I plan on posting my weekly grocery totals for self accountability. In the past, the grocery budget seems to run over EVERY. SINGLE. MONTH. There was a lot of waste, which was depressing. There’s nothing worse than throwing out good money on uneaten food. Can you relate? I want to be a good steward of our family money. Don’t you?
So, my first plan of attack in getting the grocery budget under control and making life easier on myself in the process was to make up a menu and buy only the food needed to prepare the menu items. One of the most challenging parts of my day was deciding “What are we going to eat for dinner?” Originally, I was only planning on making up a one week menu and riding that out for the whole year. Understandably, I was overcome with boredom contemplating eating the same thing every week and I knew that if I felt that way my family would as well. So, I developed a two week menu rotation. Then, with menu in hand, I made up my grocery list. I lump in essential household items into the grocery budget, as well. So, things like toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, etc. are also on the list. And we have a *limited* amount of snacks on our list.
My monthly budget for a family of five (only two adults) is $1,250, which worked out to $250/week, because I started the week of 12/29 and need to make it all the way to the end of January. The first week I spent $398.84. Fail! Right? But I don’t think so, because I bought meat in bulk the first week at our local wholesale grocery, which should last most of the month. Once I had my receipts, I went through my list and wrote down the price of each item, so I could track cost. I do my grocery shopping Sunday afternoon after church and usually hit three different grocery stores: one for bulk items, one for good organic items and one for great prices.
My first win for last week: no eating out…not once! That’s huge for my family. BUT we were off from all of our activities. The true test will be this week when we restart homeschool, our co-op and all of our other activities. My challenge is not breaking down and eating out when I am exhausted, especially on our homeschool co-op days. My plan of attack is a simple meal with very little prep time for that night. My second win for last week: we ate all of our leftovers and NO food was thrown out. Truly, that is almost unheard of for us. So, I’m feeling really optimistic that we can do this.
My loss for last week was the kids not liking the egg quiche I made on the weekend, which my husband and I loved. After discussing it, we are going to continue with the quiche and the kids can have cereal and fruit. We are not normally cereal eaters nor do we offer multiple options for meals (i.e. our kids know ‘this is what we are having to eat’) but the cook needs a weekend off. The quiche is super quick and easy. I make a double serving on Saturday, so we can have leftovers Sunday morning and nobody has to cook. The kids also weren’t fans of every meal I made, but we always make them try the food because we know it is good for them and nutritious. And, I make sure to always have a side item I know is something they already like, which cuts down on complaining.
Dinner Menu Week 1:
Monday: Pork Tenderloin/Green Beans/Potatoes
Tuesday: Corned Beef Brisket/Cabbage/Carrots/Potatoes
Wednesday: Cod/Rice/Carrots and Peas
Thursday: Chicken stir fry/rice
Friday: Homemade pizza
Sunday: Rotisserie Chicken (store bought), macaroni & cheese, baked beans
Lunches are very simple: ham sandwiches or PB&J or grilled cheese for the kids and a salad for me.
Breakfast: eggs, sausage and toast on the weekdays
There it is! Our first week menu and grocery budget. Looking forward to seeing how this week goes.
What about you? How do you keep your budget under control? Do you have a set menu?