I figured I would write how I plan our meals. I know I’ve shared our weekly menu’s before, however, I never documented the process.
If you’re wondering why I choose to share this, the answer is very simple.
I used to never budget for groceries and I never made a grocery list. Once my family grew and my budget shrank, I relied on trial and error in order to find what works best for my family through budgeting, making lists, and meal plans. By sharing my process, I feel like I can help others.
Alright. On to step one. The most important thing is to know your budget. Every budget is different. Whenever I first set our budget, it was way to low. We found ourselves out of food days before pay day. We also spent a lot of time running back and forth to the store for goodies to satisfy a sweet tooth, etc.
Our budget is $200 every two weeks. (We are a family of five.) Usually, I can stay a little under, however, we moved to a new state and prices here are a little higher on most of the food staples.
Now that you have a budget in mind, the next step will be to create a menu. I make a numbered list for 14 dinners. I also make a category for breakfast, lunch, and sides.
Here is one of my meal plans.
Next, I make the grocery list. I look to see what I already have in my pantry and then go from there. I shop at 3 different stores: Sam’s Club, Aldi, and Wal-Mart. I find that I can buy most of what we need from these three and stay within the budget.
My list usually spills onto two pages. I also purchase non-food items along with the groceries, which I set aside additional money for.
For additional savings, you may want to price match and use any coupons that match up to your list. Also, I had roast on my menu. While I was at the store, pork chops were on sale, so I purchased those instead of the roast which was twice the cost of the chops. I do this for other items on my list as well.
My total estimate for this shopping trip was $206.82
My ACTUAL total cost for food items only were, $203.23
My NON-FOOD items cost me $57.75
This included a xmas gift, toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, and two boxes of diapers.