Planning our meals works! I’ve already saved hundreds of dollars and I’ve only been at it since mid-December! What’s great is seeing that much of a savings in such a short time!
The proof, as they say, is in the pudding (or, in my case, the pork loin)! Last week’s grocery bill was under $80; a far cry from the old family grocery tab of, on average, over $300 a week (don’t judge me!)!
I still had stuff in my freezer and pantry to incorporate into my meals as need be: cans of red beans, black beans, popcorn for snacks (we only use the old fashioned kind since a good friend of mine gave me an OrvilleRedenbacher Popcorn Popper!), frozen bag of shrimp and pasta, nearly a case of tomato soup, tons of frozen veggies, and a menagerie of other food stuff. Although no one was starving by any measure of the word, I did want to start incorporating more healthy lunches into the plan. I mean, it was great that the kids had used up most of the mac and cheese in the pantry (I hadn’t bought expensive deli in three weeks!), but, I knew that, even though they #love it, a bit more variety was in order! Additionally, the kids were about to go back to school after a long holiday break, and I needed to make sure they had lunches available to bring to school.
Green Smoothies for mom, cereal or instant oatmeal (we had a giant box left over from a BJ’s shop a few months back) for the kids, eggs for dad. Also on hand, apples, bananas, and peaches.
Based upon what was in the pantry, we had the following choices for the kids’ lunches: tomato Soup in a thermos, Tuna fish sandwiches, PB & J Sandwiches, salad, leftovers in the microwaveable thermoses I bought, sliced hot dogs, broiled chicken cubes & veggie/fruit/cheese on skewers, hard boiled eggs, apples slices, celery, sliced peppers, bottled water.
- Mexican Fare featuring Black Beans Quesidillas and rice: I had bought Monteray Jack Cheese, Colby Cheese, and Flour Tortillas last week (somehow they got confused and put in last week’s grocery list instead of this week’s), so I didn’t need to add much to my grocery list – just some salsa and sour cream.
- Chicken Stirfry: I had two chicken breasts left over from last week’s buy at @Walmart. I had a giant bag of frozen stirfry veggies in my freezer (Lord only knows how long they had been there). I had replenished my soy sauce during last week’s grocery shop. I had plenty of white rice on hand. This meal was a no-brainer.
- Thai Turkey Lettuce Cups: This was a recipe we had tried a few months ago and LOVED! Healthy, fun, and delicious! It’s a keeper! What’s more, I still had some of the ingrediants on hand, e.g. peanuts and rice vinegar.
- Chicken and Rice with Mushrooms and steamed asparagus:. A new menu I found online when searching for budget friendly dishes. I had left over asparagus from the previous week.
- Garlic Pasta and Shrimp: I knew in the future I would probably not be buying this old standby – Processed food is the kiss of death for the budget, not to mention that it’s not the most healthy choice for dinner! However, I had a family-sized package of it in the freezer that I needed to use.
- Greek Baked Ziti: I found this recipe while searching for “healthy and budget friendly meals”. Like you probably do, I have tons of pasta in the closet that I’ve accumulated from past shops, including several packages of ziti. I also have excess ground beef in the freezer (remember how Walmart doubled my order for the same price?).
- Camellia Chipotle Black Bean Soup and Yellow Rice. I am addicted to this black bean soup mix which you can buy for about $6 at Walmart. Add a red pepper, red onions, and no salt added chicken stock to make enough to feed a family of four for pennies! I serve it over yellow rice and, if you want, add a lime, some sour cream, and an avocado. I keep it on hand and had two bags of it still in the pantry.
Staples Needed: Parchment Paper (3.48), bananas (1.63), 3 cases flavored, sparkling water ($2.98 each), 2-15 count water (2.00 ea.), frozen mango chunks ($2.05), frozen peaches (2.52), 2 boxes of cereal 24 oz each (about $3 each), distilled water (.88), frozen pineapple ($2.00), 11 oz. baby spring mix salad mix ($4.78), 2-32 oz. creamer ($2.48) (Ok, so we like our coffee & cream and one bottle didn’t quite make it through the entire seven days!), salt (.54), our favorite brand of popcorn (not microwave, the real kernels) -Orville Redenbacher ($4.98); 3 lb. bag yellow onions ($3.24), 1 gal. canola oil ($5.97), 52 oz. @Ajax dish soap ($2.96), sliced whole wheat bread ($1.88), 12 rolls -Toilet Paper (6.23)
Menu Items to Buy: Prepared Salsa ($2.98), Sour Cream, 1 lb. ground turkey ($1.50), head of lettuce ($1.64), English cucumber (1.98), fresh mint ($1.98), 1/4 c. dried mushrooms ($3.74), 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs ($6.31 for over 1 lb), 8 oz. cremini mushrooms (not on the Walmart app), frozen green peas (.84), chopped fresh thyme ($1.98), 8 oz. pkg. shredded #mozzarella cheese ($4.22).
TOTAL BILL: $100.56