use of the coupon. Not sure? Try using a grocery price <a href="http://calcnexus.com/grocery-calculator.php">calculator</a>. If you want to use an app from your mobile phone, will your store be able to use that technology? Will they match another store's price? Let's remember, though, time is money. If you are spending a lot of time hunting down <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-i-don-t-clip-coupons">coupons</a>, could that time have been spent in a more profitable way? I get a charge out of saving money on items I use, but try not to spend a lot of time clipping.</p> <h2>4. The &quot;Oops, We're Out of&hellip;&quot; List</h2> <p>Try putting paper (and a pen) on the refrigerator, or by the phone. Whenever you run out of something, jot it down. When you go to execute No. 5, below, add these items to your shopping list and start the process over.</p> <h2>5. Plan Menus and Make Your Shopping List</h2> <p>This doesn't need to be elaborate. From your inventory you can now plan how to use food up and also determine what you want to buy for the week.</p> <p>I just jot down what I plan to cook for dinner each night. It's a good way to make sure you don't have to make a second trip to the store. If we are having hamburgers, well, then I know I need meat, buns, lettuce, tomatoes, condiments, and a side, like potatoes for french fries. Making a list is also helpful because if it's written down, you won't forget and have to make yet another trip to the store. The list will also keep you from straying into &quot;fun&quot; stuff.</p> <h2>6. Have a Snack Before You Shop</h2> <p>There is <a href="http://greatist.com/health/grocery-shopping-while-hungry-050813">science</a> behind this. I know the worst time for me is right after work, when I am tired and hungry. We've all gone to the store for a gallon of milk and walked out thinking, &quot;How did I just spend fifty bucks?&quot; I find that if I eat a greek yogurt or a handful of almonds and some string cheese, I'll stick to that list.</p> <h2>7. Stay Out of the Aisles</h2> <p>Wouldn't it be nice to just hit one section of the store to buy your vegetables, grains, meat, and dairy? Well, if stores were set up that way, they couldn't lure you into the birthday cards, snack foods, paper goods, or toiletries.</p> <p>Take note of your store's setup so that you can avoid the pitfalls of buying items you should be buying at a discount store. Most of what I need is found around the perimeter. If I venture into the middle, I may be tempted to buy things I really do not need. I don't even cut through the middle aisles, where temptation lurks (in the form of potato chips, glossy magazines, or ice cream).</p> <h2>8. Buy in Bulk?</h2> <p>What items are tremendously cheaper at discount stores like Costco or Sam's Club? Toilet paper, paper towels, aluminum foil, tissues, toothpaste, hard liquor, rice, and meat. Be wary of buying items like two giant packs of cereal, or the large cases of soup. Unless you really, really love the product, you may end up being sick of it before you use it up. What else should you buy? Here are the ten <a href="http://www.tennessean.com/story/money/business/2014/04/20/24-7-wallst-fastest-rising-food-prices/7882819/">fastest-rising food prices</a> for items you may want.</p> <h2>9. Cut Up Your Own Poultry and Meat</h2> <p>This is a great way to save money. In my area, whole chickens go on sale for 99 cents a pound and that is when I buy a few, cut them up, freeze some, and even make stock. You just need a good knife, some kitchen shears, and this great instructional <a href="http://lifehacker.com/the-best-way-to-cut-up-a-whole-chicken-473200749">video</a>. Like stew? Try buying a shoulder and cutting up your own <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5988627/cut-your-own-stew-meat-for-better-quality-and-consistency">stew meat</a>, too.</p> <h2>10. Look Down</h2> <p>The cheapest cereal is not going to be found at the level of your kid. It's usually on the bottom shelf. Its packaging is also unwieldy, and usually in a large plastic bag instead of a handy box. However, if you re-package the cereal into smaller Ziplocs, jars, or tubs, you can save about 40% over the cost of brand-name cereals.</p> <h2>11. Save Every Six to Eight Weeks</h2> <p>Try this experiment. Remove your favorite grocery store's sale ad and save it. In six (or possibly eight) weeks, check it against the new ad. Hey, look! The same stuff is on sale! Buy what you need, and know that you can likely get more at the sale price again in six to eight weeks. You might make a tickler in your phone or computer to remind yourself to buy those items again, i.e., &quot;Buy another case of tomato sauce.&quot;</p> <h2>12. When Should I Shop?</h2> <p>Would you believe <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/news/best-worst-times-days-grocery-140000430.html">Wednesday mornings</a>? Well, for most of us, that's not practical (and I feel more like shopping on the weekends, but the best markdowns aren't happening then). However, if you find yourself free on a Wednesday, you might consider doing your grocery shopping instead of sleeping in. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-times-to-go-grocery-shopping?ref=seealso">The Best and Worst Times to Go Grocery Shopping</a>)</p> <h2>13. Make Your Own Mixes</h2> <p>Trying to avoid packaged, processed foods, and save money, too? Make your own mixes, like this <a href="http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/master-holiday-cookie-mix">Master Cookie Mix</a>, this <a href="http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/836967">rice mix,</a> <a href="http://chickensintheroad.com/cooking/homemade-hamburger-helper/">Hamburger Helper</a>, or even <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/good-question-how-can-i-make-h-74020">ramen</a>.</p> <p><em>How do you save money at the grocery store? