This tip is so simple it may invoke a reactive “Duh!” But if you’re not currently doing it (or some version of it), I believe it’s a game-changer. *Drumroll*… the free, two-minute habit that saves me tons of time, money and energy in the kitchen is…
I spend a focused 2 minutes looking at my calendar before I grocery shop each week.
Now, if you’re an uber-planner, and you grocery shop from a list and plan out your meals, then you’re already doing a version of this - way to go!! If you’re more of a whimsical, “I’ll just go and get my staples / figure it out when I get there / buy what inspires me” type of grocery shopper, then this simple act could save you some serious dough.
I am someone who lives by her calendar, and I believe I generally have a sense of what’s coming up. But I’m telling you - when I stop to actually look at what’s scheduled before I go to the store, one of two things happens:
I am WAY more motivated to stick to my list and can often buy half of what I might have otherwise, or:
Sometimes I realize I don’t even need to go to the store at all!
If you pair this calendar habit with a quick fridge inventory before you leave the house - and I mean, actually look through the entire fridge (especially the drawers!) and evaluate the current food you could cook with - I can almost guarantee you will realize you probably don’t need as many groceries as you originally thought.
The grocery store is designed to entice you to buy things you don’t need. Don’t get me wrong - I personally LOVE grocery shopping, but beyond just remembering what’s on the docket for the week, when you look at your calendar (both work and life), you can better imagine yourself actually in the week ahead. How will you feel after that long day of meetings? What might you be craving for dinner the night after a birthday party full of snacks sweet treats?
I have a theory that it’s not so much a lack of time that keeps people from cooking, it’s actually a lack of mental energy (more on this in another post). For me - looking at my calendar helps me imagine how much energy I will have throughout the week, which helps me decide if I’ll realistically even want to cook on certain nights. Picturing myself in the week also increases my motivation to cook a few things on the weekend when I have more time and energy.
I LOVE reading and thinking and learning about habits and behavior change. These days, I’m especially interested in examining my own cooking habits and translating them into tips and practices that can make cooking easier for beginners and busy people. What does day-to-day cooking IN REAL LIFE look like for normal people who want to eat delicious food that makes them feel good? THAT is what I’m most interested in right now.
So, spend two minutes with your calendar before you go to the grocery store this week. If you have another five minutes, look through your fridge to see what’s already there. You’ll likely discover more than you think. You might just save a trip to the store. Life is made up of little habits. Try incorporating this one and see what happens!