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How To Meal Plan With Coupons

November 06, 2012 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: About the Family, Healthy Living, Organization, organizing No Comments →

Meal planning takes much of the guesswork out of cooking. It ensures you know what you’re going to make each day. It also helps you save a bit of money because you’re going to the supermarket with a list. Just buy what’s on the list, nothing else, and you’ll save money. But there’s another way you can save money with meal planning, and that’s by integrating it with couponing.

Step #1 Gather Your Weekly Supermarket Flyers

The first step is to sit down with the weekly sales flyers. This is where you’ll learn that chicken breasts are on sale and blueberries are a buck a pint. Base your initial meal planning on the flyers, because the majority of your meals will be from the produce section and there generally aren’t too many coupons for produce.

Inevitably, once you have an outline for your meals that week, you’ll need to also add some staples to your list. These may be things like yogurt, cereal, and bacon for breakfast on Sunday, crackers for the kids’ lunches and so on. It’s time for the second step.

Step #2 Scour Coupons

Now it’s time to tap into all of your coupon resources. These may be in your newspaper supplements, in your mail box and in magazines. You can also find downloadable and printable coupons online. It’s a great money-saving resource.

Clip or download only the coupons that match items on your list. You’ll ideally find coupons to cover just about every staple on your list and you may find some produce coupons too. Produce coupons are usually for bags of vegetables or salads. Sometimes you can find coupons for eggs and milk too. Clip these!

It’s also a great idea to clip any coupons that you think you might use next time. You can then work next week’s grocery list around the flyers and the coupons you already have. Additionally, don’t forget to clip coupons for household products like paper towels. Sometimes it just makes sense to stock up.

Step #3 Go Shopping

Head to the store and shop from your list. In a perfect world every item on your list will either be on sale or have a coupon, or both. Track your savings. Also track how your weekly meal planning went. Did you have to run to the store mid-week for anything? Make adjustments to your meal planning routine to prevent this from occurring.

Meal planning is a super way to save money and to reduce stress. Add in a smart couponing strategy, and grocery shopping becomes an efficient and budget friendly process.  Check out  Meal Planning Central for a free meal planning report.

To find out how to get organized and put these strategies to use right away, visit: The Definitive Guide to Home Organization for Busy People today and get your life and home organized and clutter free forever!

Back To School Supplies

July 26, 2010 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Children, organizing No Comments →

It’s that time of year – getting smart about your back to school checklist and your back to school supplies is very important.

(ARA) – The back to school bug is in the air as summer camps start to wrap up, teachers head back to their classrooms and parents start reviewing class lists for this year’s required school supplies.

But back-to-school doesn’t have to be a stressful season if parents and teachers prepare early and take advantage of deals and offers.

Here are some smart ideas for how to get organized this school year:

* Review the clothes closet. Your child has likely grown over the summer and may need some new items. Try everything on (including shoes), to avoid any last-minute surprises, and make a list of what you need to replace. Consider donating anything that doesn’t fit to a charity.

* Start planning your family schedule for the school year. Make it a priority to review how your children are getting to school, when they’ll be arriving back home, how they’ll get to any after-school activities and when they’ll have time to do homework. Taking the time to review the schedule as a family before the first bell rings will help to make sure the first day goes smoothly.

Back To School Supplies

* Check the back to school supplies list and start stocking up as soon as you can to avoid the last minute rush before school starts. Make sure your child has everything on their school supply list such as backpacks, binders, notebooks, and pencils.

Purchasing new school supplies doesn’t have to break the bank when you know how to find the right deals. Take advantage of penny specials being offered at stores like Office Depot beginning on July 26. You can find core supplies like pencils, rulers, glue sticks, folders, scissors and more for just $1 and under. Be sure to check the Sunday circulars in your local paper all summer long to learn about free promotions going on as well.

Need some help figuring out what’s hot for back-to-school this year before hitting the stores? Below are some of the top picks your children are going to love this school year (all back-to-school supplies are available at your nearest Office Depot).

