Menu Planning has taken on a new level and meaning this week. I “forgot” to record the paying of a bill last week. This mistake meant that we were not able to make our huge restocking trip to Costco on Thursday as we had originally planned. Instead, we scaled way back and spent less than $100 to purchase meat and several other items that we were completely out of. This week, the plan is to shop on Saturday. I know this is not the smartest thing we could do but it will be easier this Saturday as opposed to next Thursday prior to Christmas. This weeks menu plan is simple and uses what we have or were able to purchase last week.
Breakfast- Saturday- Cereal and milk. Sunday-Big Breakfast ( eggs, bacon, grits and toast), Monday thru Thursday Choices or cereal and milk, . Friday- Baked oatmeal-Choices of eggs, fried bologna, grits, French toast or toast.
Saturday- Kids ate at Amanda’s, Matt had Burger King and I had Biscuit King (both Matt and I ended up working) Sunday- Baked Potato Soup in Instapot. I am so excited that this worked and turned out awesome! Lunch are planned out with a special treat on Thursday of IHOP since everyone has doctor appointments and we have a gift card left over from our trip!
Dinner- Saturday- Chili from crock-pot. Sunday- Burger King (total of $5 after gift card), Monday- Pork Chops with stuffing and green beans. Tuesday- Spaghetti Wednesday- Salisbury Steak, rice and fruit. Thursday- not sure yet but it may just be left-overs. Friday- Church dinner!
Aghh I am so frustrated today because we have been to the grocery store twice today. We are still doing really well on budget but I hate going to the Grocery store. My goal from this point forward until vacation is NOT to visit the store. It may means some interesting meals but twice in one day is the limit.
Breakfast- Saturday- Breakfast Burrito bowls. Sunday- Cereal and milk, Monday and Tuesday – Cereal and milk, Wednesday- Choices of eggs, fried bologna, grits, French toast or toast. Thursday- Cereal and milk if there is any left. Friday- Baked oatmeal-probably pumpkin
Lunch- Saturday- instant Mac and Cheese. Sunday- Beef stew. The kids have a full week at school and I am eating at work at least once if not twice because they have my favorite sandwich on special. Kids are eating 2 sandwiches, soup on one day and 2 grab and go days. I will also take left-overs at least one day this week.
Dinner- Saturday- Pizza using a gift card and 65 cent. Sunday- Oyster Stew, Monday- Hamburger Helper- this use all our ground beef. Tuesday- Chicken soft tacos- using left-over salsa chicken. Wednesday- Salisbury Steak, mashed potatoes and fruit. Thursday- Steak and baked sweet potatoes. Friday- Spaghetti.
I have to admit I did not stick to the grocery shopping plan last week. Harris Teeter was running an awesome sale on items that we use and can be store for a long time. I decided it was worth the trip to grab the items. I took my mother for her first trip of couponing with me. I was able to purchase cases (12 packs) of soda for $2.67 each, Hamburger helper (87 cent each) can vegetables (34 cent each) and pasta (67 cent a box). I can say that I am not over my goal of $150 this month and fully expect to stay on track the rest of the time. You will notice a lot of left-overs on the menu. I don’t want to waste food and I also don’t plan to leave any left-overs in the fridge during our trip. You will also start to see some “more creative” meal on the list as we are focused on using the food we have here.
Breakfast-Our standard choices now are toast, French toast, eggs/omelets and fried Bologna. Saturday-Omelets Sunday- Big breakfast including eggs, sausage. gravy and grits. Monday- choices , Tuesday and Wednesday- choices Thursday- baked oatmeal and Friday choices.
Lunch- I actually picked up 5 bags of chips during my shopping. We are planning to open these one bag at a time to use for school lunches. Saturday- sandwiches , Sunday- Taco soup or Stuffed green pepper soup, both left-overs. Kids are having sandwiches, grab and go. I have a salad for Monday Chicken Salad wrap on Wednesday and left-over on Friday.
Dinner- Saturday- pizza-dills Sunday- chicken nugget biscuits Monday- Meatloaf muffins, mashed potatoes, green beans and fruit. Tuesday-Chicken nugget parmesan , Wednesday- Breakfast casserole Thursday-cube steak nachos . Friday- steak and baked sweet potatoes.
For the next month, menu planning is one of the most if not the most important thing that I will be doing. The goal for the month of November is to use what we have, buy only what we need for this month. I do plan a huge Costco trip after we return from our trip. I did make some changes to the plan last week but it actually saved us food! Left-overs instead of steak, so of course I just moved the steak to this week. This weeks plans look different because I am off today (Monday) but will be work on Saturday.
Breakfast- Our standard choices now are toast, French toast, eggs/omelets and fried Bologna. Saturday-Bacon and pimento cheese biscuits Sunday- cheese grits. Monday- gravy biscuits, Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday and Friday choices.
