1. Post a weekly menu that tells what is planned for dinner each night of the week. This will save having to make a decision each morning. By planning (and shopping ahead), all you need to do is defrost according to plan. Be flexible with your menu. If you feel the need to change plans for an evening -- DO IT!

2. Family members (old enough to read) can assist meal preparation by making salad or putting potatoes in the oven. Also members can be given regular duties like setting or cleaning the table.

3. Provide a central place for family members to list what they need the next time shopping is done (see last page for a sample list). This puts responsibility on the individual. Train the family to list items when they see the supply is running low. You should save planning time and fewer items will be forgotten during shopping trips.

4. Fix food ahead of time. Prepare a double recipe or two casseroles instead of one. Freeze for next week in an oven or microwave dish. Label with permanent marker: cooking time, temperature, covered or uncovered. Anyone who finds this dish on the kitchen sink can assist in the evening meal by following the directions.

5. End making lunches daily! A large loaf of bread has 20 slices which equals 10 sandwiches. Take one hour each weekend to fix and freeze sandwiches for the week. Remove sandwiches from the freezer each morning and they will be defrosted by lunchtime. Peanut butter, ham, bologna, salami, turkey, chicken pastrami, roast beef or pork, tuna made with sour cream or dressing freeze well. Use only condiments that will freeze -- don't use mayonnaise. Freeze sandwiches in separate plastic bags. Make sure you label the sandwich and who it was made for. Date sandwiches if you think they won't be eaten right away.

6. Save the food section of the newspaper until you are read to plan the shopping.

7. Cut and organize coupons by category to save time and money.

8. Time and money can be saved by buying in bulk and having individual portions wrapped.

9. Raw chicken parts, chops and hamburgers can be flash frozen on a cookie sheet and stored in plastic bags.

10. Buy bulk hamburger and freeze smaller individual portions to use with tacos, spaghetti, etc.

11. Fry hamburger to freeze for future casseroles while unpacking your groceries.

12. Boil some extra noodles or spaghetti and freeze them for future dishes.

13. Use identical storage devices such as plastic containers, foil pans, and glass dishes will stack to save freezer space.

14. Make extra cookie dough to freeze for the children to slice and bake.

15. Create a standard "quickie meal" to prepare for unexpected guest dinners.

16. Employ a retired person to do your grocery shopping. They will be able to take advantage of best hours, coupons. Smart shopping by them will help pay for the cost.

17. Buy birthday, anniversary and special event cards in advance. Pre-address, stamp and sign them. Mark in your calendar so you will remember to send them.

18. Designate a laundry day for each family member to "own" the washer and dryer for his/her laundry.

19. Take each child to breakfast or lunch once a month to allow for solid one to one communication.

20. Select childcare that is consistent with your views on eating, sleeping, TV time. Provide work phone numbers, medical release form and written instructions. Leave a supply of food and diapers with your sitter and replenish as needed. Always keep your sitter advised about what has happened at home.

Author's Bio: 

Patti Hathaway is a Business Advisor and best-selling author of 5 books. Her books have sold more than 100,000 copies worldwide and one of books has been used by 400 of the Fortune 500 companies. Patti’s expertise is based on real-life experience and the fact that she has surveyed thousands of people over her 20 years of business advising. She earned the Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association in 1994. Fewer than 7% of speakers worldwide have earned this designation for a proven track record of speaking excellence. Patti has the ability to change people’s thinking in order to achieve bottom-line results. Her expertise lies in the areas of interpersonal communication skills, managing change, leadership, and customer loyalty.