Everyday Living

Frugal thinking: Preparing for busy days and preventing bad decisions

I’m hugely in favor of having a work-life balance … emphasis on the LIFE part of things. But this past week (and weekend), work ended up trumping fun things like sitting around in my jammies and doing nothing, as well as, necessary things like – oh, grocery shopping for the week, laundry and on Monday/Tuesday – showering. Luckily, I have a wee bit of breathing room before things get crazy again. Which, that will actually be this afternoon, but armed with a full night of sleep – I feel like I can take on the world.

Anyway … one of the realities of being so busy that you barely have time to pee (btw – I work from home and the bathroom is right across the hall from my office. Yup, pathetic, I know …) is that having a reduced amount of time and a heady level of stress in my life, I start making bad decisions. Like ordering pizza on Saturday night. Eating Chinese food last Friday and on Tuesday because I really didn’t have any food left in the house. (At that point, I had cleaned out the Jif and had already had a ham sandwich for breakfast. I wanted something healthy with vegetables. So … um, yeah. The vegetables in cashew chicken count, right? Right??)

So here’s my question for you … do you have any tricks up your sleeve when it comes to having meals in the freezer or stuff in the pantry that keep you from reaching for the takeout menus after a crazy day/week of work? Sound off in the comments!

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8 thoughts on “Frugal thinking: Preparing for busy days and preventing bad decisions

  1. In the fall/winter months I try to have a couple crockpot meals ready to go. If they are as prepared as they can be for me to pop in the crockpot knowing dinner is ready at home helps. However, I too am home all day and it’s torture smelling cook. 🙂

  2. It’s not necessarily a time saver, but I plan meals by the week. So when I go to the grocery store, I’m getting food for the whole week. Just knowing what’s going to be for supper each night saves me time staring into the cupboards and wondering what I have to eat. I also make 1-2 meals a week that are eaten as leftovers the next night. I don’t have freezer space to make things ahead of time.

  3. My husband and I cook on the weekend and eat all week long out of it. We also put leftovers in the freezer in 2 cup bowls that can be microwaved. We are on a low fat diet, so eating out is not an option usually.

  4. Eggs. Fry 2, put them on toast with a schmear of canola mayo and it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. Even though we don’t usually have it in the house, having a biscuit mix to make things like pancakes can be quick and easy.

    Or do what I do and have a hubby that whips things out of nothing.

  5. I second the eggs comment – SO simple to make, and (contrary to the years of telling us otherwise) so good for you. And you can do a ton of easy stuff with them. I don’t really even cook and I’ve learned how to do cool stuff with eggs 🙂

  6. I grocery shop weekly and don’t necessarily plan which meal is going to happen specifically on Monday or Tuesday, but I shop for some meals that are quick, and some that take longer. It makes it easy to pick a meal based on how much time we have/how tired we are.
    Kid friendly quick meals: Ramen, scrambled eggs in tortillas, pb & j, pasta
    medium prep time meals: homemade pizza, stir fry,
    longer prep time: enchiladas, lasagna, baked chicken dishes, grilled stuff.
    Some of the longer prep stuff can be made the night before if you know the next day is gonna be crazy, but really, who wants to make supper at 10pm?
    This was a good discussion question, Shelly- I hope others post ideas.

  7. I second the comment from Kate about having a hubby who “whips things out of nothing.” Last night, my DH said, “I wonder what I could stuff these chicken breasts with?” Stuff? I thought. Don’t you just grill those? I started listing random things that we had that *might* go in chicken breasts: spinach. brocolli. ricotta or cream cheese. dried cherries. chopped walnuts. wild rice. I would have no idea what to do with all those things at once. 30 minutes later, we sit down to grilled chicken breasts stuffed with ricotta, walnuts and dried cherries, and a side of wild rice. Note we were lacking a veggie, but the cherries sort of count, right?

    So, we usually try to have staples on hand that at least one of us can create something out of, but a little planning would save us time.

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