Hey friends! So this weekend was AMAZING. Another friend who turned 25 yesterday and I got 14 of our friends together for a spa weekend. Lots of drinks, lots of food, lots of laughter. Truly a weekend to remember.
Then I came home and I was all pumped for yesterday. I had Monday off which meant time to get my life together for the upcoming week. I had time to clean, time to do laundry, time to meal prep, time to blog. False. It was they Monday-est Monday ever and I got almost nothing completed that I had planned. So here we go, starting again today.
This is a post series I have wanted to do for a while. I am going to try to do weekly meal plans and share what I bought for the week as well. I have written before about our grocery budget and how we eat healthy for $75 a week. We did actually slightly increase this budget to $85, just as a disclaimer.
Anyway, I wanted to give some examples of how we do this, and make myself have a little accountability!
Every week I start by assessing what I have in my fridge/freezer/pantry. With the holidays and being out of town quite a bit in the last month, I have a lot of meat stocked up in the freezer. We get a bi-weekly box of meat from The Local Pig, so there was a good variety of beef, pork, and chicken. We also had plenty of snack-type items, and some frozen veggies.
Based on my protein choices, this was the meal plan I came up for the week:
I got this cute board at Target for $3 in the bargain section! It works super well for writing out our meal plan. For lunches, we pretty much eat leftovers, or Keaton will do sandwiches. Breakfast is usually a couple of eggs or toast, so I don’t typically “plan” those two meals, I just make sure to always have lunch meat, bread, and eggs.
Next, I worked on the grocery list:
Once I get to the store, I really try to stick to the list. Occasionally I’ll pick up a few sale items if I have room in the budget, or if there is a great sale.
For example, today I found whole hams on sale for 99 cents PER POUND. That was $10 for a huge amount of meat, and I can cut it up and freeze it for soups, breakfast, sandwiches. It’s super versatile, this week was a short list, so I had plenty of room in the budget.
The key is to really think about those “extra” items and if they make sense, or if you will truly use them. Greek yogurt had a pretty good sale of buy 10, get 5 free. But $10 is a pretty large chunk out of our budget, the yogurt expired fairly quickly, and we don’t eat that much of it. So I skipped that particular one.
Here is a breakdown of my final purchases:
- Fat Free Cottage Cheese: $1.83
- Dozen Large Eggs: $2.39 (thought I grabbed the sale ones, apparently not!)
- 7 greek yogurt cups: $7
- Green Mountain K Cups: $6.49
- Sparkling Water (not pictured): $3.79
- Decaf K Cups: $4.99
- Hamburger buns: $1.49
- 3 Mini Detour Bars: $4.17
- 11 pound Spiral Ham: $10.96
- Sliced Cheese: $2.50
- Lunch Meat: $3.49
- Bolthouse Ranch: $4.99
- Broccoli: $2.50
- Russet Potatoes: $2.50
- Sweet Potatoes: $2.01
$21.53 under budget!
This week I actually planned to be under budget. Next week we will pick up another Local Pig Box, so that’s an automatic $40 out of the budget. We also stocked up on snacks at Aldi last week, so I didn’t have to buy too many things for lunches this week.
Now let’s look at the items I purchased “not” on the list (we’re going for accountability here as well!)
- Sparkling water
- Detour Bars
- Hamburger buns
If I am 100% honest, this is not too bad for me. The bars and sparkling water I had thought of on my way in, and didn’t write down. The buns and cheese are for Keaton’s lunches, so also just another item I forgot on my initial list. So really the ham, broccoli, and ranch were the main “extras”. The broccoli was on sale as well, and the ranch had a sale sticker, but I think it must have been for credit card holders. I need to pay better attention to this, because it’s a new tactic of HyVee. The key is to not let these impulse items blow your budget!
One main tactic I use throughout my shopping is to physically stop and total the items in my cart before I decide if I should “splurge” on a sale item I didn’t initially need. I may look silly standing and counting in the middle of the store, but if you just throw items in without mentally totalling your bill, you’re likely to get a surprise at the checkout. Also, if I know I have a bigger list for the week, I’ll take the extra time to drive to Aldi because the savings are REAL there, people!
My last tip if you’re struggling with your grocery bill is: BRING CASH. Physically leave your debit card at home. You don’t know pressure until you know you have to pay with the exact amount you have in your purse. This is what I did for the first year we tightened our budget, and I was the best at sticking to it back then.
So, any tips or tricks I missed? Things you find helpful at the store? Next week I’ll share our Local Pig box plus our grocery buys so you can see how they all fit together into our budget!