Tag Archives: menu planning

$50 grocery budget

11 Oct

Jason and I are pretty thrifty people. We buy just about everything we need second hand or at thrift stores and we have reduced our eating out to about once a month. We don’t take expensive vacations and instead we take short road trips or go to my cabin. But one thing that we weren’t always thrifty about was groceries. When we first moved in together we wouldn’t think anything of going to Wal-mart and spending $150 a week on groceries and other random stuff that we thought we needed. One day we went to Adli‘s and realized that their groceries were so much cheaper. Instead of $150 we were spending $50. At first it took some getting used to. We would go to Aldi’s first and then to Wal-mart for some things that we thought we needed but Aldi’s didn’t have. But eventually we just took on the attitude that if Aldi’s doesn’t have it, we don’t need it.

Even though we used to spend about $150 a week on groceries it still pains/confuses em to hear about people doing that now. I guess its because we’ve been only spending $50 for so long. Some people ask us what we eat or joke that we only eat beans and rice and vegetables (since we don’t eat meat). But in reality we eat awesome meals and there’s never a night where I feel like, gee I wish we weren’t having _____ for dinner but since it’s cheap I’ll eat it.

To illustrate my point that you can spend very little money and eat delish food I documented my grocery shopping process.

  • First, I make a list of what we can have for dinner. I only come up with five dinners because we always have leftovers or a pantry meal I can make on the weekends. I don’t plan breakfasts of lunches because we always have bread for toast or cereal in the pantry and we eat leftover dinner for lunch.
  • Planning a meal around what you have in your fridge/pantry saves a ton of money and uses up what you have before it goes bad.
  • imageFor instance, this week I have a bag of  shrimp in the freezer so that is the main component of one meal already. I also have a ton of frozen vegetables in my freezer and one of my favorite ways to use them up is so throw them in the crock pot and make a curry sauce to go with them.
  • imageAfter I make my list I head to Aldi’s. Some Aldi’s have different layouts and some are bigger than others but the main things that I have notice about all Aldi’s is they are all clean, well organized, and well stocked. That is more than I can say for most other grocery stores.
  • imageContrary to popular belief Aldi’s carries that same items week to week unlike close out grocery store which only sells close out items in limited quantities. I have been buying the same fit and active brand string cheese for about 100 weeks in a row (Jason loves them!).image
  • My usual total is somewhere between $30 and $50 depending on what we want for dinner and what we already have on hand to use. I was really happy that the total was only $36 this week! My grocery budget includes paper products and cleaning products as well as food.
  • imageHere is all of my food when I got home! I usually don’t by this much snack/processed food but we have been in the snack mood lately so I picked up some tortilla chips and toasted ravioli’s.
  • I didn’t need bread, Milk, or Eggs this week. Jason and I go through about a half gallon of milk every 2 weeks, a loaf of bread every week or two and we only buy free range egg (usually from local farmers) about once a month. If you had to buy these things every week the total might come closer to $50 every time.
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This Weeks Menu

27 Sep

Last week my crock pot and I were bff’s. I made Crock Pot potato soup and Crock pot lasagna and they both came out SO good!  I have recently started using crock pot liners which have saved me so much time and aggravation. This week I plan on continuing my love affair with the crock pot.

Breakfast:

  • Bagels
  • Egg and cheese sandwich
  • Cereal
  • Granola bars

Lunch:

  • Leftovers
  • Toasted Cheese Sandwich
  • PB and J
  • Soup

Dinner:

  • Mushroom Stroganoff (I’ve made this about a hundred time and it is fabulous! I follow the recipe exactly but omit the tomato paste)
  • Crock pot fettuccine Alfredo
  • Stuffed cabbage casserole in the crock pot (I don’t eat meat so I substitute TVP for the ground beef and don’t plan on sauteing anything, just throw everything in the crock pot and go!)
  • Mexican Lasagna
  • Chilli

Hopefully my success with the crock pot continues this week! Check out OrgJunkie.com for tons more menu planning!

Menu Planning

21 Sep

One thing that has really helped Jason and I save money while we have lived together is menu planning. It seems like such a simple concept but for the first 6 months or so that we lived together we would just go to Walmart and load the cart up with whatever we thought looked good. We would usually spend about $150 a week. Looking back I can’t believe we wasted so much money! Now we sit down each week and figure out what we would like to eat for dinner for the week and then make a menu plan around it.

I don’t make it so we have a specific meal on a specific day. I just make six meals and we decide throughout the week what we would like. I also always include 2 crock pot meals because I have late classes on Wednesdays and Thursdays and if I leave Jason to fend for himself he usually goes and gets fast food which defeats the purpose of our no spend month.

Here is this week’s menu plan-

Breakfasts-

  • Muffins
  • Banana’s
  • Oatmeal
  • Toast

Lunches-

  • Leftovers (I always double whatever I made for dinner so that we have leftovers for lunch)
  • Toasted cheese sandwich
  • Soup

Dinners-

With our meal plan and shopping exclusively at Aldi’s we save about $110 a week. No Joke. We used to spend about $150 now we spend around $40. The only thing we still struggle with is easy to make cheap snacks. Every night about 2 hours after dinner we search for snacks and usually come up empty handed. What does everyone else snack on in the evening?