January is normally the time when people start getting organized and taking stock of what they have. If you have been following my tips for stocking up on groceries and toiletries, then you probably have a stockpile that you need to use. The first thing you should always remember when you are stockpiling is to store them like you would in a grocery store.
You always rotate your items from the closest expiration in the front to the longest in back.
You also want to see what you have on hand and make your menus accordingly. This will help keep you from allowing your items to expire, and you will save money in the long run by not having to buy something to cook. Remember that you do not have to always eat meat with every meal. Instead, you can add beans, which are a more inexpensive way to serve your meals, to get your protein.
This is a good time of year to clean out your freezer and start from scratch. Check the dates on the items you have in there. If you have store-bought breads, pizzas, vegetables, fruits and other items, they will have a “best by” date. They may still be good a little past the date; you just need to check them for freezer burn. If you have anything you made that is frozen, check the date you wrote on the package. You can start using your items by making a menu with each item until they are used up, or this could be a good time for a get together with friends and family. Invite them over and use the food out of your freezer. If you don’t have time and energy to cook it all, give each person invited something from your freezer.
If you are someone who makes New Year’s resolutions, one of them for 2012 could be that you are going to go out to eat only a certain number of times a month. Thinking about the money you will save by eating at home may be a good incentive. If you normally go out to eat three times a week, on average spending $20 each time, and you cut it down to once a week, you could save up to $2,080 a year.