Hi friends! I have had enough people ask me about my meal planning, grocery budget and dinner menu that I thought sharing my weekly meal plan would be something to share here, on the blog. To get this started, I wanted to share how, and where I shop and some “rules” I follow. Next week I’ll share my menu, but this week I’ve also included some of my tips.
I do all my grocery shopping on Wednesdays. And only Wednesday. I would rather sit on a cactus than grocery shop twice in one week. I do Wednesdays because Sprouts has double circular day. This means that all the previous week’s specials, as well as the following week’s specials are all applicable that day. You get double the savings! I look through the circulars on Tuesday, and make my meal plan based on the promotions they are running.
First, I should mention that we have 1/3 of a beef in our freezer, so I will make beef meals about once, or more a week and those meals aren’t included in that weekly amount since we have that meat here already. I also make 1-2 trips to Costco a month, ringing up about $150-$200 a trip depending on our needs that month. So I am spending more than $400/month on groceries. But, I do feed my kids breakfast, lunch and dinner from home, or packed in a lunchbox, every day.
I really, really love Sprouts for lots of reasons I won’t bore you with. Here’s where you can find your circular, or if you have a Sprouts near you: Sprouts.com But, hopefully you will find these tips are applicable at your grocery.
- Make a list.
- Y’all know this. You’ve heard it. Sorry to be lame, but it’s true. You have to plan your meals, and you have to make a list.
- I make my list the night before. I sit down with:
- My computer or phone for looking at the circulars (you may get them in the mail)
- Two pieces of paper. One for grocery list, one for my menu.
- My cookbooks nearby, or Pinterest available to refer to my recipes.
- I also have a whiteboard on my fridge to keep track of staples that we need. Peanut butter, milk, ketchup…my whole family is trained to write down anything they realize we are out of.
- Keep to the list.
- you knew that was coming.
- I do make exceptions to that rule if something is on a seriously good sale/on the clearance cart. If it’s something that’s on sale, but you don’t need it this week, the tag often has a “On Sale Until ___” date on it. You can assess whether or not it’s something you want to make an exception for.
- Try to keep your “aisle items” to a minimum, but don’t make a special trip to find them elsewhere.
- Aisle items ARE more expensive at Sprouts. A can of beans is $ .59 at HEB, and $1 at Sprouts. I have tried the approach of, “I’ll get meat, fruits and veggies at Sprouts, and “aisle items” at HEB where they are cheaper.” This didn’t work the way I hoped. I spent too much at HEB after I got all my good, necessary food at Sprouts. There will be something else you forgot you “needed”, there will be a coupon you can’t pass up…you get the idea. Just spend the extra on aisle items while at Sprouts, and just don’t get too many. I have gritted my teeth and spend $7 on peanut butter because we were totally out and I couldn’t get to Costco. It can seem painful but not worth that extra trip.
- Make your menu reflect what’s on sale.
- If pork is on sale, you’re having pork chops. If chicken’s on sale, you’re having chicken.
- As soon as you see something on sale you can use, find a recipe, add the ingredients you need to your grocery list right then and write down what you’re making on your menu.
- Don’t be too picky about fruits and vegetables.
- We eat lots of fruit. Know why my kids think Kiwis are like candy? Because kiwis don’t go on sale. So Smiths get Kiwi every blue moon when I’m feeling very generous:) We regularly eat bananas and apples plus another one or two on sale/in season fruit.
- On my list, I usually just write, “veggies x ___”. I choose from the veggies that look good and are a good price that week. I don’t stress too much about choosing them from the circular while I make my list.
- Don’t make “kid food”
- I have a whole soap box about this. You don’t need to hear it. Just make one meal for your family.
- (If you are pregnant, have a baby, a toddler, or PMS, this doesn’t apply to you. You are in your season. You are pretty and worthy. Your kids, AND your husband like, and appreciate, cereal and sandwiches for dinner.)