Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Master Shopping List

So, for almost 2 weeks now I have been working on something AMAZING! At least, I think it's amazing because it is going to be making my life so much easier! Seriously, so excited! I got inspiration from Pinterest originally. See?

I saw this menu board and was so inspired! I spend SO much time couponing, menu planning, flipping through cookbooks, etc. every week and I knew this menu board was a must for me! So, while I started compiling my list of menu options so I could make those cute, color coded cards, I was inspired again! I wanted to make a master grocery list for myself that I could simply print out every week and have my list already made. Sounds magical, right? I know...

So, I sat down and made a list of ALL the things my family consumes every month, from produce to snacks to dinner items, to seasonings. I wrote it all down, PHEW! I had them sectioned off, by the way, starting with produce, Deli, Frozen, Dairy, Canned/Bottled, Baking, Grains, Snacks, Beverages, and Bulk items. After I had all my items, I took 3 different colored highlighters and went through to "label" my items: pink was once a month purchases, Orange were biweekly, and yellow was weekly. If it didn't end up with a label, that means I only purchase these items occasionally on an "as needed" type basis.

Now to the computer! I made four sheets in a word document (because I will be shopping weekly, so I have a schedule for week 1, week 2, etc). Then, I made each of my categories on each sheet and started dividing them up between the weeks. If there were 12 items under a certain category, I divided them equally, being careful to not pair 2 more pricey items together on the same week. And there I have my rough draft. I say rough draft because I may need to adjust my scheduling as I go to make it work better (we can't all be perfect the first time, right?). I think I got it pretty good though ;) After I did the food, I decided to include my cleaning and toiletry supplies in the schedule as well. Hubby will be so pleased to not have to run to the store for deodorant! Haha... I colored items that are periodic purchases in orange on my lists. So, if you'd like a template to make your own, click on the image below to download mine:

 Just as an additional tip, these lists are all things I CAN buy that week. Doesn't mean I have to if we have plenty in the pantry! Also, as I mentioned before, I'm a couponer. So, if a screaming deal arises that I gotta pounce on, I will be swapping those items out with a different list for that month, make sense? That way, I know I'm still saving the MOST money possible. Same goes with the meat (never know what's gonna go on sale!). My meat items listed are things we use in that genre of meat. I try to spend $20/week on meat for our family (or cheaper if I can!).

Also, if you wanna make your own fabulous menu board such as the one I shared above, I also have a template you can download for the cards. You will obviously want to fill in your own recipes, but it gives you an idea! You can download that one here.

 I hope I've inspired someone to get organized with your menu planning and grocery shopping! It really does save money and causes MUCH less stress since you won't forget anything at the store! With a master list, your pantry should stay well stocked and you should be avoiding impulse purchases. Only get what's allowed on your list! I read in a fabulous couponing mom book to look at your hours that you put in to saving your family money as your paycheck to your family each week. Love it! Hope your grocery shopping becomes more enjoyable and organized!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Space Saver Book Storage

 So, I have been working like crazy on so many projects around my house! But I am doing a post on something I actually created months ago! I took pictures back then, but I just made more tonight, so now I'm doing a tutorial finally! I got this idea from compiling different ideas I saw on Pinterest. I really liked the IKEA spice rack book storage, but we don't have an IKEA here and I really like to work with what I got ;) I saw someone else had used a double curtain rod to create some book slings! Genius! But I know how expensive curtain rods can be and since I'm a cheap skate, I thought, couldn't I just nail a pocket to the wall? And the answer is yes, my friends!

You start with a simple rectangle (mine measured about 20" by 27"). I totally eyeball them, though. Just fold your fabric in half to about the depth you want and the width, cut and voila, you are ready to sew!

If you can sew a straight line, you can make these, promise! Just fold it in half, right sides together and sew up the short sides. Then hem all the way around the top. Flip right side out and there you have it!

Now, for the nailing. Make sure you get that nail in the corner so the sides don't flop and make sure your nail head has a "lip" to it (meaning, your nail head is larger than the nail itself so the fabric doesn't just slip right over after you puncture it).

Cute, right? Vinyl makes everything better too! My kiddos really love sitting here and looking through all the books! I have some of these in each kids room and in the hallway between their rooms! Way better than a messy bookshelf around every corner!

Tips for a sturdy book sling:
  • A sturdy fabric is helpful to hold the weight of the books and the nail hole won't rip! ( I used flannel in these pictures)
  • Like I mentioned before, making sure you have a good size nail head!
  • Nailing also in the middle (only through the back layer) of the pocket and also through the double thickness is a good idea!
  • Sewing an additional vertical line down the middle to make separate pockets is good if your pocket is kinda long. This helps prevent a saggy middle!
Okay, so while I'm here and speaking about flannel, I thought I'd share some other things I've done with flannel around my house. Jo-Ann's always has that stuff for WAY cheap on Black Friday, so you gotta get creative, right?!