* Project Backpack- A new backpack is one of the essentials kids need before heading back into school. For something totally unique, check out this backpack designed by 17-year-old Jerry Delgado, last year’s winner of Office Depot and Sharpie’s “Project Backpack” design contest. The music inspired backpack will have your kids singing down the hallways.

* HP G62 laptop computer – The start of school is a perfect time to purchase new computers. The HP G62 is great for everyday student needs and comes equipped with AMD Turion II Dual-Core processor, 3 GB’s of RAM, and a webcam and microphone.

* Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010- Students will want the latest version of Microsoft Office which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. It’s perfect for use throughout the school year.

* Ativa 4 GB flash drives – Flash drives offer a convenient way to access your documents anywhere. There are more than 40 patterns/colors to choose from (three styles available for No Fear flash drives).

* Mead fashion binders – Keep homework organized with fun new binders from Mead. Choose from various patterns such as candy colored stripes, retro flowers, or for alternative flair, the new punk plaid line.

Teachers need to get ready too. Network with fellow teachers and get ready for the school year at Teacher Appreciation Breakfasts being hosted at stores like Office Depot. While you’re there, stock up on all your back-to-school needs like pocket charts, notepads, bulletin boards, record books, nametags and other classroom supplies in the exclusive teacher aisles. For more info on teacher appreciation breakfast dates and times, visit www.mystarteacher.com/tab.

Meal Planning Ideas that Save Time and Money

July 21, 2010 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Healthy Living, organizing No Comments →

One thing we never seem to have enough of is time. When time gets short, the first thing that gets skipped is meal time. Eating fast food several nights a week can be costly not to mention unhealthy. If you plan your meals ahead of time, your family can still eat together for dinner.

There are many meal planning ideas that you can use to save you time and money.

Here’s the scenario: You come in the house and realize that you forgot to take something out of the freezer for dinner. Scavenging through the refrigerator, you find a few odds and ends to throw together. When the kids come in, they grumble because it’s not what they wanted. Your husband arrives later to find a congealed something in the pan on the stove and skips dinner.

Does this sound familiar? If it does, there is help for you and your family. Menu planning saves the headache that comes with searching at the last minute for something to fix for dinner. It also keeps you from throwing away food that no one wants to eat.

You might be one of those families who eat out for dinner because it’s late when you get home. No one wants to cook so you hit the fast food joint.

There are many benefits to meal planning:

1. The entire family gets involved. One day a week, probably a Saturday or a Sunday, let everyone come together for an hour and decide what will be on the menu for the coming week. Each person from the youngest to the oldest has a say in breakfast, lunch and dinner.

2. Menu planning fosters healthier lifestyles. When you have time to decide ahead of time, you can be sure that there is the right combination of protein, fats and carbohydrates in each meal. Eating at home means that you’ll know what is in the food that you eat.

3. You can save on the grocery bill. How many of us have gone to the grocery store and half filled the cart with items that we didn’t need but caught our eye? When you plan a menu, you have an instant grocery list. Each week, you’ll shop for the items that are needed to make the meals and that’s it.

4. Meals can be fixed in a snap. When you are tired in the evening, simply pop your meals in the oven or microwave. Planning allows you to start the prep work the night before in anticipation of a busy day. That way, all the hard work is already done.

Are you looking for a way to save money and get the family to eat at home? There is always time for a meal at home when you use menu planning ideas.

Visit Meal Planning Central A Quick and Easy Way To Get Dinner On The Table and Enjoy More Quality Time With Your Family.

Time Saving Tips for Moms

July 12, 2010 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Goals, organizing, Stress Management No Comments →

Do you often find yourself running out of time, running late, or running yourself ragged? Like it or not, we all live by the same rule when it comes to time. It is not infinite. As much as we’d love an extra couple of hours each day or another day added to our week, the fact remains that there are just 24 hours in each day and 7 days in a week. Time continues to tick by at the same rate irregardless of the number of tasks, appointments, and responsibilities you need to pack into those precious minutes. Taking steps to maximize your time will help you relieve the pressure, meet deadlines, and possibly even free up some extra moments to spend with your family and friends.

