Disclaimer: This is only my second time shopping every two weeks for food, so I am still sorting out the kinks.
I used to shop weekly on Sundays for groceries to maximize sales. Waiting in lines and trying to get past all the people in the crowded aisles really made shopping a chore. Then there would be times when I couldn’t go for whatever reason on Sunday, so I would have to go during the week after work which always made the shopping trip more difficult because I hate going shopping after work. I like to just come home, make dinner and relax. Going to the store messed up my routine.
I am following the Dave Ramsey Baby Steps (currently in BS2), which means I want to cut my food budget as much as I can. Frequent shopping trips during the week add up tremendously as things always get thrown in the cart which we didn’t even know we needed. I’ll go to the store for one thing and end up spending $50. Or sometimes there might be a deal and I justify that I need 10 boxes of whatever.
Meal planning has really helped me cut back on this. I make a plan and only buy the items needed to make those foods. This has at times made me anxious about not having much food stores, but I always have just what I need and I have less waste as a result. Doing two weeks worth of shopping is challenging in new ways, but I am up to the task. I go on Fridays that I get paid and since it’s after work and I don’t have to work the next day, I am not rushed. Let’s start with the meal plan.
- Baked ziti
- Crock pot chicken cacciatore
- Chicken curry and rice
- Chicken and broccoli stir-fry
- French bread pizzas
- Beef burrito casserole
- Jalapeño popper chicken casserole
- Cheddar corn chowder
- Stewed chicken
- Spaghetti and meatballs
- Hot dogs and tater tots
- Cheesesteak stuffed peppers
Obviously, there is nothing fancy about this meal plan, but I’ve come a long way, rest-assured.
One thing to note about shopping with a meal plan is that things don’t always go as planned. For example, I wanted to make those cheesesteak stuffed peppers very badly. They looked yummy as hell. But guess what? The two grocery stores I went to didn’t have any shaved steak. And I could have bought the frozen stuff, but it’s just not the same at all. Therefore, cheesesteak stuffed peppers is now going to be BBQ chicken thighs instead. And I chopped up the peppers I bought and froze them so there would be no waste.
Here is my haul from Aldi costing me $119.41.
I spent an additional $83.91 at ShopRite bringing me at $3.32 above my alotted budget of $200. (If only I hadn’t seen these discounted muffins. Cinnamon chip mmmmm).
I think I did pretty good, but only the next two weeks will tell. Let me know what you do for meal planning and how you save money on groceries in the comments. I would love to hear from you.