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-you-can-cut-grocery-expenses-today">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-times-to-go-grocery-shopping">The Best and Worst Times to Go Grocery Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-big-at-these-4-discount-supermarkets">Save Big at These 4 Discount Supermarkets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-grocery-shop-for-five-on-100-a-week">How to Grocery Shop for Five on $100 a Week</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shopping-at-whole-foods-12-smart-ways-to-save">Shopping at Whole Foods: 12 Smart Ways to Save</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping food costs groceries grocery shopping meal planning shopping Thu, 07 Aug 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Marla Walters 1177367 at http://www.wisebread.com Bulk Buying Basics: What to Buy, How to Store, and Money Saving Tips http://www.wisebread.com/bulk-buying-basics-what-to-buy-how-to-store-and-money-saving-tips <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/bulk-buying-basics-what-to-buy-how-to-store-and-money-saving-tips" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bulk-78818754.jpg" alt="bulk buying" title="bulk buying" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you think about buying foods or other items in bulk, you might picture an underground bunker in some remote area with enough supplies to survive a zombie apocalypse. Bulk buying is no joke, however. If you have the space, stocking up can be an excellent, budget-friendly way to fill your shelves with foods and other items routinely needed in your daily life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-organize-your-pantry-and-save-cash?ref=seealso">Organize Your Pantry and Save Cash</a>)</p> <p>As you can imagine, bulk buying is an art. It requires careful planning to achieve the best savings and lower risk for spoilage. When done right, this method of shopping can yield big returns on the investment of both time <em>and</em> money.</p> <h2>Bulk Benefits</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/bulk-91253311-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>If you&#39;ve ever scanned the unit prices on your favorite grocery items, you&#39;ve likely noticed that those in larger packaging/quantity <em>typically</em> cost less per unit than their smaller counterparts. In much the same way, those items in the bulk bins &mdash; sans packaging &mdash; are even less expensive in comparison. If you cook or use certain items more often than not, it&#39;s in your best interest to buy and buy big to yield the biggest savings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-delicious-and-dollar-wise-winter-staples?ref=seealso">15 Dollar-Wise Winter Staples</a>)</p> <p>Here are a few more benefits:</p> <ul> <li>Less packaging means less waste and is, therefore, a smarter environmental choice.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Buying more at once saves on time and also gas and other related expenses.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Without conforming to pre-measured, packaged amounts of food, you are free to choose how much you need for yourself or your family. This scalability is smart for a number of reasons.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Bulk buying also leads to healthier food choices. Many ingredients in those bins are whole foods, which are fantastic choices nutritionally.</li> </ul> <h2>What and Where to Buy</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/bulk-177276037-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Bulk foods and other goods can be found at your local grocery store, health specialty shops/cooperatives, online, and through bulk buying clubs (not to be confused with big box buying stores). If you haven&#39;t ventured into the bulk section in your store before, it&#39;s well worth a jaunt to see what&#39;s in all those tubs. Many of your favorite basic ingredients are well represented here. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-items-for-your-organic-vegan-grocery-list?ref=seealso">25 Frugal Items for Your Organic Grocery List</a>)</p> <h3>Pantry Items</h3> <ul> <li>Rice: white, brown, and just about every other variety</li> <li>Lentils</li> <li>Quinoa</li> <li>Oats: instant, rolled, steel-cut</li> <li>Nuts: cashews, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, etc.</li> <li>Nut butters</li> <li>Spices: from cinnamon to curry, nutmeg to smoked paprika</li> <li>Pasta, including couscous</li> <li>Dried fruits: apples, papayas, banana chips, dates, raisins, etc.</li> <li>Dried mushrooms</li> <li>Dried seaweed</li> <li>Sugars: white, brown, coconut, etc.</li> <li>Flours: white, wheat, rye, gluten-free, etc.</li> <li>Seeds: pumpkin, sunflower, poppy, sesame, etc.</li> <li>Confectioneries: chocolate chips, among others</li> <li>Coffee and tea</li> <li>Cereal</li> <li>Maple syrup</li> <li>Oils: olive, canola, vegetable, sesame</li> <li>Vinegar: apple cider, white, etc.</li> <li>Honey</li> <li>Tomatoes: whole, diced, sauces, etc.</li> <li>Beans: kidney, black, chickpeas, etc.</li> <li>Soup stocks and broths</li> <li>Condiments: ketchup, mustard, hot sauce</li> </ul> <p>Note: You can also buy seasonable fruits and vegetables in bulk and then can, freeze, or otherwise preserve them for later consumption. Similarly, you can get great deals on frozen fruits and vegetables. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-use-frozen-mixed-vegetables?ref=seealso">25 Ways to Use Frozen Vegetables</a>)</p> <h3>Non-Food Items</h3> <ul> <li>Aluminum foil</li> <li>Plastic wrap</li> <li>Sandwich bags</li> <li>Shampoo and conditioner</li> <li>Soaps, toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant</li> <li>Laundry detergent</li> <li>Toilet paper</li> <li>Paper towels</li> <li>Batteries</li> </ul> <p>...basically anything and everything you use on a daily basis that is either shelf stable (or lends well to preserving) can be purchased in bulk. We&#39;d love to hear what types of items you stock on a regular basis, so be sure to leave a comment below!</p> <p>Oh, and beware of big box stores, which are popular spots to find many of these items &mdash; they typically involve more packaging. As well, I did an informal price survey at my local joint, and I wasn&#39;t impressed with my findings. And if you haven&#39;t heard of those bulk buying clubs I mentioned above, ask around your local farmers market &mdash; or <a href="http://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/how-to-start-a-food-buying-club">start one</a> of your own.