Saturday, March 21, 2009

Pocket Changes: Plan B

It's no secret that saving money often involves a little planning ahead. I think the number one failure that people make when doing financial planning is to forget about a back up plan. For example, the hardest part about following a budget is dealing with the spontaneous expenses that pop up such as unplanned car repairs or impromptu entertaining for unexpected guests. That is why every good plan automatically includes a Plan B. Always carve out a place in your budget for these surprise expenses and whenever possible think ahead about potential plan failures and inexpensive ways to fix them should the occasion arise.

As always, achieving good financial habits requires you to know what is most important to you. For me one of the most important things in life is food and health. I may be willing to carve out a little more of my budget then the next person towards fresh quality ingredients that compose healthy meals but that doesn't mean throwing money away unnecessarily. One of the main things I do to minimize expenses is to create a formal meal plan each week including drinks and snacks before I go shopping and only buy those ingredients that are on my list. Even with the best of intentions though, things happen during the week and it's almost impossible to stick to a 7 day plan as things come up. I've learned over time to plan a five day week out of seven, giving me an allowance for a couple of days a week to grab a quick convenience lunch or leftovers clean out.

Also, while I would never recommend frozen dinners as a main staple, they are a perfectly acceptable Plan B in our household for nights when we just can't get motivated to cook. By having our freezer already stocked, it saves us from moments of weakness when we may be prone to following our impulses. Don and I have found a brand of frozen dinners that we really like from the Fresh & Easy Grocery store located in Van Nuys on Sepulveda and Vanowen. You can also find locations in Burbank and Glendale. The dinners are only $5.00 a piece and are plenty of food for two people. Our favorites include the Chicken Mahkani, Jalapeno Chicken, Braised Beef, and Shephards Pie. Additionally, for a little more balance you can always incorporate fresh and frozen such as a frozen pizza with a quick Ceasar Salad or ready marinated chicken breasts with frozen veggies on the side.


Mary said...

Yeah, those are awesome. Ben and I buy them at Fresh and Easy in Manhattan Beach. Love your new blog!-Mary

Cindy said...

Thanks Mary. Glad you are enjoying it!