Monday, January 18, 2010

Planning Ahead

That's right folks, another one bites the dust. I am going to give menu planning a fair shot. Not that I don't believe in it, but I must finally fed up enough with the "what am I going to make?" routine when I get home and even more tired of "that sounds good, but I only have 3 of the 7 ingredients I need". Please tell me I'm not the only one that happens to...
I think the biggest kick in the pants has been money. I am looking for any and every way to squeeze a few more bucks out of the budget. Since it doesn't look like we're going to get rid of the satellite, I'll give this a whirl. My current routine is to make one REALLY BIG (and by that I mean $350-$500) trip to the grocery store. Mind you, that will usually last 8 to 10 weeks. (side note: the last time I actually went to the grocery store to shop for groceries was some time between Thanksgiving and Christmas) But, what happens, is that I run out of something(s). Always. So I nickel and dime myself to death at the local gas stations/grocery stores. Don't get me wrong, I love supporting our locals - I'm glad they are there. However, it's not a suitable place for grocery shopping. My new goal is to try and go grocery shopping once every two weeks or so. I'm just going to try it and see where it takes our grocery money, hopefully further. My money goal is around $20 to $25 per week. I know that doesn't sound like much, but we have a major advantage of not having to purchase beef or pork. I'm not sure that's feasible, and if not, we can adjust, but here goes - our first week:

Stir Fry w/ Rice
(Frozen stir-fry veggies & leftover steak)

Crockpot Beef Roast, Potatoes & Carrots

Corn Flake Baked Chicken
Cheesy Potatoes (cooked, cubed potatoes with a Velveeta cheese sauce)

(Leftover) Roast Beef Hash

Fried Potatoes

Saturday and Sunday will be "wingin' it" days

These are recipes that I have ingredients for right now at home. I think if I can get through this week, I'll be able to go to the grocery store this weekend and get stuff for next week/next two weeks. If I buy everything that's on my current list, it would be another $450 trip. My overall goal with this "project" is to become more organized, less stressed when it comes to dinner time, hopefully eat a bit more healthy and save a little money. Right now, I never buy fresh produce because I never know when I'll use it, so it usually goes bad. I'm hoping to be able to use more fresh foods.

Keep your fingers crossed - I'll keep you posted.


The Chance Family said...

We used to go through the "what to have" dilema every night when we were tired from working all day. It was a grouchy subject for us and was annoying. We started doing menus which I was reluctant about because I hate thinking a week or more (we do one per month now) about what I'm going to eat because our moods change. But we take our cookbooks and try at least 2 new recipes per month. Then we plug our favs in throughout the month and try to plan leftovers on the days we know we need to be more flexible. Its worked wonders here because we have all our groceries and there is no longer a "what's for lunch/supper?" because its already been planned. We love our local shops too, but understand what you say how expensive they are.

Geigers said...

That is exactly what I wanted/needed to hear! I really think it will be a good thing for me and our family. Now the hard part will be planning 7-14 meals at one time. I'm always up for new recipes - maybe I'll have to host a recipe swap soon. Thanks for the encouragement!!

Hays Family 5 said...

We sat one time as a family and just started listing what meals we liked and I wrote down around 40 meals at that point.

Then I had some idea of what to use for menus. And of course, we have a default meal. When all else fails we make mexican--tacos,nachos, burritos--because I always have that kind of stuff on hand. We don't buy taco spice anymore, we make our own. is a great resource.

I also made a list of staple foods--canned tomatoes, canned vegetables, beans, canned fruits, etc. to keep on hand so that I can come up with a quick, healthy meal.

I do go thru the ads and make a menu from the things that are on sale--but I find that sometimes I spend more money doing it that way vs. using what I have and filling in. I do like to buy things in bulk on sale that I use all the time.

Since this pantry challenge thing, I have come to realize that I was buying stuff that we already(like I had 16 packages of butter in the freezer) had rather than running out and replacing when stuff is on sale. But remember, I live in the city and you don't--that makes a huge difference in the way a person shops.

Starting small--like only the weekdays will help your success rate--I know you can do it!

Carrie Schreiber said...

Good plan, Katie. I've made weekly plans several times, they worked great, but I never make time to do it lately. I need to because I tend to get home from grocery shopping and still not have ingredients to make supper! Let me know how the $25/week works...I cannot get under $50-60 so any recipes/hints would be great!!