</p> <h2>How to Store</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/bulk-97496270-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>If you live in a tiny apartment or are otherwise short on space, you might be wondering about how to house all these items. I live in a modest home and we&#39;ve found a few creative solutions, including setting up a special pantry shelf in our basement, storing smaller quantities in clear Ball jars on some open kitchen shelving, and stocking frozen items in an upright freezer. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-freezers?ref=seealso">5 Best Freezers</a>)</p> <h3>Containers</h3> <p>Place items in safe containers. If you order items online or buy them at the store and they come in paper bags, consider switching over to either plastic or glass storage. This will eliminate the chance that the bag could tear or be tampered with (cats, dogs, mice, the neighbor kids). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-places-to-find-free-or-cheap-mason-jars?ref=seealso">Where to Find Free or Cheap Mason Jars</a>)</p> <ul> <li>Utilize all the options for sound storage. Containers come in all shapes and sizes, but be sure that whatever you use is airtight and uncompromised. The key with storing bulk foods is keeping them as fresh as possible. Protect your investment.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Look beyond your favorite retailers for deals on storage containers. You can find great deals at discount dollar stores, online, or even at garage sales.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use a funnel to swiftly and cleanly transfer goods from larger to smaller containers.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use old measuring cups and spoons (tablespoons are particularly handy!) as scoops.</li> </ul> <h3>Space</h3> <p>Consider installing a dedicated shelving unit in your kitchen or another room in your house specifically for housing bulk food items. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-live-large-in-a-small-space?ref=seealso">How to Live Large in a Small Space</a>)</p> <ul> <li>Designate one of the kitchen cupboards the &quot;bulk cupboard&quot; and store all your goods in there. Alternatively, create open shelving for storage of clear containers for an easy, grab-n-go experience.</li> <li>Use unique spaces, like under the bed or in the hallway closet, as creative storage when in a pinch. You can even create a <a href="http://www.finewoodworking.com/item/29345/stair-pantry">stairway pantry</a> with all that unused wall space!</li> <li>Find new uses for old items, like over-the-door shelving for shoes. If it holds stuff, it might be just what you need to organize your bulk empire.</li> <li>If you&#39;re lucky enough to have a pantry, clear it out and organize with bulk in mind. Containers should be in clear view, easy to reach, and out of harm&#39;s way (off the floor, away from where pets and toddlers can reach, etc.).</li> </ul> <h2>Other Bulky Considerations</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/bulk-179221888-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Now that you&#39;ve got the basics, here a few more tips to make it all go a little smoother.</p> <h3>Make a Plan (and Stick to It!)</h3> <p>It can be tempting to go overboard when presented with seemingly endless bulk buying options. Keep in mind that the only way you save is if you actually use up what you&#39;ve bought or it doesn&#39;t go to waste do to spoilage. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-recipe-substitutions-that-save-money-and-prevent-food-waste?ref=seealso">Recipe Substitutions That Prevent Food Waste</a>)</p> <h3>Bring Your Own (Reusable) Containers for Shopping</h3> <p>Many establishments charge for bulk jars (not so much bags). And while you&#39;re at it, be sure to mark the tare weight (that&#39;s the weight of the container) on your containers, so you&#39;re all set with that information come weigh-time.</p> <h3>Freeze It</h3> <p>To eliminate any possible pests, it&#39;s a good practice to freeze foods (especially grains, beans) for a day or two. I don&#39;t always follow this rule myself, but someone told me it keeps foods fresher, longer.</p> <h3>Mark Ingredients With Name and Date</h3> <p>All those grains can get confusing without packaging. Be sure to use a permanent marker and some labels/masking tape to stay organized and fresh.</p> <h3>Write Up Cooking Instructions and Stow in the Container</h3> <p>Along these same lines, you will likely forget how to cook black rice versus Israeli couscous &mdash; we write instructions on note cards stored in plastic baggies and toss them in with the ingredients for easy reference.</p> <h3>Create a Master List</h3> <p>A danger in buying a lot of something is forgetting you have it. To avoid spoilage or duplicate purchases a simple inventory list can be a lifesaver.</p> <h3>Plan Meals and Cook In</h3> <p>When buying in bulk, it&#39;s important to dedicate a certain amount of time into figuring out which recipes/meals they will eventually turn into. With so much fresh, healthy food on hand, you might want to cook more often rather than going out, further escalating the potential savings. All it takes is a little foresight (and a few good cookbooks). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-eat-every-day-a-month-of-frugal-meals?ref=seealso">A Month of Frugal Meals</a>)</p> <h3>Evaluate and Tweak as Necessary</h3> <p>It&#39;s good to keep those receipts and track your investment wisely. What items did you use up quickly? What ones did you forget? Were any ingredients unusually costly? Is there another place you might want to check out? Continually refining your process will help it work better each shopping trip.