Like I said previously I have meal planned before but never stuck to or made any sort of budget to go along with it.
Things had to change since we were running out of our allotted food budget before the month was over. Not every month but I would say close to.
This month I decided to change that. I didn’t know how the first time would go since we have 7 mouths to feed on a small food budget. I had posted on Facebook asking friends what they did & if they had any tips/tricks. Very helpful tips from friends! I also went to my Pinterest boards to use what I pinned.
Were we live, stores don’t double coupons nor do they have deal days, or anything else along those lines. We don’t have every many grocery stores to choose from either. I knew coupons wouldn’t help nor would really be an option. So I needed to find different ways of saving money while feeding my family the best that I could.
I found this pin when I started looking through my budget board. With a heading like that, there was no way that I could pass up clicking on it & seeing if this would be helpful for me!
Some of her tips that she gave I was already going to do. One tip she said that once you do your weekly (or bi-weekly) grocery shopping, do NOT go back into the grocery store for anything until your next meal planning shopping trip. How does one do that!? What if you run out of eggs or sugar or milk or……
We are going to try & do this. We will see how well that goes. Since this is our first time doing this, I won’t beat ourselves up too much if we do go back before our next weekly shopping trip.
My mission was to plan 3 meals a day for 7 people with $225 per week. This seemed overwhelming and not possible.
When the new weekly ads came out for the 2 stores that we would be shopping at (United & Aldi), I sat down at the computer with a notebook & pen and started to make meals around what was on sale. I went back & forth on my browser windows looking for what I could get from both stores to make meals. My attention span was starting to loose it! I finished writing down our meals and then needed to take a break.
This is our week of meals:
Monday- Oatmeal with chocolate chips/canned fruit/cinnamon & sugar/peanut butter/chocolate spread. Any of those they could use.
Tuesday- Cereal & toast/bagel
Wednesday- Pancakes & fruit (watermelon)
Thursday- Yogurt, fruit, & granola
Friday- Cereal & toast/bagel
Saturday- Biscuits & sausage gravy casserole
Sunday- Egg boats
Monday- Sandwiches (pb&j or lunch meat) & chips
Tuesday- Tuna & canned fruit
Wednesday- Mummy dogs & fries
Thursday- Grilled sandwiches & chips
Friday- Mac & cheese and peaches
Monday- Chicken drumsticks & fries
Tuesday- Ribs & fresh corn
Wednesday- Half pork loin & fresh asparagus
Thursday- Hamburgers & chips
Friday- Salmon, rice, & frozen veggies
Sunday- There was no name for this meal, here is a picture
As I was writing down the items from the ads, I also was writing down what the price was. Whether it was BOGO or 3/$5. Whatever the price was, I wanted to make sure to write it down so that when I got to the store, I knew exactly which sale price I was going off of. I also went to grab an ad at both stores but they were gone.
I then made a list of what was going to be purchased from each store with the price that was in the ad. I figured since this was my first time, I needed to be safe rather than sorry.
Along with these lists (I am most definitely a list person!) I made a list that were staple items or items that we needed but weren’t for our meals. For example, our oldest son is going away to a camp for a week & he needed some food items to take with him. I didn’t want to include the price of that with out meal planning budget. I am hoping that we with this budget, that we will have money leftover for extras……ice cream, cupcakes for school, or making a meal if someone needs it….things like that. In order to keep track of of what was the total of meal planning & then the extras, I did 2 separate transactions at both stores. I figured that would be a lot easier than trying to go through the receipt & figuring out that myself. Less headache = happier Mommie 🙂
Our first stop was United. We stuck to the list pretty well. We let the kiddos know ahead of time that we were going by a list & we didn’t hear any “Can I haves?” They all agreed. But who wants to start taking bets on who actually listened!?
As the guy was ringing up our items, I started to get nervous. Were we actually going to be able to stay within budget? If we went over, how much? Would it affect the rest of the month or could I make it work? I should also mention that I had to swap out 2 meats that were on sale. It would have cost much more to buy the amount needed for these meats than it was worth the savings.
Instead of getting ribs for $2.49/pound, we ended up going with a brisket at $3.08/pound.
We couldn’t find the salmon that was in the ad. It was $12.99/pound and we ended up going with Swai fillets (frozen, in a bag) for $7.99.
When he told us our total, I was shocked!
I thought I did so well! How could I not?! I thought, “Wow, we are really under budget! I did way better than I thought I would.” Once I got back home that night, I realized that we still had to go to Aldi the next day. So my high was temporary…..bummer.
The next evening we went to Aldi. I knew we would spend less here but I wasn’t sure how it would come out for our budget. I didn’t do any math going into Aldi. Meaning I didn’t figure out how much we had left over in our budget to spend here. I wanted to just do it and do the math when we got home. Our damage at Aldi was $78.41.
Here is the math:
$141.10 – United, 44 items
$78.41 – Aldi, 49 items
$219.51 – Total, 93 items (budget was $225 per week)
Divided this by 21 (number of meals)
$10.45 per meal
Divided by 7 (number of people)
$1.49 per person, per meal
For the first time, I think that I did pretty well!
Some weeks will be better and some won’t be as great. That’s ok, it’s all a learning process.
What do you think? Can you give me tips for a better savings next time? Can you beat my savings? Tell me! I would love to hear how you do this with your family!