As promised in my last post, I’m back here after my weekly shopping trip to report on my costs, what I bought, and our weekly menu.
Please be aware that there are many wonderful bloggers out there who are feeding larger families with less money. They are what I consider to be Black-Belt Home Economists and you can really learn a lot from them. A few of my favorites are:
Brandy at The Prudent Homemaker. We use many of her recipes, which are wonderful and have become family favorites. I have a link to her recipe index saved in my browser’s toolbar. I’m a little nerdy like that.
Crystal at Money-Saving Mom.
And I just discovered Donna at Mom’s Frugal. I’ve heard wonderful things about her recipes and I can’t wait to try some of them!
However, $100 a week is where my family is at right now and it also fits our comfort level and time constraints.
Let me show you my usual method for menu planning and shopping.
I usually do my shopping on Monday or Tuesday of every week.I do not take my kids with me. I plan a menu based on what I have on hand and what we’d like to eat and then create a shopping list of things I need to buy to complete the meals on my menu.
I keep my menu planning very simple. We usually have the same things for breakfast (oatmeal, eggs, grits, unsweetened Cheerio’s, toast) and simple meals for lunches (sandwiches, leftovers). So I usually plan only 6-7 dinners and maybe a couple of items for lunches. And I just make sure I have our usual things on hand to make a week of breakfasts and lunches.
Here’s what I’ve planned for dinner this week:
Queso Taco Pasta Bake. Served with fruit salad.
Brinner. This just means a breakfast served for dinner, which I do at least once a week. Options include pancakes, eggs, toast, or even oatmeal which my kids absolutely love.
Chicken and Rice Soup. I usually use whatever chicken I have on hand (I don’t like canned chicken) and I add more veggies than called for in the recipe. I serve it with fruit salad and crackers.
Rosemary White Bean Soup. This is excellent and made much easier and faster by cooking the beans in a pressure cooker.
Taco Soup. I add one pound of browned and drained ground beef chuck to this and use beef broth instead of chicken broth. Serve with a nice cooling salad.
Black Bean Burgers. I’m no veggie freak, but these are fantastic! My meat-loving husband will scarf down four before I’ve blinked. I serve with ketchup and mustard.
Soft Chicken Tacos. I double this recipe and add 1 tsp. salt. My husband loves taking these for lunches.
Honey Mustard Chicken. This is a new one we’re trying this week. If it makes the cut, it will go into our regular recipe rotation.
Three-Cheese Spaghetti Bake. Also a new one for us.
Lunches (other than sandwiches or leftovers):
Crockpot Refried Beans. I love making a giant pot of these wonderful beans and eating them stirred with salsa. I never get tired of them.
Gazpacho. I’ve been making this for years. I love the combination of tomatoes, cilantro, and lemon. Great way to get some veggies and it’s delicious hot or cold.
Now, based on my menu I look through my cupboards, pantry, and fridge to see what we already have on hand and what needs to be bought and I then make my shopping list.
This is what my shopping list looked like this week:
Ground Beef Chuck – 5 lbs.
small piece of ginger root
light brown sugar
18-pack large eggs
heavy whipping cream (we put it in coffee and on our oatmeal)
boneless, skinless chicken breasts
I went to my usual three stores for the best prices at each.
First stop: The discount bread store for three packages of tortillas. Total cost: $5.37.
Next stop: Walmart for beef, bananas, oatmeal, crackers, sour cream, grape tomatoes, coffee, mustard, ginger root, onions, parsley, and generic ro-tel. Total cost: $39.65.
Last stop: Sam’s Club for chicken, heavy whipping cream, more bananas, Nutella, Parmesan, and eggs. Total cost: $48.86.
Total cost for this week’s groceries: $93.88.
One thing I forgot to add to my list was a giant bag of frozen veggies, either green beans or broccoli, that I get at Sam’s and that has anywhere from four – five meals worth of vegetables inside. Since I have money left over and will be on the same street tomorrow for appointments, I might swing by Sam’s again to pick these up.
This does not take me all day, but the planning takes about an hour a week, and going to three stores takes about two hours a week, including driving time. So, three total hours for all a week’s (and then some! we won’t use all this meat in one week.) worth of meals for five people.
I hope this helps you plan meals and save money for your family!