</p> <p><em>Are you a bulk buyer? What works for you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bulk-buying-basics-what-to-buy-how-to-store-and-money-saving-tips">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-didnt-know-you-could-buy-in-bulk">10 Things You Didn&#039;t Know You Could Buy in Bulk</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-freshman-shopping-tips-to-cut-college-costs">9 Freshman Shopping Tips to Cut College Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-amazon-deal-hacks-you-may-not-already-know">16 Amazon Deal Hacks You May Not Already Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-social-media-can-save-you-money">6 Ways Social Media Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-never-buy-at-the-dollar-store-and-10-you-should">10 Things You Should Never Buy at the Dollar Store (and 10 You Should)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization Shopping Bulk buying discounts meal planning Mon, 30 Dec 2013 19:47:23 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1285 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: How to Meal Plan and Save Cash http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-meal-plan-and-save-cash <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-how-to-meal-plan-and-save-cash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cooking-5296837-small.jpg" alt="cooking" title="cooking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread&#39;s <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some stellar articles on how to meal plan and save, money-saving tips for the holidays, and Christmas gifts you can&#39;t buy at the mall.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2013/12/02/how-to-meal-plan-and-save-some-cash/">How to meal plan and save some cash</a> &mdash; When planning your meals on your own, set aside a certain time each week to plan your menu. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="http://www.fivecentnickel.com/2013/12/02/money-saving-tips-for-the-holidays/">Money-saving tips for the holidays</a> &mdash; Comparison shopping and buying in bulk can help you save during the holidays. [Five Cent Nickel]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/27-creative-christmas-gifts-you-cant-buy-at-the-mall">27 Creative Christmas Gifts You Can&#39;t Buy at the Mall</a> &mdash; This holiday season, consider giving homemade treats or a handwritten recipe book. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.threethriftyguys.com/2013/12/reasons-why-now-is-the-time-to-shop-the-thrift-stores/">Reasons Why Now is the Time to Shop the Thrift Stores</a> &mdash; Now is a great time to shop at thrift stores because the holidays are a prime time for people to donate their unused or old items. [Three Thrifty Guys]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Holiday-Finance-Career-Tips-6421346">7 Savvy Tasks to Do in December</a> &mdash; In December, take the time to plan for upcoming expenses. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.moneysavingenthusiast.com/2013/12/02/holiday-gift-ideas/">5 Holiday Gift Ideas for Those Who Are Hard to Shop For</a> &mdash; Not sure what to get a certain person in your life for the holidays? Try giving them the gift of learning a new language! [Money Saving Enthusiast]</p> <p><a href="http://lenpenzo.com/blog/id23147-what-everyone-should-know-before-depositing-money-in-a-bank.html">What Everyone Should Know Before Depositing Their Money In a Bank</a> &mdash; Before you deposit your money in a bank, keep in mind that banks aren&#39;t liable for any deposits that aren&#39;t reimbursed by the FDIC. [Len Penzo dot Com]</p> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2013/12/financials-of-real-estate-investment-2.html">Financials of Real Estate Investment #2</a> &mdash; When investing in real estate, be prepared for future expenses and immediate change expenses. [Free Money Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.dailyworth.com/posts/2277-how-to-stay-safe-traveling">How to Stay Safe Traveling</a> &mdash; To stay safe while traveling, pick up a pay-as-you-go mobile hotspot. [Daily Worth]</p> <p><a href="https://www.mint.com/blog/housing/3-home-heating-mistakes-that-can-cost-you-a-fortune-1213/">3 Home Heating Mistakes That Can Cost You a Fortune</a> &mdash; Did you know that keeping your room warm at night may not just cost you more money but it may cause you to have trouble sleeping? [MintLife Blog]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-meal-plan-and-save-cash">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-eat-well-on-just-20-a-week-with-meal-plans">How to Eat Well on Just $20 a Week (With Meal Plans!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-times-to-go-grocery-shopping">The Best and Worst Times to Go Grocery Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master">16 Simple Kitchen Skills Every Frugal Person Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-easiest-food-budget-wins">The 9 Easiest Food Budget Wins</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">5 Easy Ways to Save on Groceries in a Pinch</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink best money tips meal plan meal planning saving Fri, 06 Dec 2013 10:48:07 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1098945 at http://www.wisebread.com The 8 Best Cooking Apps to Make Mealtimes Manageable http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-best-cooking-apps-to-make-mealtimes-manageable <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-8-best-cooking-apps-to-make-mealtimes-manageable" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cooking-3996466-small_0.jpg" alt="cooking" title="cooking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Tired of serving up the same ol' grub week after week? Then spice up mealtimes with these comprehensive cooking apps that'll help you turn ordinary food into a delicious feast with just a few flicks of your fingers. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-meal-planning-apps-and-websites">Top Meal Planning Apps and Websites</a>)</p> <h2>52 School Lunches</h2> <p>For many busy parents, packing school lunches on a daily basis is the bane of their existence, and often kids are sent to school with a few bucks in their pocket to buy the junk food that's being passed off as a proper lunch in the school cafeteria.