Lunch is also in cart....Brit is into lunchables at the moment (and they were 10 for $10 the past 2 weeks so I stocked up), Bryson prefers Chef Boyardee which are usually 10 for $10. Brit likes cheese and yogurt, Bryson prefers gold fish, granola bars, gummies. Brooks and I do leftovers for lunch or grab something with our own allowance. If we are home on Saturdays we usually snack and we have Salsaritas after church on Sundays.
Dinner is in the cart as well....I make my grocery list on Wednesday and I shop on Thursday (very OCD in my planning and shopping)...the dinner list for this week: Thursday-(we had papa murphys for east spirit night, dinner was $9 with leftovers for lunch), Friday and Saturday we grabbed dinner bc we had soccer, Sunday-chicken casserole with broccoli casserole and Hawaiian bread which was a splurge at $4, Monday-(Mondays are usually pizza night with our friends, we trade off buying, $18 feeds 7 people), Tuesday-chicken tacos bc its taco Tuesday! Wednesday-chicken, potatoes, green beans with Italian dressing packet over the top (this is quick, cheap and easy). And then it starts all over again. This week we did eat out more than normal, BUT I did buy bread crumbs for next week so I already have everything for a meal next week....
Now....here are some key pieces:
1) We have a sams membership and we go about every 3 weeks. At sams we buy toilet paper (charmin bc there are some things I DON'T compromise on), trash bags (havent bought any in at least 6 months), paper towels (last several months), Tide and Downy (another thing I dont compromise on...they last several months as well), dishwasher tablets. These items we try and spread out bc they are more expensive (ex. if we need TP, we dont buy $20 in Tide that week....try and space it out).....normal sams items are gummies, rice crispy treats, granola bars, pop tarts, gold fish, juice packs... Sams trips run from $25-$70....its usually less than $40 bc we dont need the big items very often rarely over $70.
2) I usually only cook with chicken...we sometimes do steak, spaghetti (which I make enough to freeze for another dinner), or country style steak when its on sale. The rest of our meals include chicken. We do buy chicken in bulk. 40lbs for $70ish and it last about 6 months (try the meat store).
3) I only buy whats needed, there usually isnt extra unless there is a good sale (ex. the easter candy last week at 75% off).
4) I only shop at Food Lion, I get that they may be higher on some things, but its 4 mins from the house, its quiet and there are no other things to suck me in like Walmart has....(Brooks does walk to the bread store every now and then if we need some sort of bread)
5) I have a list, I stick to it, I mark off and I add as I go....If I know I want to do a big meal (like tonight chicken casserole and broc casserole) then I know a couple other nights need to be cheaper (ex. all I needed for taco Tuesday was lettuce and the taco kit so thats $4 for Tuesday dinner).....
6) I do purchase shampoos, soaps, toothpaste, hair spray, sunscreen, meds etc at Food Lion, I dont see the point in making 2 trips to go save a few cents.....thankfully these items arent needed all at once....and the cost can be spread out...
Our normal budget for groceries for the week is $100, I NEVER go over!! If I realize as I am shopping that I am spending too much, I adjust as needed (but that rarely happens). Most weeks I am under $80....now you should figure in some money for the sams trip and the chicken that is prepurchased......but with those couple dollars spread out over the weeks we still stay under $100.
Also, another tip.....if we have a birthday party, baby shower, need a gift for something, etc...I try and add it to the groceries for the week....I will plan to spend less on food (ex. I will pull out the frozen spaghetti one night) and get a gift card or a pack of diapers and wipes to not have to spend money on a gift out of the account......just plan accordingly to get the gift with the groceries.
My biggest and I guess best advice is make a list and stick to it....know what you have to have to feed everyone!!
Here is a what a grocery list looks like:
I use business cards for a couple of reasons....only so much will fit on them, they are easier to keep up with while shopping, they are sturdy to mark off while on the go.....
Here are some examples of cheap meals:
1) baked potatoes and salads
3) chicken, potato, green bean with dressing packet (dressing packets have several in them)
5) baked chicken and veggies from the garden (I forgot to mention we do a garden for the summer so there are free veggies)
I hope this is somewhat helpful.....it can be hard at first, but once you get the hang of it, its a like a game each week to see how low you can go and still accomplish what needs to be accomplished!! Feel free to ask any questions....
Much Love, Alysha