FREE WHOLE FOODS
Okie dokie folks, I'm trying something I've never done before, and figured it might be something you're curious about too!
While I love menu planning, shopping sales ads, and using coupons, just like you I get plain-ole'-worn-out sometimes. This summer I've been awful about menu planning and grocery shopping, and our “eating out” budget has paid the price.
While our family finances have changed and we've got some wiggle room in our budget, I hate seeing how much money we're throwing away because I'm not choosing to be a good steward of our money. So, last week I decided that for the month of August I'm going to try once a month shopping.
Before shopping, I cleaned out our pantry, refrigerator and freezer so that I really knew what we had in stock. We still have quite a bit of meat that I stocked up on during good sales over the last six months, so I wasn't completely starting from scratch.
I also made a mental note of any laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, toiletries, and paper products we were low on. (Thankfully we were pretty stocked up on everything except laundry detergent, which definitely helped this month!)
Because Kroger is having a huge Mega Sale this week, I went through the coupon matchups quickly, hunted down a few coupons and headed out to shop. (My coupons are a mess, but I was super excited to have several Garnier & Tresemme coupons making those just $1, and 2 Buy One Get One Free General Mills Cereal coupons which made the big boxes just $.50 each after they deducted $4!)
When I checked out my total was $223 for $390 in groceries. This is by far the most I've ever spent in one grocery trip (I usually spend $65 – $75 on bigger trips), and it literally took two carts to get everything out the door.
My plan is to budget an additional $25 each week during the month for a weekly trip. Here's what I'm hoping to purchase with that money:
- fresh produce
- any fantastic coupon deals (this will be tough which is why I haven't tried this before ~ we'll see how it goes!)
And here are the meals we have on the menu plan . . .
- Pizza Pasta Bake (this one or this one)
- Barbecue Stuffed Potatoes
- Slow Cooker Ranch Chicken Tacos or Nachos
- Homemade Pizza (this one or this one)
- Grilled Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops
- Grilled Chicken
- Slow Cooker Alfredo or Homemade Olive Garden Fettuccine Alfredo
- Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Bake
- Slow Cooker Chicken & Dressing
- Zaxby's Chicken Tenders
- Fettuccine Carbonara
- Barbecue Chicken Quesadillas
- Breakfast for Dinner
- Frozen Pizza (x2)
- Hamburgers (x2)
- Hot Dogs
- Something with ham 🙂 (we have a bunch of ham left over that's been in the freezer from Easter and I'm determined to use it up this month – if all else fails we'll have ham sandwiches and egg & cheese omelets!)
IF (that's a big if!) everything goes according to the plan, this is how our budget will look:
- Once a month shopping trip $225
- An additional $25 for groceries weekend of August 8th, August 16th, and August 23rd
- Total = $300 for our family of five, or $75 per week
I already noticed a few things that we'll need to pick up at the store this morning while I was baking. Here's the list of things (I'm putting it here so I won't lose it, and you'll get a peek as to what things are always worth keeping on hand!)
- baking soda
- large plastic bags
- chocolate chips (I made pancakes this morning for a slew of kids and they begged for chocolate chips ~ then I decided we needed chocolate chip banana bread too, so only 1 day in and I'm all out of my only bag) 🙂
And last but not least, here are my concerns:
1) Food rationing. 🙂
Part of the reason I don't like keeping massive amounts of food in our house is that if it's here, my kids will hunt it down and eat it. I explained to them yesterday that this was our “big” week of shopping, so there would be no more goldfish, ice cream, or juice boxes purchased until September. (The juice boxes and goldfish are for school lunches – with school not starting until next week you can bet it's going to be tough for them to wait!) I'm curious to see how they'll do, so we'll have to wait and see.
2) Missing a deal.
By limiting my budget each week I may miss a few deals, but after doing this for years I know another deal just about always comes around. Hopefully I'll be okay with that (we'll see!)
3) Not allowing myself a trip to the store from now until the weekend.
I make quick trips into the store pretty regularly, so I'm not sure how I'll do not shopping only once a week. I think it will hugely improve our budget, but definitely means I need to plan things out well in advance. What I love about this idea though is how much more efficient I can be if I take the time to plan things ~ by planning ahead on what we need, I should save myself time, money, and even gas as I won't be making extra trips to the store!