</p> <p>The <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;RD_PARM1=https%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Fapp%252F52-school-lunches%252Fid650793913%253Fmt%253D8%2526uo%253D4%2526partnerId%253D30">52 School Lunches</a> app, <a href="http://www.familius.com/52-school-lunches-#.Ugk0qZK1GSo">based on the book from Familius Publishing</a>, aims to change that with its full-color-photography and directory of delicious, nutritious, fast and fun recipes to keep kids happy and healthy. The app &mdash; available on most mobile devices for $1.99 to $2.99 &mdash; comes complete with ingredient lists, tips (like how to turn leftovers into lunch), tricks (how to make salad stacks), and edible ideas (how to swap boring sandwiches for wraps and rolls) that make sending the kids off to school with a decent meal motivating again. There are even a few jokes along the way to keep you smiling as you learn to love making lunch again. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-quick-cheap-lunch-ideas">25 Quick, Cheap Lunch Ideas</a>)</p> <h2>Relish Daily Dish</h2> <p>Not as comfortable in the kitchen as you'd like to be? There's no shame in seeking out a little digital assistance, which you'll get from <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;RD_PARM1=https%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Fapp%252Frelish-daily-dish%252Fid546868629%253Fmt%253D8%2526uo%253D4%2526partnerId%253D30">Relish Daily Dish</a>, a free app from Relish magazine and Zumobi.</p> <p>This interactive cookbook guides you through the entire meal-planning process, providing thousands of customizable recipes (so you can accommodate those picky eaters); a wealth of photos, videos, and user-generated content; and integrated social sharing that allows you to post directly to Facebook and Twitter. A search feature also lets you enter a specific ingredient that you may have on hand in order to build a meal around that, along with a shopping list to ensure that you get everything you need at the supermarket so you can make a magnificent meal.</p> <h2>Craft Cocktail</h2> <p>As Food Network's Sandra Lee would say, &quot;It's cocktail time!&quot; &mdash; and with <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;RD_PARM1=https%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Fapp%252Fcraft-cocktail%252Fid657186267%253Fmt%253D8%2526uo%253D4%2526partnerId%253D30">Craft Cocktail</a> you can play master mixologist with access to loads of original, modern, and exciting cocktail recipes that will wow your guests. This app, available for $1.99 on iPad and iPhone, combines the best of all worlds by providing a thirsty encyclopedia of adult beverages designed by professional bartenders, adapted from classic recipes, and alcohol-infused refreshments easy enough for casual entertainers. Craft Cocktail also includes stunning photography along with offbeat commentary to make your shaken-and-stirred crafting experience even richer. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-tasty-two-ingredient-cocktails">20 Tasty Two-Ingredient Cocktails</a>)</p> <h2>Substitutions</h2> <p>Anybody who's ever been in the middle of preparing a meal only to realize that they're missing an important ingredient will bow down to the <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;RD_PARM1=https%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Fapp%252Fsubstitutions%252Fid372387251%253Fmt%253D8%2526uo%253D4%2526partnerId%253D30">Substitutions app</a>, available for $0.99 on iPhone and iPad.</p> <p>Out of Apple Pie Spice? Whip up a quick mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice thanks to this handy-dandy app. Don't have buttermilk on hand? Sub in equal parts plain yogurt and milk as detailed by Substitutions. There's a broad database of substituted ingredients that you can search (more than 400 in total), or you can narrow down your search by categories that include Gluten-Free, Seafood &amp; Meat, Vegan, Baking &amp; Cooking, and more. Other features include the ability to add your own substitution to a category; duplicate an included substitution and edit; share a substitution via mail, message, Twitter, and Facebook; and measurements in U.S. and metric.</p> <h2>KitchMe</h2> <p>If you're looking to shop and cook more efficiently, try <a href="http://www.kitchme.com/">KitchMe</a>, a new web-based platform from Coupons.com that compiles the best recipes from top sources and combines them with shopping list creation and coupons into a single application.</p> <p>Key features include Drag-and-Drop Meal Planning, which allows you to choose recipes and drag them to a calendar so you can create weekly plans, entrée pairings, sides, and access savings that coordinate with your selections. Curated Recipes focus solely on recipes with ratings of 4.5 stars or higher and that can be prepared in 45 minutes or less. The app also includes social-media sharing capabilities. The Integrated Savings feature is an intuitive tool that shows you which ingredients are on sale at your favorite supermarkets. KitchMe also recently introduced a Google Glass app, which allows Google Glass users to access the platform in a hands-free setting, so you can keep your hands on your meal and off your computer while cooking.</p> <h2>Cooking Planit</h2> <p>Anybody who has ever made a large meal &mdash; say, Thanksgiving dinner &mdash; knows how tough it is to time it perfectly so everything is on the table at the same time, hot and fresh.</p> <p><a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;RD_PARM1=https%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Fapp%252Fcooking-planit%252Fid544421827%253Fmt%253D8%2526uo%253D4%2526partnerId%253D30">Cooking Planit</a> makes that feat a little less stressful with its web component and a mobile app that helps organize the meal-planning process with step-by-step instructions to achieve maximum efficiency. Touted as a &quot;GPS for the kitchen,&quot; Cooking Planit lets you filter by main ingredient, occasion, dietary restriction, and type of dish, with each recipe displaying a complete list of ingredients and necessary utensils to reduce chaos in the kitchen. Cooking Planit is free on the web and priced at $0.99 and $2.99 for iPhone and iPad, respectively.</p> <h2>Matt's Pantry</h2> <p>There are many reasons why people avoid the kitchen, two of which <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;RD_PARM1=https%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Fapp%252Fmatts-pantry%252Fid469484338%253Fmt%253D8%2526uo%253D4%2526partnerId%253D30">Matt's Pantry</a> iPad app &mdash; created by NYC-based chef Matthew Shields &mdash; aims to eliminate.