We all know the drill. You walk into the grocery store with a long list and a finite budget. The last thing you want to do is spend two weeks’
worth of grocery money on one week of food. But prices these days make it
ever more challenging to stay within a budget.
As the mother of 10 kids—most of them hungry teens and preteens—I believe
in the power of a good grocery list. But saving money goes beyond list-making.
And it doesn’t doom you to endless beans and rice.
Think in terms of meals, not just ingredients. Before I head to the store, I
sit down with a notebook and a heap of cookbooks and plan two weeks of
dinners. Half the meals are family favorites. Pasta, Thai food and pizza are
regulars at our house. Then I thumb through cookbooks and fill the rest of
the two-week menu with new and interesting-sounding recipes.
When trying new recipes, I focus on taste, cost and ease of cooking. Don’t
overlook ethnic food. I’ve found Chinese, Mexican and Ethiopian food to be
both affordable and delicious. Once I have each day’s dinner figured out, I
write down needed ingredients for each recipe. I then fill out the grocery list
with pantry staples and easy breakfast and lunch items.
Shopping with a complete list means fewer trips to the store, which cuts back
on impulse buying, a real budget-breaker. Where you shop is important too.
I’ve been a Costco member almost as long as I’ve been a tightwad. Family-sized items make pantry-stocking a cinch. Affordable prices and unbeatable
quality lets you buy with confidence.
If you are looking to expand your cooking repertoire, this year’s Costco
cookbook, Home Cooking The Costco Way, is a great place to start. All of these
recipes can be made with products available at Costco. I think you’ll love the
convenience and the taste, and of course, the value.
Wishing you all the best on your own cooking adventure!
Mary Ostyn is the author of Family Feasts for $75 a Week (available at Costco.com).
She blogs at http://owlhaven.net.