Several of you commented that you'd like to know some of the tips I collected for my recent "Cooking Healthy on a Budget Class." There are a lot so I thought I'd start a regular feature and give a few tips each Thursday, hence Thrifty Thursday. I hope these are useful. If you want to contribute just email me. I'll post them and give you attribution. Let's save some money and time together!
For the class I taught I divided my information into three sections: Plan, Experiment, and Prioritize. For this segement I'll give tips regarding planning.
1. Always plan a menu. Plan your menu for at least one week. I plan for two weeks and would stretch it to a month if my kitchen had enough storage room. Plan your menu around the ads for your local store(s).
2. Set a budget and DO NOT exceed it. Our limit is $180-$200/two weeks, that includes any clothes, socks, sundries, etc. There have been times when things went back on the shelf because I was too near the limit. We lived and nobody noticed anything missing.
3. Shop for as much as you can at once. See number 1. Stopping by the store "just for a few things" rarely works - you always end up with more than you intended.
4. Use coupons only for items you'd normally buy. A name-brand coupon may not be a deal if you usually buy the store brand.
5. Try to buy ahead. Stock up on items you regularly use when they are on sale.
So, that's about half the list of Plan tips. Next Thursday I post the other half. Remember, if you've got a great tip to share send it to me and I'll get it up. Cha-ching!