Friday, January 25, 2013

Tabletop Meal Prep

The number one rule of couponing is to Buy what you Use, Use What you Buy. It’s easy to convince yourself when a can of bean is only $.17 that you will use it. But then you get home and the can starts to collect dust.

It’s time to dust off our shelves and fix a meal.  Try the kitchen table approach to meal planning. Divide your table up into sections. Then gather all the items you have collecting dust in your stockpile. Let’s say, Stewed tomatoes is in your dusty pile. Place two cans together and look them over. Is there anything else you have that will help to make a meal? A box of flavored rice? Maybe some noodles? Now add those items together. Your meal is starting to form.

The difference is that once you bring the cans OUT of the stockpile shelves and place them in the kitchen, you will be more likely to whip up a meal. You can also see what you need to be using this week, and what needs to be on your shopping list. For example, If I had 2 cans of tomatoes, and a box of flavored rice, I would be looking for a fresh green pepper, and some spicy sausage to mix into the dish. Now I know what is on my list when I go shopping.

Next step is to look for a Johnsonville brat or sausage coupon, and a produce rebate. If I had tried to buy every items for each meal this week with coupons I would get overwhelmed. But just gathering a few is easy to handle. Always keep restocking your stockpile.

Last year I picked up lots of Ken’s salad dressing. In my Jan inventory, I found that I actually created reasons to use the free items. Now the replacement is on my HOT list. I’m on the lookout because I know it’s an item that saved me money last year. Your HOT list should be part of your hunting each week. This will help you to reduce your overall grocery list, and keep your stockpile saving you money.

One more thing.  Don’t put the stockpile items away.  I know, they look bad sitting out on the countertop.  But if you see them all week, you’ll use them up.  If you put them away, they will start to collect more dust bunnies. 

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