Recipe Software and Menu Software -- Letting Technology Aid In Your Grocery Savings
Recipe Software is not a necessary part of my grocery savings plan, but it is a powerful tool that will organize you adding fuel and momentum to your efforts. One of the first pages I put up on this site involved menu planning.
I think at the heart of my techniques for grocery savings is being organized and menu planning is how you put that organization in action to save money. One way to take that organization to the next level is by using recipe software. You may be thinking, “Not another thing to buy! Another thing to spend money on!” Well, you are right. If you decide to use menu planning software, you are going to have to spend a little money, but there are some economical options available and I believe they are worth the money.
Recipe software is worth the money, not only for convenience sake, but also for their ability to help you save money through grocery savings. How these products help you save money is they help you stay organized.
If your recipes are organized in a manner that makes them easy to find and use, the more effective your grocery savings plan will be. If you have oodles of budget recipes all kept on cards or pieces of paper kept in a box or a drawer, you are less likely to be able to find them or even remember you even have them. I know, some of you have meticulous card or binder systems that work great for you. If you are one of these people, perhaps a recipe software solution is not for you, but you might want to read on because there are other benefits to these helpful products.
Recipe software typically lets you organize your recipes into virtual cookbooks. You can buy virtual cookbooks to download directly into your software or you can create your own cookbooks and manually input any recipe you want. I’ve never bought a downloadable cookbook because there are too many avenues out there to find free recipes. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on cookbooks and I won’t do it anymore. Between the recipes I have in the cookbooks I’ve bought in the past and all the recipes available on the internet, I can’t think of a single reason to buy another cookbook.
Easy Search Functions
You can flip through the virtual pages of your computerized cookbooks similar to the way you flip through your cook books now or you can search your entire database of recipes for all the recipes with a certain ingredient or contains a certain word. For example, if you include a prep time entry on all of your recipes, then want to find all the recipes you have with a 30 minute prep time, simply search “prep time: 30 min” and all of the recipes for which you included a “prep time: 30 min” would come up on your search results. If you include a cooking method entry on all of your recipes you can search by that as well.
The benefit of searching for a certain ingredient is if you have something on hand, say pork loin, you can instantly search your entire database of recipes for every recipe which uses pork loin.
Menu & Grocery List Generator
Most of these programs allow you to choose from your database of recipes to create a weekly menu. From that menu you can create a shopping list. The ease of putting together the menu and shopping list will increase the odds that you will stick with my money-saving plan simply because they are such time savers. It takes me about five minutes a week to put together a menu and shopping list using my software. I imagine that same task would take me at least 30 to 40 minutes if I had to do it manually and I doubt my menus would have as much variety as they do using my software.
These programs run between $15 and $75 and I’d say they are well worth the money. Check back, I’ll be reviewing the different software options in the future.
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