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Old 01-17-2010, 09:32 PM   #11
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Re: Need Help for planning "Frugal" weekly menus

I have been doing strategic coupon shopping with the help of a blog called southern savers. This blog does all the coupon/sale match-ups each week for major grocery stores here in the southern region, and even specifies which week a coupon came out in the paper (my coupon inserts are filed by date so I don't clip until I need it!) and she posts links to the printable coupons, too. I end up stockpiling and planning my meals around sales. I keep a mental list of what different meals I can make just with what I have on hand and what I might need so that when it goes on sale I remember to grab it. So my meals are determined ultimately by sales as long as I keep the basic staples on hand (oil, flour, rice, pasta, beans, broth, etc.) $40 a week feeds dh, 2 y/o son and myself.
Another system you might find useful is e-mealz, a weekly online meal planner subscription with recipes and a shopping list according to what is on sale that week. The recipes are delicious and cost about $80/week. My sis uses it and loves it for her family of four. Good luck!

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Old 01-24-2010, 11:13 PM   #12
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Re: Need Help for planning "Frugal" weekly menus

Whenever you buy ingredients and make a dinner, make two to three times the amount. Feed one portion to your family that night and freeze the other dinners. I am able to do this twice a week and I have a freezer now full of frozen/homemade meals. It comes in handy. My hubby can even make dinner if we need him to. I just call him and ask him to take out a 'pasta sauce' tupperware (I label them with office labels), drop the frozen mass into a pot on low heat with a cover. It unfreezes withing 15 minutes. He can make noodles and voila, dinner is served. This way you only dirty up your pots and pans one time, instead of two or three times. And, buying in bulk is usually cheaper. Here's an example. Ground beef is on sale at $2 a pound instead of $3. I go and buy three pounds (instead of the one I need for dinner). I go home and brown all three pounds, while in a very large pot, simmer three cans of pasta sauce, canned tomatoes, garlic, however you like it. I dump the meat into it when done. Make noodles. When the sauce cools down, divide it into three containers. One, into a serving bowl for dinner that night and the other two in their own tupperware or even a freezer ziploc. Slap a 'pasta sauce' label on the extra two and put them in the freezer. I've even added two cans of kidney beans to one of the pasta sauce tupperwares and labeled it chili to make it different. You can even put the frozen dinner (after you pop it out of it's tupperware, run under hot water if it doesn't come out fast) in a crock pot in the morning on low heat. By dinner time, you have warm chili ready. Serve with cheddar cheese and garlic bread or the chili alone. This method allows you to always have a dinner ready no matter what happens (you're sick or busy or emergency happens). It prevents you from having to eat out saving money and you save money from buying in bulk when there are sales!! Also, when my hubby was laid off, we were able to eat for two weeks with what was in our freezer without the stress of not having enough money for food!! I just had to restock the freezer with dinners when the paychecks came back in. Hope this helps!!
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