My Story:
Computerized Cookbooks

contributed by Bridget

I have always used a cookbook program to organize all of my favorite recipes, plan meals, and prepare shopping lists. I just upgraded from an old cookbook program to the MasterCook: The Complete Suite Featuring Betty Crocker's Recipes It is great and offers so much more than my old one. And, you do not have to be a computer genius to do this.

Each week, I plan my meals based on what I already have in stock, and I make up my shopping list of the few things that I don't have. Being aware of my grocery budget, I estimate the difference between what I have budgeted and the estimated amount that the items on my shopping list will cost. With the savings, I shop for items that are on sale or clearance to restock my pantry for future meal planning.

This week I only spent $60 of my budgeted $100, which enabled me to splurge for the Super Bowl Game by buying some shrimp and crawfish. I stayed within my budget, and yet, we ate very well this week.

The advantages to the computerized cookbook are as follows:

  1. It includes a vast assortment of great recipes. Also, you can create your own cookbook of your favorite recipes, thereby organizing all those little pieces of paper, cards and clippings.
  2. You can enter the inventory in your pantry. After doing so, you can then search for recipes to prepare with what you already have on hand, therefore shortening your shopping list.
  3. You can plan your meals in advance. No more "Mom, What's for dinner tonight." I tell my kids, "Look on the fridge!"
  4. You can create a shopping list from your meal plans and apply dollar values to each item to help keep you within your budget.
  5. Finally, you can email recipes to your friends and relatives for them to enjoy!

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money please send it to

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