Can I just say I LOVE TO GET YOUR QUESTIONS! I love it when you guys e-mail and ask me stuff that makes me examine what I’m doing.
I’m also getting lots of women who want to try decreasing their weekly budget but aren’t sure how to even begin squeezing it down. So I thought maybe if I walked you through the step by step process of planning my weekly shopping trip there might be something that jumps out at you and you can adopt into your own grocery plans.
I also want to point out that even though my ideal budget was $50 for my family of six it seems like my average is closer to $60. Some weeks I hit $40 and sometimes I’m at $63. Maybe inflation, maybe the crazy gas prices which are increasing our food prices, maybe just reality. Who knows? But that’s the facts for ya.
So, the first thing that is the most important to my shopping trip is having a plan. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a meal plan. I usually plan seven breakfasts and seven dinners on Sunday nights because Monday is my shopping day. I also take a good look at what’s happening in our week. Maybe there’s a night that we are eating at a friends house. Or maybe it’s a potluck and I need to bring a certain type of dish. Whatever the case may be, I plan for it ahead of time in my meal plan.
The FIRST thing I do is take stock of what’s in my cupboards, fridge, and freezer. I figure out what kind of main ingredients I have on hand and begin my meal planning centered on those items. Right now I’ve got four 1lb packages of hamburger in my freezer. So I would go to my favorite recipe site and do a search by ingredient using “ground beef” as my search word. Then I sort the recipes by their rating which means that all the recipes that have been tried and judged will be put in order from best to worst. I don’t even mess with anything that doesn’t have 4 stars or higher.
Now I look through the list and find one that looks appetizing. Say I pick this one for Sloppy Joes. What I’m looking for is a recipe that has been rated high but one that also uses ingredients that I already have on hand so I only have to buy a few things to complete the meal. I already have all the ingredients for this in my cupboard so all I would have to buy are the buns. Check! That one is going on my meal plan and I only have to add one thing to my grocery list.
I continue my search for more recipes using what’s in my cupboards. I’ve also got lots of rice so I might search with that word. Sometimes I just search by something that sounds yummy or by using the word “breakfast” or “low cal”. Sometimes I have bananas that are about to go bad so I’ll search for banana recipes. But I always make sure it’s nothing that requires expensive or exotic ingredients.
Once I’ve got my meals planned out using the items I already have and only adding things to my list that I would need to complete the recipes, I add things that we’ve run out of and I need to replace. This doesn’t mean every little thing that I’ve run out of during the week. It just means the basics that I need every week. I wouldn’t put down the rosemary that I just used up unless I needed it for a recipe the following week. Otherwise I’d spend all my money replacing things that I had run out of but didn’t really need yet. That can get costly. If I was out of flour, sugar, toilet paper, vanilla, salt…things that I would use everyday than I would need to add those to my list.
Once that’s done then I’m ready to shop. I'll talk about that in my next post since this one is unusually long. I don't want to lose you.