When I wrote my Meal Planning post last week I knew it was a topic I might revisit again in the future. I didn’t realize how soon I would want to share about this again. This time around, I will include my grocery list for you since, like me, you might be a grocery list voyeur. (Seriously, I love seeing other people’s grocery lists. I know it is dorky, but I even get excited when I find one left behind in a grocery cart.)
Sunday night is becoming my meal planning time. Last night I sat down with my laptop, a scrap of paper, and a pen, looking through recipes I have pinned, thinking about what I wanted to use up, and what I felt like eating this week. I also looked at the calendar again, and saw that there will be 2 nights this week that will require careful prior planning because we will be busy and not home until right before dinner time. As I looked at each recipe, I quickly jotted down any ingredient I would need to buy. I also thought about breakfast, lunch, and snacks, and staple items that needed replenishing.
This morning, I went through the rough list I made last night, added anything else I thought of that we needed, and then carefully rewrote the list in order of grocery store aisles. (During this, Simon sat on my lap and doodled on my papers with a pencil, hence all the scribble marks in the photos.) Spending a few minutes rewriting my list in order like that saved me so. much. time. at the store today. I was able to skip over 2 or 3 aisles at a time here and there because I knew I didn’t need to bother with them, whereas I used to wander up and down each one, looking to see what I might remember needing. (And usually grabbing junk that we didn’t need because it seemed appealing in the moment.)
My total for this week: Just $84! That got me all the ingredients I need to make the meals on my menu plan, plus all of the other food items we needed here. There was only one non-food item on my list, dish scrubbers, which if you subtract brings my total down to $82. I also had two coupons, which would have brought me down even more, to $80.90…but the cashier forgot to use them and I didn’t notice until I got home.
Here is my meal plan for the week:
Monday: Veggie Pot Pie
Tuesday: Soup with Turkey Apple hot sandwiches
Wednesday: Lemon Garlic Spaghetti with Peas, and Roasted Green Beans for a side
Thursday: Veggie Burgers with Corn and Sliced Veggies on the side
Friday: Rice Noodles with Broccoli and Tofu covered in Peanut Sauce
Sunday: Easter dinner with family
I am saving some money by making some things from scratch, tonight’s pie crust and the peanut sauce for example. Tuesday night’s soup is pre-made because we have music class and need to save time. Thursday’s meal is fast and easy too, I bought pre-made veggie burgers, because that night we won’t be home until later as well. Several of these meals will produce leftovers that can be eaten for lunch.
OK, now here is my grocery list from today:
Deli: bulkie rolls, hummus, all-natural shaved turkey breast, sliced cheese, a wedge of fresh parmesan.
Produce: one onion, one organic granny smith apple, 2 lemons, 2 limes, extra firm tofu, bananas, one cucumber, organic cherry tomatoes, green beans. (I had planned on buying a yellow bell pepper, but they were out of organic, and since bell peppers are one of the dirty dozen I decided to skip it. However, they had nice looking organic pears, so I grabbed a 3-pack of those instead because Simon and Jeramy both love pears.)
Next Aisles: almond milk, cranberry mustard, dark brown sugar, jar of mandarin oranges packed in juice, dried cranberries, a loaf of bread.
Frozen Foods: 2 bags of mixed veggies, one bag of broccoli, veggie burgers.
Far Aisles: dish scrubbies, cereal bars for Simon, organic yogurt, unsalted butter.
Aside from the pears, I did not stray from my list one bit.
It feels so good to have a plan, to stick with it, to save money. (This week I am 16 dollars under budget!) I also know I will waste less food if I keep this up, because instead of buying a vegetable thinking “I’ll find a use for this” only to discover it spoiling in the crisper 5 days later, I will actually be referencing my menu plan for ingredients.
If you do meal planning, leave me a comment. I’d love to hear about how you go about it, or your tips.