Showing posts with label Guest Post. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guest Post. Show all posts

Saturday, January 13, 2018

5 Easy Steps to Meal Planning Perfection

If your household budget is like mine, you know that food is a major expense.  Food is an expense you can easily cut through planning and thoughtful effort.  But how can you cut food expenses without going hungry?  The answer:  Meal Planning.
I am not very good at meal planning, but fortunately we have a guest post today from Holly who posts on the Official Coupon Code  blog that takes you through the steps to follow to save big-time on your grocery budget.
If you want to see your writing featured here on Penny Pincher Journal, here is how you can be featured on a guest post.
Thanks to Holly for providing this awesome guest post!

5 Easy Steps to Meal Planning Perfection

Guest Post by Holly

Do you spend too much on food? Maybe you have a drive-thru habit because it’s just easier than figuring out what to cook? Perhaps you find yourself throwing away a lot of spoiled food that never got used? Or maybe you find yourself running to the store for one or two ingredients before you can start dinner?

5 Easy Steps to  Meal Planning Perfection
5 Easy Steps to  Meal Planning Perfection

Relax! Meal Planning is a great way to solve all of these problems, and it’s a lot simpler than you might think.

I’ve been planning my household’s meals for several years now, and have managed to cut our grocery/food budget in half. Plus, meal times are a lot less stressful. I can just look at my plan and I’m ready to cook!

Perhaps you don’t know how to get started or think it’s too difficult or time-consuming. Not so! If I can do it, so can you. Here’s how.

1. Take Stock
First things first: start by taking stock of the food you already have. A quick glance through the pantry, fridge, and freezer may reveal ingredients you forgot about. Get a good idea of about how long each item will last and plan to use them accordingly. You should also be aware of which pantry staples you normally keep on hand, and replenish them as they get low.

2. Find Some Recipes
This step can be as adventurous or as mundane as you choose to make it. Personally, I like to have at least 2-3 new recipes on my list each week. It keeps our family meals fresh and appealing. Others may like to stick with familiar favorites. Either way is fine! The important thing is to have a plan in place.

If you’re looking for new recipes, the internet offers a variety of options. I often use sites like SuperCook or MyFridgeFood to find recipes that use ingredients I already have on hand or ones that are on sale this week. You can also search sites like Pinterest or AllRecipes to find new and different ideas. Or subscribe to email newsletters from your favorite food blogs or magazines to get recipes delivered right to your inbox!

3. Make Your List
There are some great, free tools out there for turning recipes into shopping lists. My personal favorite is CopyMeThat because it does all the work for me. I also love that I can simply pull up the shopping list on my phone while I’m at the store. Of course, the old pen and paper method works too, if you prefer. The important thing is to choose what works for you – the easier the better!

Include breakfast, lunch, dinner, beverages, household items, and snacks too. You want to make just one trip to the store for the whole week. Once you have all of your ingredients listed, check off anything that you already have. It may help to sort items by category too, so you can easily find everything at the store. And don’t forget to check for coupons!

4. Prep, Prep, Prep!
So, you’ve planned your meals and bought all the food you’ll need for the week. Now you’re done, right? Well, you can be, but to really get the most out of meal planning, it’s best to do some prep.

If you’ve seen those containers of pre-chopped veggies or pre-mixed salads at the grocery store, you’ve likely been a bit shocked by the prices. They can get away with charging so much because having pre-prepped ingredients makes cooking a breeze. Take advantage of this idea on the cheap by prepping as much as you can for the week, all at once. I find that in an hour or so on a Sunday afternoon, I can get all the chopping and portioning out of the way for the whole week.

If I know some days are going to be particularly rushed, I’ll use freezer meals to get us through. These are recipes that you make in advance, then freeze. On the day you’re going to use them, just thaw and pop them in the oven. Dinner’s done!

