project pare: tracking spending

At heart I’m still a pen-to-paper kind of girl. After there’s no need to “log on,” never any wait time for a page to load and it doesn’t crash. It may burn, but I can’t remember that happening in recent memory.

100_3945Two years ago, I found this little organizer in one of stores I shop out that stocks closeouts as well as groceries. It’s not nationwide so I won’t mention it in this space. Although It took me until last year to start using it, as we’ve continued to become more budget conscious, I’ve found it invaluable for tracking and matching expenses. Especially food-related ones as they are our most frequent.

It also conveniently stores the coupons I occasionally clip and keeps my receipts from becoming mashed at the bottom of my purse.

100_3947If you click this link, it will take you to the page on Mead’s website where you can purchase it if you’re interested. There are only two downsides that I can see to this…they don’t have any refill packs for purchase and it would be great for them to develop a companion product to Organizehim.

So how about you…pen & paper or digital? Have you found any products that help you organize and track your spending? Please share!

project pare, where I’ve been, where I’m headed

100_8612

Yes I’ve been a little MIA here. Summertime, and a season to adjust to all kids in school and a new job for my husband and well, the days quickly add up to months which usher in a new year.

Not that I will rehash the last six months in detail, but generally, I’ve been doing much thinking and praying about this site and where God would use me and the time He’s provided. So in addition to dusting off these pages, I’m also inching toward the goal of applying my life coaching certificate to helping people reach their healthy eating, fitness and financial goals. That’s where I’ve been and where I’m *hopefully* headed, in a nutshell.

Now onto Project Pare.

100_1619

I’ve continued to work at streamlining my meal planning and shopping list creation approach. Though I haven’t exactly scrapped this idea, neither have I used it, because I ran out of enthusiasm while waiting to find a cheap, eco-friendly solution to apply it weekly. The inner perfectionist in me rears it’s ugly head once again.

So I opted for a low-tech approach by handwriting my menu and shopping list weekly on scraps of paper. Sometimes low tech just works better. It’s certainly helped me improve on ensuring all the items needed for the week make it onto the grocery week, but I still think I can improve on reducing the time I spend on this task.

Here’s my goal: Take just a few hours one day a month to create a monthly meal plan complete with weekly grocery shopping lists.

So how about you…do you plan out your meals? How far in advance? Do you prefer pen & paper to plan or do you use technology? If you’re a techie meal planner, what apps or websites do you like best?

If you don’t plan meals currently, would you invest in some coaching if you knew it would save you time and money in the long run?

And…share 🙂

 

 

 

 

project pare: creating a pantry list

I like organize and streamline and simplify. As I shared yesterday, because life is complicated, especially with having four growing children, I look for areas in our lives where we can cut back here so we can spend more there.

However, I’m learning that sometimes simplifying is not so simple, especially when it comes to planning meals.

I thought it would be fun to capture this journey in real time, to share with you my challenges in pruning our grocery expenses and paring back the time I spend thinking about what our family will eat.

And what would a challenge be without a name? I’ll call this series: Project Pare.

Project Pare: Creating a Pantry List

Meal planning, preparation and shopping consume much of my time, so it’s one of the biggest areas where I’m most interested in streamlining. I spent 30 minutes the other evening just looking for the best meal planning strategies and have spent countless more minutes (hours?) thinking about it. I find it ironic that the very area where I’m trying to save time is actually costing me more time.

However, I’m trusting that I will reap the benefits come fall when our busy back-to-school schedule picks up again.

One of the tips I gleaned from Pinterest comes from The Resourceful Gals. I liked their idea of creating a pantry list to help formulate a shopping list. Ultimately, I forget at least one thing at least one time each week. If it’s an essential ingredient, then I head back to the store to pick it up – costing me more time and money.

Thankfully, I had already started a list of sorts for another project so this saved me some time and I can re-use it for other ideas I have for tracking food expenses.

Below are a picture of my list and a PDF so you can copy and paste the text if you’d like to use it to start your own pantry list – modifying it, of course, for your pantry. See below the picture for some notes on this list.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW, PRINT OR COPY A PDF of the pantry list

foodpantrylist

  • I used Word to create the list, setting the margins @ .2″, five columns and using a small typeface.
  • For a plant-based food website, you might be surprised to see meat & dairy on my list. However, my family is a hybrid of a plant-based eater (me) and occasional meat & dairy eaters (my husband and children). While I would love for all of us to eat the same way, that’s not the way it’s worked out and I need to honor that.
  • Items with an asterisk indicates items I choose to buy organically most of the time. If you have specific questions about my other abbreviations, just leave a comment.