Saving Time and Money, my New Year’s Resolution

I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. I know myself too well. Creating new, healthy habits is not something I do well. I know I need to take vitamins and I faithfully take them for a week or so. Then, for some inexplicable reason, I just completely forget to take them and that will be that, healthy habit out the window. Same has been true with drinking the prescribed 8 glasses of water a day.

That being said, I am making a New Year’s resolution to plan a week’s worth of meals every week, grocery shop once maybe twice and that’s it. I know this is not new to many of you, but for me, this is like landing on the Moon. One small step for normal people, one giant leap for yours truly. I have never been a planner of any kind. Seriously, I am usually at the grocery store every day. My meals depend on my mood or the weather or some new recipe I stumble upon that day. In the past, I have tried to plan ahead and ended up throwing out an embarrassing amount of spoiled food because I just couldn’t stick to the plan.

So, to kick off “operation meal planning” I started with a little procrastinating research. I found an excellent article from full of tips on how to plan meals and stick with the plan. The only problem I had was when the author recommends that you not “let your enthusiasm for the glossy pages of the cookbook con you into doing so more than twice a month. Cooking tried-and-true speeds dinner preparation and streamlines menu planning.”

What? Sorry, but how can I have a food blog and cook the same things over and over again? It will not make for a very interesting or informative website, so I will be ignoring this one recommendation. I’m sure you won’t mind.

So, where or how to start?

I admit to looking at the circulars every week, but I rarely if ever take the time to write a list. So, I decided to take a look at what the stores are offering online, and I was very impressed to find some helpful tools for meal planning. On Shoprite’s website you can browse the weekly circular and select sale items for your online shopping list. You can also type in additional items that you need and print the list. The great thing about their list is it includes the sale price. This is handy at the checkout counter if there’s a discrepancy between cash register and advertised price. (We know this never happens) Shoprite also offers an email option, so put your list together and email it to your spouse for pick up (in your dreams). Another cool feature is the links to “recipes” next to each item. You can locate the best sales for that week, click on recipes and you’ve got some meals planned for you. Yey! has the exact same layout and in looking a little closer I noticed they are powered by the same third party provider also offers an online list maker. I was surprised to find that they do not offer the ability to select items from their circular and add them to your shopping list. This is definitely a feature they need to add. Stop and Shop offers online list building off of their circular and you can even have it delivered by PeaPod (which I have had done and its absolutely awesome. ) If you do get your groceries delivered, be sure to order over $100 worth of groceries to save on the delivery charge. You can also find coupon codes online just by Googling “Peapod Coupon Code.”

So, that’s it so far. There’s no plan in place because I spent the whole day writing this post, but I have a plan for a plan in place. This weekend I will put together the official meal plan and post it for all who want to follow along. Let’s see how long I can keep this going. Any bets?