Yesterday marked my week three of continued meal planning and budgeting. Considering I was easily spending over $170 a week at the store, I’ve saved us about $200 so far.
This week was a little harder because I was out of some costly pantry items (olive oil and maple syrup alone cost me $30!) and needed a lot of non-food items, like detergent, diapers, wipes and a new bathroom rug. I managed to come in at food for the week and a pantry re-stock at $113 and the rest of the stuff, $64. Not awesome, but not bad either, considering the haul I brought home.
This week’s meal plan is:
Monday: Homemade chicken noodle soup and fresh bread (see below for more info on this!)
Tuesday: Crockpot sesame chicken with rice and stir-fry veggies
Wednesday: Breakfast for dinner–blueberry pancakes and bacon
Thursday: Shepard’s pie
Friday: Lasagna rolls (made a few weeks ago) and salad
Saturday: Homemade pizza
Sunday: Shrimp & Steak kabobs
I’ve also been working on other ways to save money, including:
- I picked up a bread maker at a garage sale for $5. I’m not sure if it will save me money or not to make my own bread, but I figured it was worth a shot. I’ve always wanted to try it, we have all the ingredients on hand anyways, so why not? Looking forward to fresh bread with our homemade chicken noodle soup tomorrow night!
- I finally have Mya (mostly) potty-trained. This will save me a good $40/month! I just introduced diaper-free nap times last week, with only one accident so far, so I’m hoping she continues her streak. Note: is it bad mothering to potty train your kid just to save money??
- I stopped buying shredded cheese. I honestly never really paid attention to the cost of cheese–I would just throw a couple of bags, usually on sale, into the cart and go. But when I compared, ounce for ounce, the cost of chunk v. shredded cheese, it was ridiculous! Shredded cheese = complete waste of money. My only exception is for our weekly pizza night, because I am just not going to shred two pounds of cheese for the bazillion pizzas that Ben makes.
- I switched to bagged cereals for the kids. Waaay cheaper. And I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of junk ingredients in the these as well. I expected to see tons of high-fructose corn syrup and artificial stuff, but the cheerios kind was all-natural. Win!
- I clip online store coupons. I shop at Meijer and use their mPerks program to clip their online coupons before I shop. It’s a hit or miss with their coupons, but I usually am able to save a few bucks that way. And sometimes, I’ll get lucky with coupons for diapers and wipes.
I know I will eventually have to return to work, but a girl can dream, right? And either way, I think I have officially overcame my fear of budgeting and meal planning. I honestly feel like we are eating better and have more food on hand because I’m putting thought into it. And that whole “what’s for dinner?” stress? Gone!