Today I wanted to share with all of you what I have started doing to watch how much Cameron and I spend in the grocery department. When I had my job with Lilly Cameron and I worked to be diligent with our money, but never had to be super watchful of our spending. We wanted to use our money wisely, put some into savings, and make a dent on my student loans thanks to what we learned at Financial Peace University (a class that I could write an entire post praising), but being super watchful was not a requirement. Fast forward to now and we are both in grad school working to stretch every dollar of my GA stipend. Oh how times have changed ;)
I believe that this change is good, because we should be intentional with our money and how we spend. My view is that the money God blesses our family with is not our own, it is God's provision and we should spend it wisely and bless others with it. To do this I decided we needed to be more watchful in all areas of spending but especially in our grocery spending. Before we would go grocery shopping once a week and stock up on necessities, but I found myself stopping at the grocery store most nights on my way home because I needed to grab one or two items for the dinner that I decided I was going to make that day in the car. And inevitably when I stopped to pick up those one or two items I ended up spotting a "good deal" or something new that I
Six weeks ago I changed up how we operated when shopping for food and it has made a big difference in my time spent shopping for groceries, time spent planning meals, and the amount of money we spend on groceries. I now grocery shop every other week on Sunday. Each Sunday morning I sit down and plan out meals for the next two weeks. For the hubby and I this usually equates to 4 planned meals a week with the other 3 days reserved for leftovers, frozen pizza, sandwiches, or every once in a while going out to dinner. I have found that the four days planned and three days open works for us in making sure our fridge stays cleared out of leftovers and gives me the option to have "break days" where I am too tired or crazy busy to plan a proper meal.
Here are the meal plans for the next two weeks:
We have a rotating group of staple meals that we both like that get incorporated into the weekly meal plans and I like to try one or two new recipes from friends or pinterest each time to see if new staple meals can be found. I create a shopping list with all of the necessary items for dinners that week along with items for lunches and breakfasts.
My biggest trick to getting our shopping bill low is first stopping at Aldi to get as much of the items on our list as possible. Aldi has most items for quite a bit cheaper than even the generic brand at other super centers or grocery stores. Once I have gotten as much off of my list as possible I will head to Walmart to finish out the list. I also include a stop on weeks that we need red meat to a local grocery store called Harter House. We had a friend that worked there and swears by not only the quality but the price of their meat. The one located in Nixa has great deals too.
The best of changing up how we grocery shop is the saving of resources. I only shop one day every two weeks, it takes me about an hour and a half. We spend $100 or less on groceries for every two weeks, which is a large improvement for us. This method has also got me in the habit of trying new recipes and getting creative with our meals :)
Here are todays shopping totals:
Things to note. I highlighted items on the Aldi receipt because I think they are an incredible deal. I took off the price of the chicken on the Sams Club receipt because this week was not the rotation to buy it, but it was a great deal at Sams that I did not want to miss out on. I plan on adding the price to the total two weeks from now.
Total for all four stops was $106.73. I was a little discouraged because I was almost $7 over my goal, but then I reminded myself that I bought 2 lbs of coffee that will cover us for over a month, 3 lbs of boston burger because it was a great deal, and a 2 1/2 lb roast. The goal of this is not to freak out if I go over, but to encourage the good habits of meal planning, not visiting the grocery store every day, and shopping smartly :) Mission accomplished!
My plan for Sundays from now on is to share my shopping totals and meal plans, share new recipes that I am trying, and share my price checking notebook. If you have questions about any aspect of this let me know and I will incorporate the answers into my Sunday posts. Now I am off to spend the rest of the day with my hubby and puppy and not stress about school because tomorrow is another Sunday!