My husband was talking to his friend, and this friend told him that he and his wife were actively trying to save money on food. They decided that for the month of September they would only eat out on Friday and Saturday nights, and eat in and cook the rest of the week. Just by doing this they saved $500! How wonderful is that? He also told my husband that they only spent $250 for the month on groceries…This baffled me. How did they get away with spending so little on groceries? I normally cook at least 4 days a week and still spend a lot more on groceries. So my husband and I decided to take action. For the month of October I am actively going to try to plan my meals for the week ahead of time, and shop accordingly…then, at the end of the month we’ll see how well I do!
My husband is the brains behind our finances, so I asked him to go back to our September bank statements and find out how much we spent on groceries in the month of September (I want to do my best to include only food items, and not things like cleaners and such). I find that cooking for 2 is very difficult. Especially when it comes to saving money on groceries because alot of the things I buy tend to go bad before I get a chance to use it. For example I will open a jar of sauce to make pasta, but I don’t need the whole jar. I put the rest in the fridge but by the time I want to use it again it goes bad. So here’s my new plan…make my meal plans to incorporate similar ingredients that I bought for the week!
MEAL PLAN: Week of October 5th
Monday: My Mother In law is coming over to eat so the meal is more elaborate than usual
- Pasta with Meat Sauce
- Baby Spinach salad with apples and onions
- Garlic Bread
- Apple Crisp Pie ( I made this Sunday)
Tuesday: Meat Sauce Leftovers
Wednesday: Beef Tacos
Thursday: Beef Taco Leftovers
- Italian Bread from Bakery
- Weight Watchers Multi Grain Bread
- Coffee Creamer
- 12 pk Diet Pepsi
- Ground Coffee
- Soft Taco Dinner Kit
- 3 Gallons of Water (for water dispenser)
- 2 Boxes of Ziti pasta
- 1 Jar Natural Peanut Butter
- 12 pack of Seltzer
- 2 packages of ground beef (about 1.2 lbs each)
- Guacamole packets (come in individual 100 calorie packs so I can freeze the rest)
- 4 Apples
- 1 Red Onion
- 1 Yellow Onion
- Cascade dishwasher packs
- 1 bag of baby spinach
- I used 3 of my own grocery bags ($.15 cents back! woo hoo!)
Total Cost: $55.08
I am nowhere close to a master grocery shopper. You could say I pretty much suck at it. I actually dislike grocery shopping immensely, and I hate the crowds that hit the stores in my area…but it has to be done. I do not go from store to store following sales, and I actually refuse to go to some of the cheaper stores in the area due to the crowds. But I am hoping that this small change will make a big difference in our household budget. Hey I’m making an effort right?
So each week I will write about my weekly meal plan, and do my best to stick with it. Here’s to active menu planning and being a smarter shopper!
Thanks Melissa! I am curious to see how well I do. I think my favorite part will be knowing what we will be having for dinner..and only going to the grocery store once a week..I HATE going!
WOW! You guys are good I spend 250 per week to feed my crew. But that is 3 meals a day for the 4 of us. and at least 2 for dan. We rarely go out to dinner because it is nearly impossible trying to control all of the kids but we do splurge usually once a week! I am THE WORST meal planner there is. Cant do it! So I find myself at the grocery store at least 2 times a week but I also do this because I buy fruit and veggies twice a week to reduce the amount of rotten produce! lol
Katy it must be hard with 3 little ones. I don’t buy many snacks and such so that helps with my budget. I eat 3 meals a day at home and my husband eats about 2 (he comes home for lunch) but I think it helps that he eats dinner leftovers for lunch and I eat PBJ! lol. breakfast for me normally consists of toast w/ natural peanut butter or a zone bar. I’m sure it will get much more difficult when there are more mouths to feed.
Family of 3 – Grocery list of $250 a month (not including paper goods and cleaning supplies).
Coupons, shop sales, build menu around seasonal items, stock pantry with regularly used items when sales roll around.
Menu planning definitely is the way to go, cuts down on impulse buys.
I like your menu, I may steal it 😀
You go girl! I feed our family of four on a $325 grocery budget PER MONTH because of savvy spending and menu planning (this does not include going out to eat twice a month). Menu planning is also so nice for not having to wonder “what’s for dinner”? Good luck!
Steal away Sol!
brilliant jen! we’re trying the menu planning ourselves and it’s amazing how much money you really can save, not to mention food and garbage pail room 😉
I do this insane thing–feel free to try it. i plan the menu for the week on my computer, and type the meal with all of the required ingredients underneath. i then copy and paste the whole thing into the page below, delete the meal titles and any ingredients that i have or any repeat ingredients. this makes my shopping list, which i print out and post the menu in the kitchen and…i swear to god…put the list on a clipboard to take to the store. i also put all produce in bold, because i hate finding myself in dairy only to realize i forgot the green onions and having to schlep all the way back to the produce department.
i then save these menus and lists in a special folder on my computer. i have theme weeks, budget weeks, and i organize entertaining this way, too. i’m having a birthday party for my husband this weekend (which i should be planning right now actually) and i can easily go into my ‘entertaining’ folder and look at everything i’ve ever made for a party since i started this maybe five years (and two computers) ago and simply cut and paste.
other helpful hints–i have an iphone app that lets me do a similar thing–grocery iq–that i love. additionally, stores nationwide are starting online grocery shopping–you order everything online and can pick it up at the store. this cuts impulse purchases down to zero, and you can save a favorites list for future shopping ease.
was that too much info? sorry. i have grocery ocd!
Tracy: all that is so amazing! What great ideas! I have to look into trying that. and I am very curoius about the whole ordering food online thing…I would LOVE that! I hate the grocery stores so much. They are crowded and annoying here..lol
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