Well we sure do not eat dog food around here, that stuff is expensive! I could buy a lot of groceries with that money, and I do! Now I know not everyone is able to make a meal every night, some have busier schedules than others. Some prefer to eat out more often, some don't know how to cook, or are trapped in the ease convenience foods offer. Some also live in a higher cost of living area than where we do. There are lots of things that factor into a grocery budget. Believe me, I didn't get here over night- we used to be all those people! But I have been asked several times for a walk though of how we do it. So here it goes. I'm going to take you along with me on our two week meal planning journey! Are you excited yet? I am! I have to say this post is going to be a bit challenging for me, and it might get long, you have been warned! But you will see just how we make it all work. And I promise, no dog food! But there will be some yummy dinner pictures!
Where it all starts. We have decided that every two weeks we do our meal planning and grocery shopping. I buy and plan for enough to get us until the end of two weeks and then we start it all over again, rinse and repeat, you get the picture. First it starts by sitting down with Mr. Bacon and the kids. This is usually done around a big breakfast on the weekend (normally a Saturday unless we are busy). After breakfast we talk about what we'd like for meals the next two weeks. Yes completely as a family! The kids get to pick out one meal each that they would like to have. This helps get them involved. They also get to help make that dinner the night we are having it.
|my crazy insane way to organize it all, yes I'm a list person!|
Here is what we came up with for the two weeks (this was from Aug. 12-27th). These are in no particular order. We do check out the calender and see if we need to make adjustments for anything that is scheduled, like when one of us works. I also check out the weather! Yes I do. Why? Right now it's grilling season and I want to make sure if I'm planning to grill out, it won't rain on my parade!
Here is our dinner meal plan.
Spaghetti, garlic cheese bread, salad
Grilled chicken, wild rice, sauteed mushrooms, peas & carrots on grill, garlic toast
Grilled steak & shrimp, grilled taters,
crunchy fish, homemade fries, veggie
Tinfoil meal (burger, taters, carrots grilled)
Beef stir fry over rice
Grilled hamburgers, beans and fruit
Italian diced chicken, bread sticks, salad
tacos and fruit
meatloaf (Nancy's!) taters, veggie
chicken wraps & fruit
Breakfast for dinner
Curly chicken and peas
|Yes I really DO know what is in there!|
Want to know what my shopping list looks like for this trip? I have included the prices for each food I bought as well. I know these costs differ depending on where you live. We are in central Minnesota and thankfully the prices are not super high here yet.
Ma Bacon's shopping list:
Wheat Germ $3.50
Liquid smoke $.98
1 Lemon $.48
1 Red pepper $1.64
taco shells $.38 x4 (I bought 4 boxes! They were priced $1.38 and had a $1/1 coupon on them!)
-bananas $1.12 for 2lbs
-apples $3.97/4 lb bag
chicken lunch meat $5.91 for just over 1 lb from deli
hamburger & hot dog buns $1.25 each
coffee creamer $2.38
1lb margarine .92
bread $1.50/loaf x2
cool whip $2.88
provolone cheese slices $3.38
cheese $4.28 1lb block of co-jack
summer sausage $4.98
Milk x3 gallons $3.26 ea
dozen eggs x2 $1.48 ea
frozen juice concentrate x3 $.92 ea
While these were on my list, they do not count to our $200 for groceries. That money is for food only. We do budget $60 a month to spend on 'other' items such as these. Most months we do not spend the whole $60.
paper towels for garage
Tylenol for my teething Bacon Bit
things I picked up that were not on my list
Taco sauce $1.77
BIG can mandarin oranges (Miss Bacon's favorite) $1.66
2 loafs discount french bread $1.04 each
So my total for my entire shopping trip to buy food for two weeks = $82.71! I'm over by $2.71, I guess I should have put back that cool whip, but it's so yummy on my coffee drinks and the kids like it as a treat on their ice cream, and it was delicious on those waffles we had for dinner the other night! But it wasn't something we needed. In the end. I don't think we did too bad considering how the prices of everything has gone up. Has anyone else noticed this too? It seems almost everything we bought we had to pay about .20 more for. Honestly Mr. Bacon and I have been thinking of increasing our food budget by $20 because of that. Right now we are trying to keep it at that $200 level as much as we can.
