The start of the new year is a perfect time to start afresh. For me, sometimes the motivation to set goals and start changing things up happens well before January 1 and sometimes I lag behind. This is a lag behind year. I kinda blame it on being under the weather for the last two weeks of December. I certainly was not at all motivated over plans and goals for 2012 while I was sniffling and sneezing and had a headache on top of it all.
Alas, the cold has cleared and I’m starting to feel some warm, fuzzy vibes. I still don’t have much of an appetite so I really haven’t been cooking (hence the lack of healthy recipes this week) but I’m getting close. In the last couple of days, though, I’ve been mulling financial goals in the back of my head. On the heels of my overall eating goals for 2012, here are my specific plans for saving money in the kitchen.
Setting a Food Budget – Confession time! For a single person, I spend ridiculous amounts of money on food. Armed with a budget and a solid menu plan, I know I’ll end up saving money. Hopefully being more organized will help prevent me from throwing food away which, lets face it, is a total waste of money.
Couponing – I used to cut coupons religiously and know people who currently save tons of money at the checkout. I’m not really sure when or why I stopped. I also confess to being intrigued by programs like Coupon Sense. My goal is to start cutting coupons, use them responsibly on items I actually need and donate the rest of what I buy to charity or my church pantry or a homeless shelter. [Raises right hand:] I swear on my honor that I won’t go all OCD and take it to the extreme because who really needs a ton of crap just because you can get it for free.
Farmers market – For months now I’ve considered the benefits of buying local, seasonal produce at a farmers market. The two farmer’s co-ops I visited disappointed me; the produce seemed overly pricey. That changed today when I stopped at a local produce stand (pictured above). After a chat with a friendly clerk I learned that the owners source much of their food locally and try to price it under big box grocery stores. Score!! I will definitely be visiting them again.
Preserving food – My inner-Martha gets a bit of food envy when I read about ambitious women who grow their own food and then can or freeze it. Growing fresh herbs is within my reach but my postage-stamp sized yard isn’t big enough to grow more than a novelty’s worth of veggies. Back to the produce stand where I can buy cheap veggies in season and preserve them in some yet-to-be-determined form or fashion.
Bulk cooking – The other concept I’m hot on is freezer cooking. Years ago I dragged my sister to one of those “meals in minutes” places where you assemble ingredients and seasonings for meals to stick in your freezer. I ♥ the concept but I hated the prices and was always thinking “I could do this in my own kitchen.” Thanks to the menu plans at Once A Month Mom I’m on the verge of finally putting this into practice; ‘m teaming up with 3 ladies to do a bulk cooking day this weekend. By buying ingredients in bulk, we should save money.
There you have it. Shop smarter and spend less. Those are my financial food goals for 2012.
Have you thought about how to save money in your kitchen in 2012?