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Kitchen Organization Saves $

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Part of getting my grocery bill down is getting my kitchen organized. How does this help?

1. All drawers have silverware caddies, plastic bins, or even cardboard boxes so stuff stays separated. I can immediately see what I'm after. Time is money. This also helps prevent me from buying something I already have.
2. Kitchen towels and wash cloths are stored under the sink in lidded plastic bins. Protects from possible leaks, looks tidy, and I free up drawer space.
3. Do not buy commercially made cleaners. I have Baking soda, tea tree oil, lemon juice, white vinegar, and borax under my sink. They do the same job and are loads cheaper. I just saved the spray bottles I had from those cleaners and reused them for my much cheaper stuff.
4. I NEVER buy herbs and spices from the grocery store. Spices come from the co-op. This allows me to buy small quantities of spices I use less. No danger of them getting old and loosing flavor. Herbs are from the garden. As soon as my fresh herbs are ready to be picked I throw out all the old. When fall comes I dry them and use until next season.
5. Food waste is a huge issue. Have a plan.
6. Schedule a specific day and time to shop. This saves gas and reduces impulse buying.
7. Do not put your tin cans or non-refundable aluminum cans in the curbside recycle bins. Salvage yards PAY YOU for your metal. Just make sure they are clean and you do not mix the types of metal. Currently, in my area, I can get around 6 cents a pound for tin cans and .37 cents a pound for aluminum cans.

Menu planning is, as we already know, a HUGE money saver. Here is what I do.

The Binder-

There are many different ways to organize your meal planning. First, know yourself. For me the binder works. If I were to use, say 3x5 cards, they would be scattered all over the house. I am absent minded so a huge white book is easy to find when I randomly set it down somewhere. I have larger tabs to mark each month with smaller 'sub' tabs that are numbered to indicate the menu number. I have as many as 12 different menus to choose from each month. Menus within each month are also based on peak produce seasons. I merely decide which # I am going to use. I use an editable menu planner from The Project Girl.
[URL="http://www.theprojectgirl.com/resources/theprojectgirl-mealplanner2-FILLABLE.pdf"]
meal planner[/URL]

Behind each menu are the recipes that go with that week. The exception is if I use that recipe in another menu. If that is the case there is a cross reference to the menu that has the recipe behind it. For instance Menu #59 in November has Bourbon Glazed Ham for dinner. In December, Menu #72 calls for the same meal. It will note Nov-#59 behind that meal so I know where to go. Yeah, I just saved money on paper and ink...

The App-

I use Cozi to organize...my life. Each of my numbered menus has a corresponding grocery list saved on Cozi. Not only can I pull up whichever list I need, my husband has access to the same list on his phone. Woot! Delegation! This app also sends texts to family members reminding them to do specific chores at specific times. Household rule is OBEY YOUR PHONE.

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