Episode 122 4 Tips for Busy Weeks

Podcast has tips to help get diner on the table during busy weeks.

Everyone has weeks that are just extra-busy. Last week was one of those crazy weeks for me. This week’s podcast has my four best tips for feeding your family when life is extra-busy.

 

Plan

Take the time to look at your calendar and plan out your meals. Use the Feed Your Family Tonight Weekly Meal Planning Sheet. You can get the free download, or get the Meal Planning Notebook so you don’t have to think about printing out the sheets.

 

Set your dinner bell. You may be having dinner in shifts. If that is the case, plan on meals that can be in the oven on warm, in the slow cooker, or ones that reheat easily.

 

Do a little prep. I am not a fan of massive prep cooking sessions, but I may make some Turkey Sausage or a Breakfast Casserole to eat on during the week.

Get your grocery shopping done early. Now is a great time to use grocery pickup or grocery delivery services.

 

Use the Grocery Store for Shortcuts

The grocery store can let you “buy time” by purchasing foods that are prepped for you.

Buy baby carrots and pre-washed salad greens.

Buy a veggie tray with dip for easy snacking.

Buy single-serve snacks for quick and easy snacks for you and your kids.

Buy frozen food. Think about pre-cooked chicken for salads, meatballs, potstickers, and frozen lasagna for shortcut meals.

Look at the deli. I like to buy rotisserie chickens, fried chicken, or takeout Chinese. It is much less expensive than getting food from a restaurant.

Use the butcher. Many stores will cook your fish or cut your meat for you at no extra charge. Get to know the full services offered at the butcher counter. It can save you lots of time.

 

Use Your Freezer Stash

If you are like me and have food in the freezer like taco meat, cooked chicken, or chicken broth, use it! So many times, we are saving those foods for “busy nights” and we don’t want to “waste” our freezer stash. It is there to serve you. Use it during a busy week.

Plan on Using a Backup Meal

Backup meals are meals you can get on the table in 20 minutes or less with ingredients you keep in the house all the time. It is okay to plan to use one of these simple meals on a busy week

This post contains affiliate links.

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

For a transcript click here

Episode 120 How to Shop Grocery Sale Ads

Title of Episode is How to Shop Grocery Sales Ads

There are three kinds of people when it comes to shopping grocery sales.

  1. Doesn’t pay attention to the sales. If something is on sale it is just a bonus.
  2. Shops several stores each week and aims to get the lowest price on everything they purchase.
  3. Somewhere in the middle. Pays attention to the sales, but does not worry if they don’t get the best price on every item.

I am the third type of sale shopper. Growing up my mother was much closer to the second type of shopper. I learned a lot about maximizing grocery sales from her.

 

You want to create your own personal grocery sales strategy. You want to consider your season of life and your budget. There are times in my life where the final prices were most important and times when I couldn’t shop at several stores each week and convenience was more important.

 

Start by getting to know the stores you frequent. I follow the sales of three stores. Get to know their sales cycles and the everyday prices of the items you frequently purchase. Episode 115 talks about base ingredients.

  •                 Stores like Walmart and ALDI have an everyday low-price strategy
  •                 Stores like Sprouts have great sale prices but many of their other items are more expensive.
  •                 Stores like Kroger are middle of the road. They will not have the most or least expensive items.
  •                 One store’s “sale” price may be more expensive than another store’s every day price.

The easiest way to simply sale shopping is to focus on the price of meat and produce. Because I buy most of my staples during deep dive quarterly shopping (episode 99) I am mostly purchasing meat and produce weekly.

Meat and produce are often “loss leaders” in grocery ads. This means the store sells the item at or below cost to get you in the store and purchase other more profitable items.

To maximize your savings, you need to be flexible in your meal planning.

  • Plan your meals around the protein and produce that is on sale.
  • Buy in-season produce for the highest quality and best price.

Some items only come on sale once or twice a year. You may want to stock up.

                At Thanksgiving time, you will see these items on sale:   

  • Turkey Breast
  • Butter
  • Stuffing Mix

                At back-to-school time you will see these items on sale:

  • Granola Bars
  • Dry Cereal

A few red flags to watch for:

You cannot “spend yourself rich.” If you don’t need or use the item don’t buy it just because it is a great deal.

                Watch out for buy 5 get $5.00 off or buy 10 get $10 off deals.

  • If you don’t need 5 of the item it is not a deal.
  •  Sometimes you can mix and match items. Look for non-food items to fill out the number requirement like dish soap.

                Watch out for buy one, get one free sales.

  • Sometimes the items will ring at 50% off. You only need to buy one.
  • Sometimes the “free” item is a lesser value.
  • Read the fine print to maximize savings.

 

In the end, shopping sales can be very personal. For some people it is worth the time and effort to go to several stores to get the best price. For others, it is more important to focus on a few key items and plan your meals around sale meat and produce.

 

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

For a full transcript click here

Episode 108 Pre-Holiday Shopping for Basics

Years ago, Lisa Woodruff of Organize 365 talked about how she would do a big shopping trip in early December to stock up on basic items. I thought it was brilliant. I have been doing this for years and it has been a huge part of getting organized for the holidays. I have taken it one step further and now like to do a big shopping trip once a quarter.

 

First, know that a big shopping trip may not be in your budget. That is okay. You may want to just buy a few weeks of basic items.https://feedyourfamilytonight.com/holiday/

The Feed Your Family Tonight Holiday Planning Guide has printable sheets for your pre-holiday shopping lists.

