monday – menus and more


I’m starting lots of new practices around the house, all in the spirit of living with less.  Less spending, less, stuff, less waste, lots of less.

The changes included creating a grocery list, clipping coupons, having a weekly food budget and menu planning.  That’s a lot of stuff just to have less.  And I have much to learn about how to do it all well.  But I’m working on it.

Since I’m not the best at creating tasks and sticking to them I thought I’d make it more of a challenge.  Each week I’ll create a menu and post it here.  It’s not a new idea, I know.  In fact, it’s all over the web, I’m just one of a herd of menu planners.  But it’s all about the process.  Read the circulars, find out what’s on sale, create the grocery list, create the menu, adjust the grocery list, go shopping, everything’s in the house to make the meals, no wandering the store aisles buying willy-nilly.  Follow the logic?  I used to do a lot of willy-nilly.  Now I willy-nilly no more.

If it makes no sense to you, don’t worry.  You may not be of the menu planning herd.  That’s okay.  If I could I’d be of the eating someone else’s food all the time herd, but that’s just not an option.  Unless you’re a chef and want to work for me.  For free.  Or your the perfect grandparent and you’d like to adopt me.  I have a very nice family.

So, what’s on the menu?  Let’s see…

Sunday:  boneless pork chops and broccoli (I really wanted mashed cauliflower but the store that had it on sale didn’t have any and I’d already been to 4 stores and spent my budget)

Monday:  chicken and corn on the cob

Tuesday:  hamburgers , homemade buns, mac ‘n cheese, salad

Wednesday:  pasta, salad (maybe spaghetti, maybe garlic and oil, kinda depends on my mood that day)

Thursday:  leftovers, if there are none – eggs in spicy tomato sauce

Friday/Saturday:  I get a pass as we are going out of town for the weekend.  No cooking!!

And yes, it’s only one meal a day.  We eat more, I just figure you don’t need to know about every calorie.  These are the major ones – dinner.  I know, the descriptives are a little vague.  I’m not a fan of recipes so I don’t always have the complete dish in mind but I know the main ingredient.  Don’t worry, if I’m ever planning anything specific (like Pioneer Woman’s chicken spaghetti) I’ll be sure to link to it.

This is week 2 of menu planning and week 1 of telling you about it.  So prepare for changes.  I don’t know what they might be so I’m preparing too.

♦ ♦ ♦

I’ll also tell you what I spent.  Again, in a vague way.  But enough so that I feel some compulsion to stick to the budget lest I have to tell you I failed so soon after starting.

Here goes, week 1 of $80 budget…

Sprouts Farmers Market – $25.73 (not only are their prices good, I get 5¢ back for every bag I bring in)

Trader Joe’s – $12.64 (I think this is the least I have ever spent at TJ’s for a weekly shop, blame it on Sprouts)

99¢ Store – $2.80 (Never thought it would happen, but I went and got three food items.  Less than 3 bucks!)

Vons – $43.18 (I will say, with coupons and card savings this was a $34.16 savings.  Plus I bought 2 5lb bags of flour and dry milk which are beyond a weekly food item.)

So, I’m $4.35 over budget.  I’ll just have to try better next week.  Although, I’m actually thrilled with where we’re at.  I have a stocked freezer of chicken, beef and pork and my pantry is not looking to shabby.  Consider that my freezer is a small above fridge compartment and my pantry is 4 shelves of an over-the-counter cupboard before you judge me.  I just like to make sure you have all the facts.  Feel free to judge away.

Where did the $80 limit come from, you ask?  Well, I’ll tell you.  The Frugal Girl uses $80 (sometimes $100) to feed her family of 2 adults and 4 kids.  That’s beyond impressive to me.  I took into consideration where we live, stores available to us and some items we feel are musts.  I balance our need for organic milk (at a much higher price, of course) and my desire to shop at the weekly farmer’s market versus the better prices available on sale produce at the stores.

It’s a work in progress.  Consider these my thoughts on the matter.  I’m just sharing them out loud.  Lucky you.

Feel free to share back.

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6 Comments to “monday – menus and more”

  1. I am so impressed by this budget! What are you doing for b-fasts and lunches? Are they included in the budget?

  2. Emma James, breakfast and lunch are included in the budget. My hope is that it will cover all of our food costs as well as our typical household needs like toilet paper and what few cleaning supplies I do buy.

    Breakfast is usually cereal, banana & toast for my husband, Toddler L and I have toast (all from homemade bread) and some fruit. In the winter it is often times oatmeal for us. And lunch is whatever I can get Toddler L to eat and whatever looks good in the fridge for me. Husband usually takes a pre-packaged noodle bowl to the office. They’re not that expensive and it makes him happy so I go with it.

  3. I’ve recently started doing the same kind of things (menu plan, budget, coupons, etc…). It’s actually kinda hard to stick to a budget. I’ve budgeted $100 a week for 3 adults and a teenager. I still keep managing to go over. The Frugal Girl is quite impressive in her ability to stay under budget.

  4. sabrinajl, I agree that The Frugal Girl is motivating! And I can only hope it get’s easier because it’s hard here too. I take comfort and inspiration from reading about others’ adventures.

  5. I am truly in awe of feeding a family in under US$100! I Cook everything fresh, from scratch for 3 people, ( 1 adult, 1 child) and it includes breakfasts, lunches and dinner.
    I am happy if I can make $AU140. I am very concerned to keep the fat, sugar and salt content low and the nutrition content high. So fresh fruit and veggies, and lean meat, and fish wherever I can.

  6. lala, At AU140 you’re just under US$100. Keep that up and you can be in awe of yourself. I don’t know how things are down under but I am amazed (now that I’m paying attention) how little I can spend and still get great produce and meat on sale.

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