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Financial Fitness Task 18: Shop for a Week's Worth of Groceries #30DaysofGOOD

Don't forget to plan for leftovers!

Things are easier said than done, or so the old adage goes, and we couldn't agree more. That's why we do The GOOD 30-Day Challenge (#30DaysofGOOD), a monthly attempt to live better. Our challenge for January? Financial fitness.

Shop for a week's worth of groceries.

Today's task should help you be thriftier and healthier. Start by compiling several recipes with produce in common. (Overlap when it comes to non-perishables is less important.) Search by ingredient on sites like Epicurious or Cookstr. If you already eat at home several times a week, you should have a sense of how much food your household consumes per meal. If you're already a tried-and-true brown-bagger, you can make an ambitious seven-day plan. If you find yourself eating out most days, you might want to start with a more manageable five.

After you've assembled a stack of tasty recipes, account for leftovers. Is each of these a meal in itself? Will there be leftovers for lunch? Plan it out, as best you can, day by day. Then make a shopping list that accounts for all ingredients that aren't already pantry staples. (Feeling uninspired? Do a bit of Googling for meal plans—there are experts to help you with this!) Then head to the grocery store.

The trick is to not to be sidetracked by the allure of takeout or last-minute plans to eat out. Even if you don't quite end up sticking to your meal plan, chances are you can still scrape together a decent meal with the odds and ends left in your 'fridge and cupboards. When all else fails, try a website like Supercook, which allows you to search for recipes based on ingredients you already have at home.

Come back tomorrow for the next task in our financial fitness challenge.

Propose an idea here for a project or workshop that promotes financial fitness in your community. The top-voted idea will win $500 to implement the project.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user NatalieMaynor

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