I’m starting lots of new practices around the house, all in the spirit of living with less. Less spending, less, stuff, less waste, lots of less.
The changes included creating a grocery list, clipping coupons, having a weekly food budget and menu planning. That’s a lot of stuff just to have less. And I have much to learn about how to do it all well. But I’m working on it.
Since I’m not the best at creating tasks and sticking to them I thought I’d make it more of a challenge. Each week I’ll create a menu and post it here. It’s not a new idea, I know. In fact, it’s all over the web, I’m just one of a herd of menu planners. But it’s all about the process. Read the circulars, find out what’s on sale, create the grocery list, create the menu, adjust the grocery list, go shopping, everything’s in the house to make the meals, no wandering the store aisles buying willy-nilly. Follow the logic? I used to do a lot of willy-nilly. Now I willy-nilly no more.
If it makes no sense to you, don’t worry. You may not be of the menu planning herd. That’s okay. If I could I’d be of the eating someone else’s food all the time herd, but that’s just not an option. Unless you’re a chef and want to work for me. For free. Or your the perfect grandparent and you’d like to adopt me. I have a very nice family.
So, what’s on the menu? Let’s see…
Sunday: boneless pork chops and broccoli (I really wanted mashed cauliflower but the store that had it on sale didn’t have any and I’d already been to 4 stores and spent my budget)
Monday: chicken and corn on the cob
Tuesday: hamburgers , homemade buns, mac ‘n cheese, salad
Wednesday: pasta, salad (maybe spaghetti, maybe garlic and oil, kinda depends on my mood that day)
Thursday: leftovers, if there are none – eggs in spicy tomato sauce
Friday/Saturday: I get a pass as we are going out of town for the weekend. No cooking!!
And yes, it’s only one meal a day. We eat more, I just figure you don’t need to know about every calorie. These are the major ones – dinner. I know, the descriptives are a little vague. I’m not a fan of recipes so I don’t always have the complete dish in mind but I know the main ingredient. Don’t worry, if I’m ever planning anything specific (like Pioneer Woman’s chicken spaghetti) I’ll be sure to link to it.
This is week 2 of menu planning and week 1 of telling you about it. So prepare for changes. I don’t know what they might be so I’m preparing too.
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I’ll also tell you what I spent. Again, in a vague way. But enough so that I feel some compulsion to stick to the budget lest I have to tell you I failed so soon after starting.
Here goes, week 1 of $80 budget…
Sprouts Farmers Market – $25.73 (not only are their prices good, I get 5¢ back for every bag I bring in)
Trader Joe’s – $12.64 (I think this is the least I have ever spent at TJ’s for a weekly shop, blame it on Sprouts)
99¢ Store – $2.80 (Never thought it would happen, but I went and got three food items. Less than 3 bucks!)
Vons – $43.18 (I will say, with coupons and card savings this was a $34.16 savings. Plus I bought 2 5lb bags of flour and dry milk which are beyond a weekly food item.)
So, I’m $4.35 over budget. I’ll just have to try better next week. Although, I’m actually thrilled with where we’re at. I have a stocked freezer of chicken, beef and pork and my pantry is not looking to shabby. Consider that my freezer is a small above fridge compartment and my pantry is 4 shelves of an over-the-counter cupboard before you judge me. I just like to make sure you have all the facts. Feel free to judge away.
Where did the $80 limit come from, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. The Frugal Girl uses $80 (sometimes $100) to feed her family of 2 adults and 4 kids. That’s beyond impressive to me. I took into consideration where we live, stores available to us and some items we feel are musts. I balance our need for organic milk (at a much higher price, of course) and my desire to shop at the weekly farmer’s market versus the better prices available on sale produce at the stores.
It’s a work in progress. Consider these my thoughts on the matter. I’m just sharing them out loud. Lucky you.
Feel free to share back.