"For I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made in You...You make it Beautiful Somehow"

Friday, March 23, 2012

Back to the Basics: Menu Planning


 It drives me nuts to go to the store and spend $100- $120 on groceries for our tiny family of four! By the way, that's for one week! Ridiculous! I know I can spend less, a lot less, if I just work at it a little. For the past few months I have started to change a few things in order to get the grocery bill under control.

Here are a few things to initially cut down on your grocery bill...

1. Write up a weekly menu plan. Include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks.
2. Check your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer for any ingredients you already have on hand. Check to see if you need toilet paper, or cleaning products (We include the cost of cleaning supplies in our grocery bill budget since we shop for all this at the same time).
3. Make a list of the ingredients and items you will need for the week. Stick to the list and only buy what is on it. Sticking with this list will help you to not buy unnecessary or extra items you don't need.

Now I could add a point #4, using coupons, if that works for you. I did try this for a time, but found I was not very good at it. I did not have the time it takes to devote to doing it well and making it worth it. I also found that there were coupons for a lot of processed food, which I didn't really want my family to eat any way. However, if you can do coupons and it is worth the time to you, then by all means go for it! I know a lot of friends who manage to save a lot of money this way.

 

The next things you can do to cut down on your grocery bill is to begin making your own cleaning products and switching mostly to cloth. By making your own cleaning products, you can avoid buying all of those expensive and unnecessary cleaning products. Plus you have the added benefit that it is better for your family...but more on that in a later post. To get you started in the mean time though, you can follow my Pinterest board "Make it yourself!" That has tons of pins for making your own cleaning products.  

With those changes I have managed to cut our bill down to $80 for food and about $10-$15 for any other supplies. My ultimate goal is $60 for food and $10 for other supplies. In order to achieve this, I have started to completely rethink my menu planning. It is so nice to finally be able to run my oven in the winter and it not make my house feel like a sauna. For this reason, I have been making a lot of casserole type dishes. They are so delicious...but also require a lot of ingredients. Especially meat. It costs me roughly about $8.00 for 3lbs of lean ground beef, and $7.00 for a whole chicken. This will give me about 5-6 meals. That is $15 a week for meat just for dinners. 

I started realizing that meat was the main component of our meal and every thing else was just extra. If I could cut down on how much meat we are eating, I could lower our bill and possibly help my family eat healthier at the same time. After telling a friend what I was thinking about doing, she mentioned that she always followed this formula for a meal...
50% Vegetables
25% Starches
25% Meat

 


I decided that made a lot of sense and would help me rework my weekly menu planning. So we are going to try this for one month and see if it makes a difference. Not only a difference cost wise, but also health wise. My hope is that by eating more vegetables, salads, and beans that we can be healthier. I went ahead and worked up a full month of meals. Then I wrote down how many meals we would be eating meat for so I could buy it in bulk at the beginning of the month (hopefully for cheaper). With this next months meals, we will only be having meat for 15 days through out the month. On the days we are not having meat, we will have some type of beans to give us some of the protein my growing boys need.

I did not put any casserole type dishes on the menu, but I think after this first month I am going to add one casserole dish per week. This way we can still enjoy those meals.

Here is what a few of those meals will look like...

           1.  Small portion of shredded barbeque chicken
                Brown Rice
                Steamed Broccoli
                Black Beans

            2. Baked Potato
                Corn on the cob
                Great Northern Beans
                Salad

            3. Large Salad
                Crash Hot Potatoes (find the delicious recipe here)
                Green Beans
                Carrots

            4. Baked Fish
                Black eyed Peas
                Quinoa
                Bread

            5. Soup
                Grilled Cheese

I am really taking us back to the basics. We will see how this works.
I am hoping that all of this will...

1. Get us eating healthier, REAL food
2. Save us money on our grocery bill

What does your family do for meals to help cut down on cost and eat healthier? 




















1 comment:

  1. Loved your post!! It have me some good ideas!! :)

    ReplyDelete

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