Why You Need a Kitchen Inventory

Get your notepad!  Time to take a kitchen inventory!!!

In my quest to cut my grocery budget, I decided I needed to an inventory of my freezer, spices and pantry items.  It really was not an exciting thing to do by any means, but my daughter helped and we got through it pretty fast!  It is also one of those things that after you finish doing it, you feel good about it, after all, it will probably save you time and money later!


I typically make a quick list when going to the grocery store, but my $50 trip quickly turns into $150 because I keep going there without a true plan in place.  I have been notorious for going to the grocery store and picking up extra things because I cannot remember if I have it on hand or not.  My spice cupboard is a clear example of this!  I have several bottles of the same spice due to my lack of planning.


The inventory has also been great because it has cut down on what I have been purchasing over the past month.  I have been forcing myself to get creative and clean out my cupboards and freezer.  I have been in desperate need to get my freezer cleaned out so I can defrost it since we are getting a 1/2 a cow.


Lastly, I have included a printable for you and your inventories!  The spice printable fits beautifully in my cupboard and I can quickly look to see what I have on hand or what I need to get more of.  I am going to keep my other inventories in my recipe binder I use for my meal planning.  This way I can easily see what I have on hand when I make my grocery list.

Happy Inventory Taking!

PS-If this seems like a large task, split it up and do on different days or at different times!

Get my Kitchen Inventory Printable here!


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My Meal Plan for Two Weeks-How To!

My Meal Plan for Two Weeks-How To!

This week, I decided I am jumping in, it is time do the meal planning! I see it in so many places and have actually been excited to try it.

The whole process of planning took me about an hour, although, I had done some things in advance to make it easier later.


Steps of How To Meal Plan

1.) Start by collecting recipes ahead of time!

  • Gather recipes you know your family already loves and keep it in a binder.  Not only are they in one easy to locate spot, but they are easy to page through.
  • Make mental notes or write down meals that your family already loves!  This way when you sit down, it is all right there and you are not having a “mental block.”

2.) Print out My Meal Planning Worksheet! 

    • My worksheet has enough room to plan two weeks worth of meals (1x/day)

3.) Pull our your recipe binder and PLAN!

  • Write in any days you know you have things going on.  For example, we currently have soccer on Thursday nights so I made a note on that day as a reminder.   Busy Nights = Quick and Easy Meals
  • Choose a leftover night…or two
  • Put your “labor intense” or larger meals a night or two BEFORE leftover night.  This way leftovers do not go to waste from not getting ate soon enough!  And do yourself a favor-EAT LEFTOVERS!
  • Try to put a slow cooker meal once a week.  I choose a night I already know I am not going to want to make supper…because hey, I know me!  It is sometimes helpful to put a reminder on the sheet such as “SC” to keep you ahead of the game.
  • I like to keep my “veggie and fruit” section open so I can see what is on sale at the store
  • Keep an -open- or -free- night on the worksheet.  I am using this space to either go out to eat, get a pizza or do an easy kid-pleasing meal (even though I like chicken nuggets as much as the kids…).  This spot could also be used for a week when you have a t
    I forgot to print the page in color!

    on of leftovers!

4.) Write down recipe ingredients on the back of the paper

  • Write down only potentially needed ingredients!  If you know you do not need salt and pepper, do not write it down, it just makes everything more overwhelming!
  • Put a tally in front of the ingredients so you can easily see if you need 2 cans of green beans.-again, keep it easy.

5) Check your kitchen pantry, freezer, and fridge to see what you already have on hand. Cross things off your list you do not need or adjust your count.

6.) Make your final grocery list.

  • Include all things off of your meal planning list
  • Add any additional things to your list.  Ex. Toilet Paper, soap, etc.

7.) Go Shopping!

Additional Tips

  • If you are really wanting to save money, plan your meals around your stores weekly sales.  Pair sales with coupons for even better deals!
  • Before I started meal planning, I cleaned out my pantry, freezer and fridge out quite a bit.  I did this without a meal plan and just got creative(it was a little more stressful though).
  • Do not allow yourself to go to the grocery store if you can help it.  If you do, ONLY allow yourself to buy necessities such as milk.
  • If you run out of an ingredient, improvise!! No Exceptions! Make a different meal, google how to substitute an ingredient.
  • Have your family pick out a favorite meal or two to make it easier on you when it comes to planning.
  • Keep a kitchen inventory to make planning go faster.

Happy Planning


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Why I Want to Start Meal Planning

My man-friend farms, they have hogs, beef cattle and crops.  After they do a turn* of pigs, the hog barns require a deep cleaning to prepare for the next group of small pigs that will come in.  Doing these deep cleans take several days and man power, which equals hungry men.  Since all the women work out of the home, we typically use a slow cooker meal to feed everyone a good, hearty lunch.

There has been a turn of pigs lately, and I have been busy cranking out a lot of different slow cooker meals.  I have been doing things from egg bakes to tator tot hotdish in my slow cooker- and it has been so easy! The hardest thing is deciding what to make.

This has inspired me over last week to start doing slow cooker meals several nights a week for supper.  I HAVE BEEN LOVING IT!!!!  At night, there is hardly any dishes which is ALWAYS a good thing in my book-I hate doing dishes (I use Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners 2 Pack (8 Liners Total). ) I love not having to think about what I am going to make for supper every night!  It is wonderful to spend the extra time with my family instead of being stressed about what I am making for supper.  Isn’t it crazy how stressful the thought of making supper becomes?

This has lead me to the thought of meal planning.  This is obviously not a new concept, and there are many how to videos and posts of how to do them.   Coming home and not having to worry about supper has helped so much, I would think that having a plan about what I am making for supper would help to.  Come home, grab the ingredients and hop to it- no thinking and getting frustrated about wondering what I am going to make for supper.

I am also expecting this to help with my grocery budget.  No longer will I just be buying things”just in case I want to make that for supper,” but rather, I need to buy these the things to get through supper during week.  In addition, I am also hoping to push my family grocery shopping to once every two weeks.  Yes, I am going to do it and who knows, maybe I will because bold and push it out even more.

Check out two of my favorite meal planning YouTube videos: Mrs. Mom Next Door Meal Planning 101

Happily a Housewife How to Meal Plan


*a turn is when they have finished out the hogs and they are ready for market.

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