5. Stick with the Plan (but Not too Closely)
The most important thing is to make your meal plan work for your family. Sometimes that means veering off course and changing things up for a day. Sometimes it means reworking a recipe to fit what’s going on in your life at the time. Last week, when my husband came down with the flu, I converted a chicken marinade into a tasty chicken soup by adding a carton of veggie broth and slow cooking it all day.

The idea is to have a plan for the whole week, and stick to it as much as possible, but remember to be flexible when needed. You’ll be amazed at the time, food, stress, and money you can save just by spending a little time planning ahead!

About the Author: Holly is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to the Official Coupon Code blog. There you can find her tips on saving money, couponing, personal finance, and frugal family fun.

Copyright © 2018 by Dr. Penny Pincher.  All Rights Reserved.  Privacy Policy

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Are You Headed For A Debt Crisis?

Guest Post

Today I am excited to introduce Gary Foreman who is the creator of The Dollar  The Dollar Stretcher is one of top personal finance sites on the internet in terms of traffic and prestige and has been running since 1996, which is basically forever in internet years!  Thanks to Gary for providing this wisdom on avoiding a debt crisis and finding the way out of debt.

I am proud to have one of the top personal finance publishers on the internet write a guest post for my blog.

Without further ado, here's Gary:

“I don't really have a debt problem. Right?”

Do You Have A Debt Problem?
Do You Have A Debt Problem?
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We all know the story about the frog and boiling water. If you turn up the heat gradually the frog won't pay attention and will eventually be boiled. The same thing is true of debt. You'd never borrow $10,000 with nothing to show for it. But adding $100 or so to your credit card balance each month doesn't seem like a problem. Until the water starts to boil...

So how can you tell if like the frog, you debt is slowly killing you? We've come up with a list of indicators that it's time to be concerned about your debt. Review the list below and see if any of these apply to you:

If your credit card balance is over $10,000 and rising
If, after paying your bills, you don't have enough for your day-to-day living expenses (i.e. food, gas, etc)
If you've been late paying your rent or mortgage more than once in the past 12 months
If you're afraid to total up all your debts because you don't want to know how much you owe
If you've been hiding some debts from your mate
If the amount you owe on credit cards and personal loans is increasing each month
If you use a cash advance on one card to make a minimum payment on another
If the interest rate on your credit card increases to the upper teens or higher
If you have to choose which bill you'll pay late this month
If your credit card balance is more than 50% of your credit limit
If you've been rejected lately when you applied for a new credit card or personal loan
If you've paid overdraft fees twice in the last 3 months
If your credit score has dropped more than 25 points in the last 6 months
If the total that you pay in credit card minimum payments, student and personal loans totals more than 10% of your take home pay
If your mortgage is more than 30% of your take home pay
If car payments are taking up more than 15% of your take home pay
If you find that you don't have any money left at the end of the month to add to an emergency fund or retirement account

The Price You Pay for Being In Debt

Before you decide to do something about debt, you need to recognize what that debt is costing you. We've listed a few of the prices you pay for being in debt.

Higher interest rate for credit cards and personal loans
Some loans are not available to you
Higher auto insurance rates
Money spent on interest cannot be used for other things
Higher rate for home mortgage or home equity line
Lower credit score
You can't control how much you spend for past purchases each month

Is It Time to Take Action?

If you checked any of the problem indicators or find that you've suffered any of the costs of being in debt you have a choice to make.  You can continue to pay an ever increasing price for your debt and hope that eventually you don't lose everything in bankruptcy. Or you can take action to free yourself from it.  You can improve your penny pincher skills, and prioritize your bills. The choice is yours.

About the Author:
The Dollar Stretcher has been helping people "live better...for less" since 1996. Their free Dollar Stretcher Debt Course will introduce you to the tools you need to get out of debt. Sign up for their free weekly newsletter “Surviving Tough Times”. Each issue will show you ways to save money that can be used to reduce your debt burden. You'll also find at least one article specifically related to getting out of debt.

Copyright © 2016 by Dr. Penny Pincher.  All Rights Reserved.  Privacy Policy

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