1) One of the most essential steps you can take to maximize your time is to purchase a planner and use it regularly. Write down any and every important piece of information in your planner including phone numbers, emails, and home addresses. Keeping this information in one location will prevent you from wasting time looking for it when you need it. In addition to being a warehouse for information, use your planner to take note of all deadlines and appointments –even those that seem insignificant. Missed appointments or meetings will quickly consume time as you rush to reach a deadline at the last minute or spend time rescheduling an appointment you forgot.

2) Consolidate your appointments and tasks when possible. If you have several errands to run on the other side of town, do them all at the same time to prevent time lost from driving back and forth. Flexibility is essential when scheduling multiple tasks. You may need to wait an extra week before your next haircut, but it will be well worth it if planning your hair and nail appointments on the same day allows you to free up time to watch your daughter’s softball game.

3) Think (or read) it through before attempting any task. Weather it be volunteering for a fundraising event, building a bookshelf, or writing an article, you will inevitably save time and frustration if you are cognizant of the full instructions or details before starting your project. Knowing ahead of time the step-by-step process, as well as the anticipated end result, will help the process go smoothly and ensure there will be no surprises along the way. Misdirection and getting lost can cause you to lose a great deal of time. Imagine the frustration of finishing a task only to discover the end result is not what was expected causing you to start all over or spend more time than you originally anticipated. Taking just a few extra moments before you begin the project can easily prevent that from happening.

4) Don’t sweat the small stuff. Nothing wastes more time and energy than maintaining a grudge, worrying about things you simply cannot change, or contemplating a multitude of `what ifs?’ If those little details won’t matter in the end anyhow, don’t let them eat away at your precious time. Life is too short to spend time purposely being angry or worrying. Choosing to ignore insignificant details and letting go of grudges will not only help you maximize your own time, it will free your mind and allow you to enjoy living your life.

5) Know your limits and stick to them. If you only have 15 minutes to chat before you need leave for an appointment, make that clear at the beginning of a conversation. If a task is taking longer than you expected, take a few quick moments to figure out why, decide whether additional time is needed, and schedule that time if necessary. Finishing one task at the expense of delaying another is never an effective solution to maximizing your time. Set clear time limits for tasks that easily eat up minutes. Answering emails, surfing the Internet, and chatting on the phone can easily cause you to lose track of time and get behind schedule for the rest of the day. When beginning these tasks, set a time limit and use your watch or cell phone clock to stick to that limit.

6) Maximize your waiting time by keeping a `to do’ bag with you at all times. Fill it with tasks that need to be done, but are not necessarily time sensitive such as thank you notes to be written, recipes to be copied and filed, or possibly even a small article of clothing that may need mending. If you find yourself with free time while waiting for the subway or in line at the DMV, use that time to complete these tasks. Performing these quick tasks while waiting will prevent them from stealing valuable time later.

7) Last, but certainly not least, be certain to take time for your personal time management. Take a few moments each day to organize and administrate your upcoming day. Planning out your day will help you prioritize the tasks that demand your time and will help you decide what to work on and when to work on it. Using the tips from above, plot out each day to ensure each demand on your time receives adequate attention. Stick to your schedule and do your best to complete tasks in the time allowed.

Maximizing your time can be easy and painless using these few simple tips. While you may not be able to add more time into your day, you certainly have the ability to get the most out of the time you do have. Effective time management and prioritization will alleviate some of the hustle and bustle of everyday life allowing you to relax and spend more time participating in activities you enjoy with the ones you love.

Being a mom is extremely rewarding, but it’s challenging. Get the help you need at Real Life Guidance. It’s your place for instant downloadable help for moms, day or night.

Visit Finally Organized – Finally Free  for an amazing collection of 1,300 organizing tips.