Now we also buy food from Sam's club like I mentioned earlier. We budget out $40 a month from the $200 and keep it separate. Then about every three months we stock up on things like meat and frozen veggies. This is the cheapest way for us to buy meat we found. We used to search the sale ad's and shop several different stores to get what is on sale, but since moving a few years ago we don't have access to all those stores without a long drive. This is easier and cheaper for us. So here is what our trip there looks like with costs.
Sam's Club List:
2- 6# bag frozen chicken breasts 12.98
3# pepperoni 8.18
3 cheese blend (for pizzas) $14.24
10# 93% lean ground beef $27.73
Round steaks $12.58 (can't remember how many pounds this was, but it's enough for 2 meals)
4# apples 6.48
animal crackers 6.68
container of taco seasoning $3.98
3# bananas $1.48
Giant can ketchup $3.28
6 pack black olives $6.78
Yes I know, I'm over by $17.31. It's not always perfect and thankfully I had extra left over from a few weeks back in the grocery budget. When I have extra left over in my grocery budget and there are no good sales to stock up on, many times I move the extra to the Sam's club folder. That way we are covered when this happens. Also I was shocked once again on the rise in prices. Flour went up $2, pepperoni almost $3 since the last time we shopped. I still don't think we did too bad to get though the next three months. We do still have a few things in the freezer like pork loin, and a few roasts that help to get through too.
Now that we are fully stocked for two weeks, I can relax and not have to worry about last minute items I forgot to buy and running to the store for one thing and coming home with three bags of things we didn't need and fifty less dollars in my pocket!!
So are you curious about what else we eat besides dinner? I assure you we have 3 meals a day and even a few snacks added in there, no one goes hungry around here. All the items I needed to make the rest of what we eat I had on hand.
Breakfasts are pretty laid back here:
Waffles- usually I make them ahead and freeze them so we just pop them in the toaster
scrambled eggs (with ham I found in freezer & cheese)
Amish friendship bread (I have tons of these loafs in the freezer, a month ago I did a double batch which made 16 loafs of bread!!)
Lunches around here look much like this:
PB & J
lunch meat sandwiches
homemade pizza (of some form)
waffles or pancakes
leftovers from dinner
All lunch is served with some type of fruit or veggie and usually homemade yogurt.
circle crackers (like ritz) with peanut butter
homemade cookies, or bars (I usually make a batch a week or every other week)
air popped popcorn
homemade granola bars
homemade trail mix
So once again, we don't eat dog food around here! And no one can complain they can't find anything to eat either! I hope this has helped you figure out how exactly how we shop and plan to feed the Bacon family and just how to spend around $200 a month to feed a family of 6. I'm always busy planning and working hard to keep it at this amount. I actually like showing just how it can be done. And I know a lot of you are thinking, sure I could do it one week, but every week I'm not sure on. So I'm going to do this a few times so you can see it does work! You have to put some effort into it, you have to be willing to learn to cook or make meals yourself too. If you are going to try to start to trim down your grocery budget I suggest to start small with baby steps. Replace a few convenience meals with homemade meals (I have lots of yummy one's on the blog if you need inspiration!). Try your hand at making a few snacks at home too or cut out a night of out to eat. All these will help you slowly add more bacon to your own pocket!
And hey I promised some yummy dinners right? Here are some shots from our dinners over the past few days. If this is dog food, there is one happy dog out there!
Do you like this post? Click Here to see another meal planning grocery shopping trip of ours!
|Waffles with strawberries and cool whip, |
homemade yogurt with apples
|curly chicken and peas|
|Fully loaded hamburger and beans|
|Grilled chicken, wild rice, veggies and garlic toast|
|Steak, shrimp, grilled garden vegeies|
grilled taters and sauated mushrooms