</p> <p>First, Matt's Pantry allows you to create weekly menus with a shopping list that will compile everything you need to pick up in one fell swoop, meaning no more multiple runs to the market. With those ingredients, you'll be able to make at least five delicious meals with little waste (how many times have your fresh herbs rotted before you could use them all?). Matt's Pantry also includes nutritional facts for each recipe, so you can manage your waistline along with your wallet, and the available recipes run the gamut from appetizers to vegetarian dishes to desserts, which also come with suggested wine and beer pairings. The iPad app is $3.99, and a <a href="http://vimeo.com/29151055.">short video</a> is available to view before purchasing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/teach-yourself-to-cook">Teach Yourself to Cook</a>)</p> <h2>Paprika</h2> <p>One of the best features of <a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=146261&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0&amp;tmpid=1826&amp;RD_PARM1=https%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Fapp%252Fpaprika-recipe-manager-for%252Fid406732590%253Fmt%253D8%2526uo%253D4%2526partnerId%253D30">Paprika</a>, available in desktop, iOS, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008XGLR14/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B008XGLR14&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=best-apps-20">Android</a> versions, is the ability to sync content between devices via its free cloud service. This innovation itself is music to the ears of every home cook whose phone has died right before they're about to start making dinner; just switch to another charged device and get cookin'.</p> <p>Other ingenious features of Paprika include clipboard tools that allow you to copy and paste recipes from any website, recipe scaling so you can cook the same delicious meal for one or six, the ability to add personalized notes to each recipe (like &quot;This could use a pinch more salt next time&quot;), customizable categories (great for holiday meal planning), and offline access so you don't have to starve yourself when your Wi-Fi gets wonky.</p> <p><em>Do you have a favorite cooking app that's not listed here? Let us know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-best-cooking-apps-to-make-mealtimes-manageable">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-you-can-cut-grocery-expenses-today">13 Ways You Can Cut Grocery Expenses Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-meal-planning-apps-and-websites">Top Meal Planning Apps and Websites</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-meaning-of-milk-label-colors">The Meaning of Milk Label Colors</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-times-to-go-grocery-shopping">The Best and Worst Times to Go Grocery Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-grocery-shop-for-five-on-100-a-week">How to Grocery Shop for Five on $100 a Week</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink apps cooking apps grocery shopping meal planning Wed, 14 Aug 2013 22:57:12 +0000 Mikey Rox 981118 at http://www.wisebread.com Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dishes http://www.wisebread.com/make-ahead-thanksgiving-dishes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-ahead-thanksgiving-dishes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/thanksgiving_cooking.jpg" alt="Three girls cooking with cranberries" title="Three girls cooking with cranberries" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="137" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Thanksgiving can be stressful enough &mdash; lots of relatives in town, too much food to cook (in one tiny oven), and of course, timing it all to be ready at just the right moment. Thankfully, one of the best ways to decrease stress on Thanksgiving day is to make dishes ahead of time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-last-minute-thanksgiving-fixes" title="Five Last-Minute Thanksgiving Fixes">Five Last-Minute Thanksgiving Fixes</a>)</p> <p>Rather than rely on my relatively few years of experience preparing Thanksgiving, I called the ultimate expert in make-ahead Thanksgiving dish advice &mdash; my mom. My mom has always managed to pull together an amazing Thanksgiving feast where the only thing not homemade is the cranberries (my brother prefers the jelly cranberries in a can) despite working full-time and juggling two hectic kids' schedules.</p> <p>So, what are Mom's tips for dishes to make ahead? She offered her top three dishes in terms of time savings and what was least likely to affect the taste of the dish, along with several other make-ahead dishes and information that is just as important &mdash; what <em>not</em> to make ahead.</p> <h2>Top Three Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dishes</h2> <p>These three dishes require a fair amount of work, and the taste isn't overly affected if you make them ahead of time.</p> <p><strong>Apple Pie</strong></p> <p>Apple pie can be made a week or two ahead of time and frozen. When you bake it the first time, don't bake the pie all the way through. When you reheat it in the oven, the pie will finish cooking. Also, put some bread crumbs in the bottom of the pan under the crust &mdash; this way, when you cook the pie again after it has thawed, the breadcrumbs will absorb the extra liquid.</p> <p><strong>Stuffing</strong></p> <p>Stuffing requires a lot of peeling and chopping. But dressing (as in a dressing casserole, not a kind you make in the turkey) can be made the day before and reheated on Thanksgiving day.</p> <p><strong>Mashed Potatoes</strong></p> <p>Mashed potatoes can be made the day before and microwaved on Thanksgiving day. They are <em>almost</em> as good. (Mom's words, not mine. In fact, she always makes hers the day of, but if you need extra time due to the amount of work required to peel potatoes, they can be made ahead of time.)</p> <h2>Other Make-Ahead Dishes</h2> <p>While the following dishes might not be quite as good made ahead as the above three, they're still great. Do these next if you need to save more time.</p> <p><strong>Cranberries</strong></p> <p>Homemade cranberries should be made one to two days before and refrigerated, so that they are cold in time for the Thanksgiving feast.