Lunch- Snacks are our biggest concern at this point but at least the kids like popcorn and with Halloween it gave us a couple of extra days. Saturday- left-overs, Sunday- Taco soup. Kids are having sandwiches, grab and go, chicken and stars soup and wraps. I have a salad for Tuesday, Chicken Salad wrap on Wednesday and left-over on Friday.
Dinner- Saturday- left-overs Sunday- hot dogs at the church trunk or treat Monday- Country style steak with left-over sides Tuesday- IHOP (gift card and kids get a free pancake) , Wednesday- Chicken stuffing (new recipe in crock-pot), Thursday- left-overs are my bet but I may add something . Friday- steak and baked sweet potatoes.
Definitely need to keep a good handle on using up the left-overs so I may plan on this at least once a week for the next several weeks.
To be honest, I am starting to get a little freaked out over here, the pantry and especially the freezers are starting to look empty. Don’t get me wrong, we are not out of food. In fact I sat down today and planned out our meals through the month of November and we have enough to cover that many meals if we use what we have and don’t just give up. So I am trying to make myself more accountable by posting a meal plan in addition to any failures (going out to eat) that occur.
Breakfast- sadly all the cereal has been eating. Our standard choices now are toast, French toast, eggs/omelets and fried Bologna. Saturday- Omelet with green peppers, onions and cheese. Sunday- Sausage,egg and cheese biscuits. I will say that keeping chopped onions and green peppers make life much easier and quicker in the morning. Monday and Tuesday – choices, Wednesday- Baked oatmeal, Thursday and Friday choices.
Lunch- I did buy a couple of items to use for lunch this week. Saturday- McDonalds, Sunday- Wraps and left-overs. Kids are having sandwiches, grab and go, tomato soup and wraps. I have a salad for Monday, Orange Beef for Tuesday, Chicken Salad wrap on Wednesday and soup on Friday.
Dinner- Saturday- Chicken from Costco, potato salad and slaw from the party Amanda gave last week. Sunday- twice backed potatoes and more left-overs (yes we need to clean out that many) Monday- Steak Fajitas (using beef stew) Tuesday- Taco, Wednesday- Chicken and Broccoli, Thursday- debating between left-overs soup or Breakfast. Friday- steak and baked sweet potatoes.
Now to just stick to the plan!
We are approximately six weeks from our Disney vacation. As you can guess, I am in fully saving mood. Here are the ways that I have been saving money and or time this weekend.
- Coupons- I found and printed rare coupons for sodas this weekend, saving a total of $1.50 on the sale price which was a .75 cent savings from the regular price. I also found coupons for $1 kids meals at Olive Garden. We were able to save $15 dollars just on Amanda’s birthday meal by using these.
- Apps- I don’t always talk about this but free money is saving money in my book. On Saturday, we headed to Walmart, I was able to earn a $2 gift card while in the store and used it to reduce our total expense. This month alone with money made from different apps we have purchased 5 T-shirts and 3 Christmas presents. Total saved $60
- Planning ahead- yes we have another busy week scheduled. In order to save time and money, by not eating out, we plan ahead. I am taking sandwiches to church tonight for Kendall and Zach to eat instead of a quick trip to McDonalds. I have to be at work at least 2 mornings by 8am so I have muffins made in addition to green peppers and onions chopped for eggs to make things quick and simple. I will not be home to eat dinner on Monday night so Matt is bring chicken nuggets to the ball game for Lily and I to eat. I estimate each meal to be $10 so that is $40 saved right there.
- Waste not/Want Not- It is a deliberate effort for us to use things and not be wasteful. This weekend we were gifted 5 pounds of potatoes and 3 pounds of ground beef. I honestly was not in the mood to cook and shepherd ‘s pie which would use both of these ingredients does not sound appealing right now. Instead, I used the 5# of potatoes to make mashed potatoes which went right into our freezer for use in the future. Out of the ground beef, I made a pot of chill. This is at least 2 meals if not more for lunches and 2 meals of meatloaf muffins. Peppers of all variety were picked from the garden and cooked or chopped for later use. The three banana left on the cabinet were turned into muffins for breakfast. I can honestly say that we waste less than 5% of the food that is brought in the house.
How are you saving money?
I made a trip to Aldi this weekend to grab some items that we were total out of or need to complete our meal plan for the week. We ended up spending right at $70 which included ice cream for desert as well. I will say that we may end up changing plans on the fly this week as we are going to celebrate Amanda’s birthday at Olive Garden one day of her choice. You will notice that we also ate out for lunch on Sunday. I did have soup in the crockpot however when we arrived home it was not cooked so we had to improvise.
Breakfast- Saturday- Bacon Biscuits Sunday- Sausage cheese cresant rolls ( we actually have enough filling to make at least one more if not 2 more days of these. . Monday- Pumpkin spice muffins. Tuesday- Choices, Wednesday- Choices. Thursday- Cheese Grits or baked oatmeal , Friday- choices. Choices include- left-overs, eggs, French toast, cereal or toast.
