Lots of other financially-minded blogs are screaming right now about the need for a budget, discipline in the shopping season, and how to not go wildly off the tracks with your Christmas shopping. I’ll try not to add to the confusion, but I have a few suggestions.
When you fix meals now, I mean starting right now, today, save at least one serving out of every meal. Put it in a freezer-safe container, label it in at least 2 places on the packaging so it’s obvious what it is, and put it in the freezer. If you start now, today, which is November 8th, then even if you only cook 4 days a week, by the end of this month you will have 12 meals in the freezer. That’s 12 meals, already cooked and ready to just thaw and re-heat and put on the table. That way, when you head into the craziness that is between Thanksgiving and Christmas, if you have a crazy day and either can’t or won’t cook, you’ll have meals ready without the work. If you can’t face a bunch of chopping and timer-setting and measuring, you’ll have these emergency meals to save your day. Best news is, it is meals you have already made and approved of, so you know who in your family likes what, so you won’t be disappointing anyone.
Don’t buy EVERYTHING at the grocery store every week. All the budgeting practice and all the paring down you have done all year long will pay off now. Cut even more off your grocery list, and only buy:
- Fresh items that are on sale
- Items that are free or close to it with deals and coupons
- Items you have an immediate need for
If you slice your list even more this next week or two, you’ll have a little breathing room in your budget for:
- That last-minute ingredient you need to create that dish you were counting on serving.
- Extra baking supplies for the cookies/goodies you are making to give away as presents
- A little extra in your budget for extra gas since you’ll be doing more driving than is your normal habit throughout the year
It’s worth just making these two small changes, you’ll thank yourself later.