</p> <p><strong>Turkey Breast</strong></p> <p>If your family eats a lot of turkey breast, bake a breast separately (in addition to the full turkey). You can bake it the day before and store in the fridge in some turkey juice. It will absorb the juice and not dry out when you reheat it.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Rolls</strong></p> <p>Dinner rolls can be made one to two weeks ahead and wrapped tightly in tin foil and frozen. When you reheat them in the oven, be sure to keep them in the tin foil, as this will trap the steam and prevent the rolls from drying out.</p> <p><strong>Sweet Potatoes</strong></p> <p>Sweet potatoes can be made one day ahead of time and reheated in the microwave. Just wait to add any marshmallow topping until the dish is almost hot. Otherwise you will end up with exploded and sticky marshmallows coating the inside of your microwave.</p> <h2>Don't Try These Ahead of Time</h2> <p>There are a few dishes to always make on Thanksgiving day.</p> <p><strong>Turkey</strong></p> <p>There's just no way around it &mdash; you need to get up early and put your turkey in the oven on Thanksgiving morning. Besides the wonderful smell and better tasting meat, a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tasty-ideas-for-leftover-turkey">turkey made on the day of Thanksgiving</a> reduces the risk of food poisoning.</p> <p><strong>Pumpkin Pie</strong></p> <p>Pumpkin pie doesn't freeze well because it's a custard. The only exception would be if you own a commercial freezer that will flash-freeze the pie. But like with the turkey, the smell of freshly baking pumpkin pie is a staple of Thanksgiving.</p> <p><strong>Veggies</strong></p> <p>Every family has their own unique Thanksgiving vegetable. Whether it's salad or green bean casserole, it is best made on Thanksgiving day.</p> <p><strong>Whipped Cream</strong></p> <p>You can whip your cream most of the way on Thanksgiving morning and then finish whipping it right before serving. But you don't want to make whipped cream too far in advance, or it will turn&nbsp;back to liquid.</p> <h2>If You Do Nothing Else, Do This</h2> <p>Even if you can't or won't make dishes ahead of time, do these three things to save money and stress on the big day itself.</p> <p><strong>Take Stock</strong></p> <p>Two weeks before Thanksgiving, take stock of your cupboards and dishware. Determine exactly what dishes you'll need, so that if you need to borrow from a friend or family member, you can give them advance notice. Also determine which recipes you are going to use, and make lists of the ingredients you'll need. Chances are as the time gets closer to actually go shopping, you'll remember items you might have otherwise forgotten.</p> <p><strong>Set the Table</strong></p> <p>You can set your Thanksgiving table up to a week in advance. To easily get the wrinkles out of your tablecloth, spray a very fine mist of water on the table cloth. By Thanksgiving morning the wrinkles will fall out. (Don't spray too heavily, or you will mold the table or turn it white.) You can also put out all the silverware and dishes you'll need a week ahead of time.</p> <p><strong>Make Your Centerpiece</strong></p> <p>Either order your centerpiece in advance, or make a cheap centerpiece a few days to a week before Thanksgiving. A clear glass bowl of different colored apples is a favorite cheap, easy, and festive centerpiece.</p> <p>With these tips, you'll be on your way to a stress free Thanksgiving. For great make-ahead recipes for anytime of year, also check out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-awesome-easy-to-freeze-meals" title="5 Awesome, Easy to Freeze Meals">5 Awesome, Easy to Freeze Meals</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-make-ahead-freezable-hot-breakfast-recipes" title="9 Make-Ahead, Freezable Breakfasts">9 Make-Ahead, Freezable Breakfasts</a>.</p> <p><em>Is there anything I've forgotten? What tips do you have to save stress on Thanksgiving day?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-ahead-thanksgiving-dishes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kick-ass-alternatives-to-canned-cranberry-sauce">Kick-Ass Alternatives to Canned Cranberry Sauce</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master">16 Simple Kitchen Skills Every Frugal Person Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-surprisingly-delicious-squash-recipes">20 Surprisingly Delicious Squash Recipes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-meals-you-can-make-with-thanksgiving-leftovers">4 Meals You Can Make With Thanksgiving Leftovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-and-delicious-punch-recipes-for-holiday-parties">15 Cheap and Delicious Punch Recipes for Holiday Parties</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink holiday dinners make ahead food meal planning Thanksgiving Tue, 13 Nov 2012 10:36:51 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 955474 at http://www.wisebread.com Top Meal Planning Apps and Websites http://www.wisebread.com/top-meal-planning-apps-and-websites <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/top-meal-planning-apps-and-websites" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cooking_dinner.jpg" alt="Cooking dinner" title="Cooking dinner" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="156" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A few months ago, I finally joined the rest of the world and got an iPhone. At first, I wasn't sure if I really wanted or needed such a fancy gadget, but the ease and convenience of having the Internet at my fingertips quickly erased any doubts I might have had.</p> <p>I mean, who <em>doesn't</em> need instant access to Facebook 24 hours a day?</p> <p>Facebook jokes aside, new apps and websites are created daily to help us manage almost every aspect of our lives. For example, one of the most stressful parts of my day comes when someone asks the inevitable question &quot;What's for dinner?&quot; They're three little words, but they have the power to strike fear in the hearts of mothers (and meal-preparing fathers) everywhere. For me, it isn't so much the cooking itself that I don't like, but rather the task of meal planning that makes me want to throw in the towel and dial up delivery.