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Save Your Grocery Budget – Be Prepared For The Unexpected

By Susanne Myers

Planning a weekly menu has saved you both time and money. However, not all weeks run as smoothly as we would like. That stop after work to check on your insurance bill took a lot longer than expected. Now you’re running behind picking the kids up from school, and come to find out you need to stop at the hardware store because your little one needs a paint brush to complete the project that you didn’t think was due until next week.

Dinner was all planned for tonight. That is, if you had been home on time, as planned. You would have slid that Lemon Baked Fish into the oven and dinner would have been on the table at 5:30 just like you planned. But, instead, you are rushing through the fast food drive-thru for something to feed your hungry family. You know it’s not going to be nutritious, but your plan has failed and you were not prepared.

Your best-laid plans are an ideal. Certainly, you hope that nothing interferes with these plans, but something always does. Planning for a disruption isn’t something we very often do successfully. The Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared” may be your solution to this problem. When the inevitable happens and your menu plan is messed up, you need to have a back-up plan prepared and ready to put into play.

If your weekly menu plan fails because of an interrupted schedule, you need a quick-reference recipe finder. This is something that would give you a “grab ‘n’ go” meal idea for a night that didn’t quite allow enough time for your wonderful meal plans. When things start falling apart during the day and you just know you’ll never be on time to put your roast in the oven, your mind starts to go astray right along with your day and your meal plan. The more rushed you feel, the more likely you are to drive through the fast food place and then your meal, and your budget, really suffers. Time to regroup. Let’s try these three steps to create a back-up plan.

FIRST STEP: Gather seven of your favorite really fast and really easy recipes. The recipes that require very few ingredients are the best. They should be nutritious and delicious so that when you serve them, you won’t feel like you’re sacrificing. They’re typically a one dish meal that you throw together and your family asks for again and again. You know you’ve got a few of these types of recipes rolling around in your head, so just quickly jot them down. Write these seven quick and easy meals on individual note cards.

SECOND STEP: Pick a cupboard or pantry door in your kitchen, and attach some peel-and-stick bulletin board cork squares inside and pin your recipes to the cork board. If you don’t want to attach cork board inside your cupboards, tape an envelope to the back of a cupboard door and place your recipe cards inside the envelope. Your favorite go-to recipes are now all set when you need to use your back-up plan. Another advantage to having these recipes ready, is you can now call on your family to start some of the prep work if they can just grab the recipe card and begin.

THIRD STEP: The last thing you’ll need, but possibly the most important thing, is a grocery list. This is a permanent grocery list that you’ll keep in your purse or your car. Start with a list of your recipes and their ingredients. Simplify the list of ingredients so that you eliminate the things that you always have in your pantry, like oil and salt. Once you get your recipes down to the basic ingredients, make out one simple shopping list for all your back-up recipes. Now if you decide to make Quick & Easy Bean Soup, you’ll see what you need to grab at the grocery store to make this recipe. If you decide to make Oven Fried Chicken Tenders, you’ll grab those few items that you need for that. The idea is that you have a grocery list all ready to shop with. You don’t have to wander aimlessly through the aisles, thinking about what to buy.

If you’re thinking “But it took so much effort just to create one menu plan and now I’ve got to create another one?” you’re half right. Of course, it takes time to create a menu plan, but it saves a lot more time down the road. A back-up plan not only saves time, but money. There will always be disruptions to your best-laid plans. When you prepare yourself for those disruptions, you can move a bit more smoothly along a solution. No more frazzled stops at the drive-thru to pick up a high fat, low nutrition, big money, dinner for your family.

So, who needs a back-up plan? We all do. Won’t it be great to look at your watch when you’re running behind for dinner and think, “oops… Plan B” instead of “EEEEK! Now What”? You’ll enjoy your drive home, you’ll enjoy your time with the family, and you’ll enjoy your own favorite meals… even if they are Plan B!

Planning meals is one way we suggest to Save Money in your budget, but there are many more tips, such as switching to Natural Beauty Products That Are Cheap and just as good as the more expensive department store stuff. Every penny counts on your way to financial stability!

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Myers, Susanne "Save Your Grocery Budget – Be Prepared For The Unexpected." Save Your Grocery Budget – Be Prepared For The Unexpected. 25 Aug. 2010. 28 Oct 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Myers, S (2010, August 25). Save Your Grocery Budget – Be Prepared For The Unexpected. Retrieved October 28, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Myers, Susanne "Save Your Grocery Budget – Be Prepared For The Unexpected"

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