I’ve decided I need to strategize better. We’ve let ourselves become a bit too lazy… yep… I haven’t been sticking to my cheap ways. And I feel guilty for it.
Enter, meal planning.
If you’ve never done meal planning before, it’s a good way to take inventory of what you have in stock and plan your grocery trip, all while utilizing what you have to create a menu for the week/month. I like to meal plan to stretch the groceries that I have on hand. It’s easy to forget what items you have, especially if your pantry is anything like mine. I occasionally lose things on the shelves!
After taking a quick survey of what was available in our pantry, I made the rounds of our closest grocery store, Community Markets. I really enjoy shopping there because they often have manager’s specials. I’ve found fresh salmon filets for $2, bacon for $1, chicken for $.97/lb, BBQ sauce for $.50 and so on. Really great deals and no coupon required. The only downside is that regular price items are above what I’d consider to be even MSRP.
The total for our grocery trip was $71.xx I cringed at the total. I didn’t use any coupons and I’m usually so much cheaper. I realized later that my husband put a couple of extras in the cart. Like $5 ice cream. $5 ICE CREAM. Oy vay! Plus several other things I wouldn’t have bought otherwise. My total would have been around $55. Still more than usual, but definitely less. What am I gonna do? At least he’s happy. Sitting over there to my right, munching on his $5 pint of chocolate ice cream. Lol…
Combining the things we have on hand with our newly purchased goodies, our menu for the next 2 weeks looks like this:
- Bagel w/ peanut butter
- Scrambled eggs, toast & turkey bacon
- Egg Wrap
- Peanut Butter sandwich
- Ramen (I always have ramen on hand!)
- Soup (Tomato and chicken noodle are staples)
- Ham, bologna, or salami sandwiches w/ pickle, tomato, & lettuce
- Hot dogs & pasta salad (enough for 2 meals)
- Dad’s skillet (fried potatoes, polish sausage, onions and eggs)
- Cabbage Casserole (tomato soup, cabbage, meat & rice)
- Crab Linguine (imitation crab, alfredo sauce, tomatoes & mushrooms)
- Spaghetti & meat sauce
- Pork chops, baked potato & veggies (enough for 2 meals)
- Toasted cheese and tomato soup
- Hamburger Helper (4 different meals)
- Tuna Helper
- Burritos (refried beans, black beans, salsa & rice)
- Polish sausage, BBQ sauce & grape jelly in the crock pot over rice (no fancy name, it just tastes good!)
- Pancakes & Bacon
- Tortilla pizzas w/ ham & mushrooms
- Granola bars
- Babybell cheese
- Cookie & cake mixes
Not too bad 🙂 Keeping lists of what I have by meal is easier for me than planning exactly what meals on what days. I mean, we are foodies, we like to have what we “feel like” having. So this enables us to do in a more calculated manner. I just cross off what we’ve already eaten to keep track of what’s left.
Have you ever meal planned before? Or do you prefer to be spontaneous?