</p> <p>Fortunately, to borrow the trendy new phrase, there's an app for that. I've been visiting recipe websites for a while, but only recently did I discover that there are many other <a href="http://parentingsquad.com/best-meal-planning-apps-and-websites">meal planning apps and websites</a> that offer so much more.</p> <h3>Supercook</h3> <p><a href="http://www.supercook.com/">Supercook</a> is a website devoted to helping you answer the &quot;what's for dinner&quot; question. After creating a free account, you can type in the ingredients you have in your pantry, and the Supercook recipe search engine will find recipes that you can make with only those ingredients.</p> <p>The website is a great resource for those nights when you've got a package of chicken thighs in the freezer but no idea what to do with them, or when you need to make do with the ingredients you have on hand becase you don't have time to stop by the grocery store.</p> <h3>Once a Month Mom</h3> <p>At <a href="http://onceamonthmom.com/">Once a Month Mom</a>, you'll find a program designed to help you plan and freeze <em>an entire month</em> of meals for your family. You can choose from several menu options, including Traditional, Vegetarian, Whole Foods, Diet, Gluten/Dairy Free, and even Baby Food.</p> <p>One day a month, you will spend 8-12 hours cooking and prepping meals for the month ahead. I personally think this sounds like a daunting task, but I do like the idea of having my menu plan handed to me. I also like the idea of not having to scramble to put together a meal at the last minute.</p> <h3>Menu Planner</h3> <p>The <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/menu-planner/id304945491?mt=8#">Menu Planner app</a> for your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad allows you to store your favorite recipes, create shopping lists and meal plans, and keep track of what's on your pantry shelves. All your meal planning information is kept in one place and is aways easily accessible.</p> <p>If you choose to use Menu Planner, you'll love that you can find <a href="http://menuplanner.innovaso.com/tutorials.htm">tutorials and FAQs</a> to help you figure out what the heck you're doing (especially if you're like me and you're still trying to understand all this new-fangled technology in the first place). But keep in mind that Menu Planner is <em>not</em> a free app, and from what I can tell, is not available for Android either.</p> <h3>Ziplist</h3> <p><a href="http://www.ziplist.com/what_is_ziplist/on_the_go">Ziplist</a> makes grocery shopping easier than ever before. At Ziplist, you can create a free, customizable, online shopping list. This list can be easily updated by email, instant message, text message, or on the web, whenever you remember items that need to be added. And if you need help with meal planning, you can search Ziplist's extensive meal planning database. Once you've found a recipe you like, you simply click, and all the necessary ingredients will be automatically added to your shopping list.</p> <p>Ziplist also offers free apps for both iPhone and Android users, which will fully sync with your online account. With so many great features, this is one I definitely plan to use.</p> <h3>Relish</h3> <p><a href="http://www.relishrelish.com/why-menu-planning.aspx">Relish</a> is a meal planning website that operates on a subscription basis. For $7 a month ($5 if you purchase a year-long subscription), you'll receive weekly emails that offer a variety of recipe choices. Once you choose your meals, a shopping list will be generated for you.</p> <p>At Relish, you get to choose five meals a week, and can expect to spend about $90 purchasing the ingredients. Personally, because there are so many other free meal-planning options available, I don't know if Relish is worth the money. But I found many enthusiastic, positive reviews of the website, so you may find that it's worth every penny.</p> <p><em>Do you have other meal planning apps or websites that you prefer, or personal experience using the ones listed above? Please share! </em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Quickly crafting delicious and healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners is easy when you have these meal-planning tools on your side. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This post is by Alyssa Chirco from our sister blog, Parenting Squad. Visit <a href="http://parentingsquad.com/">Parenting Squad</a> for more parenting tips and news:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/capture-and-share-family-memories-with-google-products">Capture And Share Family Memories With Google Products</a></li> <li><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/tips-for-moving-with-young-children">Moving With Kids: 23 Can't-Miss Tips To Help You Cope</a></li> <li><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/whole-food-replacements-for-junk-food-sweets">Whole Food Replacements For Junk Food Sweets</a></li> <li><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/9-household-items-to-use-as-toys">9 Household Items To Use As Toys</a></li> <li><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/from-the-playroom-to-the-boardroom-5-steps-for-returning-back-to-work">From The Playroom To The Boardroom: 5 Steps For Returning To Work</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/parenting-squad">Parenting Squad</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-meal-planning-apps-and-websites">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-best-cooking-apps-to-make-mealtimes-manageable">The 8 Best Cooking Apps to Make Mealtimes Manageable</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/turn-old-clothes-into-money-with-these-4-tools-and-apps">Turn Old Clothes Into Money With These 4 Tools and Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-that-make-budgeting-fun-no-really">7 Apps That Make Budgeting Fun — No Really!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fitness-gadgets-actually-worth-the-money">5 Fitness Gadgets Actually Worth the Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-apps-that-actually-pay-you-to-shop">8 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Technology apps bulk cooking meal planning Wed, 20 Jul 2011 09:48:10 +0000 Parenting Squad 622060 at http://www.wisebread.com