Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Our Budget Meal Planning

Over the last couple months I have been asked by a few friends how we do "food" around here. Since school got out in June, we have made so many changes, and have finally found something that works for us. We used to eat at restaurants a lot, shop at Whole Foods, splurge on any groceries we wanted...needless to say, we were throwing money away. First world problem here...it didn't hurt us. I was spoiled and loved my fancy foods. The boys went googly-eyed over the groceries I used to bring home. Now?? Well...it's different. GOOD, but different. I also want to say that every family is different. I personally don't want to do meals a month at a time, or two weeks at a time. I get bored with foods easily, and like to do our meals one week at a time. I rarely repeat a meal until a few months down the road. So we are a 1 week planning family. But, to each his own! Do what works for you!

It all started with the realization that my income was going to be FINITO by the end of August, so practice makes perfect! Starting in June...I began researching ways to a) become more organized with our system  b) set personal goals to beat when it came to cost  c) find recipes that didn't cost an arm and a leg, not to mention were complicated. It's a little tough to cook with a bebe in your arms. So the simpler, the better!

The first thing I began doing was comparing prices in grocery ads. In doing so I learned two KEY things: Aldi grocery stores, while slightly strange, had prices that NOBODY could beat. Walmart price-matches. Find a better price? They match it. So these two things led me to the conclusion that I only needed to go 2 places. Ever. Aldi most of the time, and Walmart for price-matched items and necessities that Aldi didn't carry.

Next, I began compiling recipes off Pinterest, as well as from friends and family. I have a filing system and keep them very organized...even if it is a little old school. Any of my techie friends wanna make this digital for me??? This binder stores everything from breakfasts, to salads, desserts, appetizers and main courses.

Next, I found this REALLY awesome printable grocery list off Pinterest, and printed out several blank documents. You can find them here.

I also clip coupons like a madwoman, and clean them out regularly by expiration date. Here is our filing system for ads and coupons.
Along with our binder of recipes, I have a few favorite cookbooks as well. Here they are...in no particular order.
When I am ready to shop, I get my reusable grocery bags, my clipboard, ads and coupons, and head out. Yes...I am that annoying customer you don't want to get behind in line. If you see me whip out the ads. Turn and run. FAST. I price-match, coupon and "go green". Yep, annoying.

Once it is all home and unpacked, I'm ready to cook. I simply hang my magnetic clip of recipes above my stove, and get to cookin!

We have managed to save over half our grocery bill. One time, I even managed a buy one get one free beef chuck roast! Also a free pack of diapers! It's amazing what you can do with some effort. We even cut out bottled water. We fill up all of our reusable bottles and keep them chilled in the fridge for ease of use.

If my man is happy with my spending AND my food? I'm GOLDEN. Wife and mom of the year in his eyes...because the way to Anthony's heart isn't just food...it's budgets. Go ahead and laugh out loud...those of you who know us well "get it."


  1. Love the grocery list - thanks for sharing! We do a similar system around here (1 week at a time) for many of the same reasons you listed! And ditto on the recipe binder - going strong! Thanks for the new idea of the magnetic clip above the stove!! Genius!! Keep posting - I enjoy reading them. :)

  2. Great post! Don't forget to check Target! They have printable coupons online and allow you to double up at Target coupon and a manufacturer's coupon. I've gotten a ton free from them in the past....especially toiletries. Also, CVS and Walgreens have good deals with their coupons. I haven't paid more than 25 cents for toothpaste in forever! :) I like passion for savings on facebook! They usually break it down for me! :)

  3. Love your organization. I, too, cannot do the whole MONTHLY shopping thing. I like to grocery shop too much and I don't have the storage space for a month's worth...plus I like fresh produce! :) Ahhh a foodie after my own heart! :)