Monthly Meal Planning–Take 1!
Hi friends! Guess what I did this month?
You already know? (Because I already told you? Because it’s in the title? Because your genius and my genius are likethis?)
Right-o. Well, I’ll tell you all again, because I’m just so tickled at my little accomplishment: I jumped in with both feet and made a meal plan for August, and did one major shopping trip for the month!
I wanted to see how much money I spent buying enough food for the whole month all at once. I also wanted to know how it compared to what I *have* been spending on groceries the last few months.
I wanted to see how much stuff I forgot.
I wanted to scope out some prices and get a price list started so I’ll know in the future when a few select items will be on sale.
And I did it. I wasn’t totally successful….but I think it was a great start for someone who’s never done this before and who went to the store 11 times last month (<gasp> I know.)
First, I made a list of meals.
I figured I’d need 20 “good” dinners, some essential lunch and breakfast fixings, and leftovers would fill in the blanks. I included 7 vegetarian dishes, and I included new recipes as well as old standbys. I also planned for 4 homemade desserts.
I tallied up what I needed from the store and headed out.
Grand total spent? Exactly $200.
Here’s where my inexperience got me. First, I already I know I’ll have to go back for a couple things, so my $200 total will be a little low:
1) boneless/skinless chicken breasts weren’t on sale and I know they’ll go on sale soon
2) Tuna Helper. <facepalm> I just couldn’t find it.
3) fresh fruit, which I spaced
4) coffee. Apparently, we needed some.
Sooo I’ll make another trip this week to get those items, and I’ll use the opportunity to fill in the prices on my little price list. I want to keep track of when certain things go on sale so I’ll know how many weeks are between their sales cycles. Stuff like chicken, burger, pop, coffee, Rhodes cinnamon rolls which we love but only buy when they’re on sale, and a few other things I want to keep tabs on.
It may come to the point that I shop twice a month so I can hit certain good sales on the more expensive items (like chicken). We’ll see how those sale prices land.
My $200 shopping trip also included a few household items like dishwasher soap and cat food. Gotta have dishwasher soap. And cat food.
Meanwhile, I’ve learned that I probably overcompensated for “good” dinners, and under-compensated for leftovers. I made some chili-mac the other night, and it’ll last us for at least a few more days of leftovers. A beef stew also made SO.MUCH that half is already in the freezer for next month. It’ll be interesting to see how many meals I actually made by the end of the month and it’ll give me a better starting point for planning next month’s shopping trip.
I shopped mostly for dinner ingredients. I also stocked up on lunch meat and hot dogs for lunches. We were already well-stocked with cereal and bread for breakfasts.
Yeah, there’s definitely a learning curve. But $200 for 20 dinners and random other stuff is less than $10 per dinner, AND it’s much less than what I had gotten used to spending in the last few months.
I say that’s a great start!
Now for perfecting the madness and whittling down the food bill even more …