You want to set a time to do this shopping trip. I highly recommend doing it on a weekday morning or a Sunday morning if you need to do it on the weekend. Put it on your calendar and honor that appointment with yourself.

There are two pieces to the pre-holiday shopping for basics. The first is “basic” items that include paper products, cleaning products, personal care items, and over the counter medicines and vitamins. The second is basic food items.

Before you decide what food items you are going to buy, think about how you eat during this busy season. Are you making soups and stews? Are you super busy and rely on frozen convenience foods like frozen meatballs or potstickers? What kind of canned goods, frozen foods, baking supplies, and dry goods do you use frequently? Do you need to buy coffee, tea, or hot chocolate mix? If you drink alcohol, you may want to stop at the liquor store too. By examining the kinds of foods you plan to eat, you are helping yourself meal plan in the weeks ahead. You can plan your meals around the staples you have purchased. This limits your choices and makes meal planning much easier.

Be warned, now is not the time to be aspirational in your purchases. Be realistic. You may want to make lots of meals from scratch, but know that in reality you are going to reach for fast and easy meals. That is not to say that you won’t make a special meal or two. You can go and get the ingredients later. This is the time to get items you will really use. I stock up on frozen fruits and veggies, canned tomatoes, canned beans, and lots of pasta. I get the ingredients I need for most of my holiday baking too.

A word about how to execute the shopping trip. Lisa Woodruff advises to start at the store farthest away from your house and work your way home. You may need to put a cooler in your car to hold frozen items if that store is farthest away. I live in Wichita, Kansas and everything is 15 minutes from my house so it is not as big of a deal, but if you are in a large city and need to drive far to get to a big box store, it is worth it to put a cooler in the car so you don’t have to rush home.

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

For a transcript click here

Episode 99 Deep Dive Grocery Shopping

I first learned about deep dive shopping from Lisa Woodruff at Organize365. She recommends doing a big shopping trip at the beginning of December to buy enough staples to get you to January. I have found that doing a deep shopping trip 2-3 times a year can really save me time and help with meal planning all year long.

 

When looking at deep dive shopping trips the first thing you want to consider is your budget. If it is super tight, you may only be able to stock up on a few items. If you have a little flexibility and can stock up in a big shopping trip you will spend much less time and money on your future shopping trips.

 

Once you clean out your pantry and freezer for fall (Check out Fall Dinner Game Plan.) You can look at your Master Meal Planning Sheet and see the kinds of foods you want to eat in the fall and winter. Think about the ingredients you need for those meals and stock up on the basics. In my house that means stocking up on canned goods like pumpkin, tomatoes, and beans. I get pantry items like chicken broth, pasta, and oats. I also fill my freezer with frozen veggies, fruits, and meats.

 

You also want to think about non-food items. Stock up on paper products (like toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins.) Get all your cleaning supplies like hand soap, laundry soap, dishwasher soap, and bleach. Stock up on personal care items like shampoo, deodorant, and makeup. This will make your future grocery trips smaller and faster. You will only need to buy perishable items like fresh fruit, veggies, and meats.

Once you have a list of all the items you need, plan your shopping trip. It is best to shop on a weekday morning without children. If you can’t do it on a weekday morning, the next best time is Sunday morning. It is hard doing deep dive shopping when the stores are extra busy on Friday afternoons or Saturdays. Start with the store that is farthest away from your house and work your way home. You may need to put a cooler in your car for frozen items.

 

By doing a deep dive shopping trip, you will help yourself meal plan. With a well-stocked freezer and pantry, it is easier to decide what is for dinner. You make meals around the ingredients you have on hand. It helps with decision fatigue because you have fewer choices. One ingredient can be used many ways. For example, I use frozen mixed veggies in pot pie, tater tot casserole, soup, and fried rice. One simple ingredient has many uses and helps me narrow my decisions.

Be sure to set up a system to note when you are running low on an item. In my house, everyone knows that when they use the last of an item to write it on the calendar. It is super frustrating to expect to have something from the pantry and find out it is gone.

For a transcript of this episode click here

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

Episode 80 Finding Your Best Place to Buy Groceries

Finding your best place to buy groceries means you have to decide what is most important to you. Is it prices, convenience, safety, freshness or something else? Your values may change in different seasons of your life. What is most important is that you decide what you value now, decide where to shop based on that value and then stop second guessing yourself.

We make thousands of micro decisions each week and the more we can “batch” our decisions, the more brain space we create. You can decide where to shop each week, or decide where to shop for a season of life. Just free yourself from all the second guessing once you have made your decision.

 

Episode 76 Grocery Pickup or Delivery 101

Episode 52 Introducing the Feed Your Family Tonight Holiday Planning Guide 2019

We are at episode 52 which means we have reached 1 year of the Feed Your Family Tonight podcast. Thank you so much for all your support and for spending a little time with me each week.

 

This week I am introducing the Feed Your Family Tonight Holiday Planning Guide 2019.

 

This comprehensive holiday planner ebook has 30 pages of planning tips and tricks to help you have the best holiday season ever. It includes pages for planning and many printable worksheets to help you get organized this holiday season.

  • Food for the Holiday Season
  • Pre-Holiday Shopping for Basics
  • Holiday Activities
  • Holiday Gift Guide
  • Holiday Shopping
  • Gift Wrapping
  • Holiday Decorating
  • Holiday Donations
  • Christmas Cards
  • Planning for Large Gatherings (such as Thanksgiving Dinner)

You get all these planning pages and several printable worksheets including the Gift Giving List which is my favorite. It will help you make less trips to the store and save on shipping.

You can get your copy of the digital download here.