Lunch- Saturday- Sandwhiches Sunday- Godfather’s Pizza . We are back to a regular lunch week here this week we have salad, sandwhich, grab and go, dipping day and wraps.
Dinner- Saturday-BBQ beef, squash casserole, deviled eggs, ranch potatoes and apple pie desert. Sunday- Stuffed Green Pepper Soup. Monday-Pancakes and sausage balls, Tuesday- Hamburger and Tator tots Wednesday-Spaghetti Thursday- left-overs Friday- meat loaf muffins, glazed carrots and fruit.
Zach ended up with a stomach bug yesterday and most of today(Tuesday) so that is the reason I am later than usual. A couple of things are influencing our menu planning for the next couple of months, first we are trying to manage our grocery budget, meaning spend as little as possible. Next the current plan is to purchase another cow for our freezer in February. So we are using as much of the beef in our freezer as possible. Matt is working some mornings so that also changes the plan. And finally our schedule is crazy busy through the month of October so we will be trying to keep our meals simple.
Breakfast Saturday- Breakfast burrito bowls Sunday-leftover Monday-choices Tuesday- Toast Wednesday- Choices . Thursday-Choices .Â Friday- Choices. Choices include : eggs, grits, left-overs, French toast , toast or cereal.
Lunch-The kids have packed with leftovers and grab and go. I am going to pack wraps a couple of day and left-overs for others.
Dinner-Saturday-Cheese Quesadilla and Mexican Rice
Sunday- Pot Roast, mashed potatoes, carrots and pineapple casserole Dinner-McDonalds for $15 due to crazy busy church schedule.
Monday- Rice Creole ( last of our kielbasa)
Tuesday-Hamburgers and French Fries (last of our fries)
Wednesday-Sonic (50 cent corn dogs)
Thursday-Good Question? Maybe beef and broccoli as we have not actually had this in a long time.
Friday- Steak, twice backed potatoes, 7 layer salad and desert. Yes it is a company night.
The first way I am saving is the easiest and I have blogged about it several times. I am staying at home. Even if I decide to run out just to grab one item, I am 100 times more likely to spend money than if I simply stay at home. I should also add that I am avoiding online shopping as well. Unless I find a deal that is below stock up price I simply do not shop.
I am saving time and money both my cooking ahead. This morning, since we are at home. I made a batch of Breakfast Burrito bowls. Totally cost for at least 3 mornings of breakfast for all of us $4. I was able to use green pepper from the garden which helped reduce the cost. The kids love Banana Chip Bites. These are basically milk and bananas blend and frozen in muffin tins. They also add chocolate chips to make them special. My using bananas that were previously frozen, this makes a really cheap breakfast or desert. Some of our other favorite for cooking ahead right now are meatloaf muffins and chicken enchiladas.
The final way I am saving money this Saturday is by shopping my pantry and freezers. I am trying to dramatically reduce our grocery budget over the last several month of this year. In order to accomplish this I am trying to make sure I use what is in our freezers and pantry. I headed out to the building this morning to bring up stew beef, cubed steak, roast, ground beef, chicken and chicken fried rice. We have a menu plan but I usually don’t plan ahead for weekends or Thursdays. This gives us a chance to eat up leftovers or be a little bit more creative, the only problem is that I forget what we actually have in the freezers. This morning I brought up several items that are not on the plan but that I can use to create a meal. I also made sure to restock our snack drawers and found three additional boxes of pasta that can be used over the next several months. I know myself well enough to realize that if my freezer’s are full than I won’t “think” I need to go shopping even if that is really not the case. At least for the next week or so, I know we have plenty of food so I will continue to try and use what we have to make meals.
This week we started our normal busy lives, we are still in a bit of flux as we are not sure of Matt’s work schedule or Zach’s baseball schedule yet.
Breakfast: Saturday-Bacon, eggs biscuits and grits. Sunday- left-over French toast and left- over biscuits and gravy. Monday- Cereal, Tuesday- choices, Wednesday- choices, Thursday- scrambled bowls, Friday- Baked oatmeal (maybe it will be pumpkin?) Choices include: eggs, grits, left-overs, pancakes, French toast, toast or cereal.
Lunch- Saturday- Sandwiches, Sunday- Taco Soup. We were able to pack the kids lunches on Sunday, which included taco soup, grab and go, sandwich, chicken nuggets and wrap. I packed 2 salads that Lily and I will share and I hope to start taking some leftovers soon.
Dinner- Saturday- Sausage, peppers and onions on rolls and French fries, Sunday- taco soup or left overs. Monday- Broccoli-chicken casserole, Tuesday- steak Fatijia and Mexican rice. Wednesday- Spaghetti, Thursday- undecided? I am thinking this will depend on the weather? Friday- beef and broccoli
A plan always makes things easier.