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Keeping Accountable: Groceries and Meal Plans

Posted: July 4th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Food | Tags: Budget, Grocery Shopping, Meal Plans | 2 Comments »

It’s tough keeping to a strict grocery budget.

Before we had kids it was not unheard of to spend $100+ a week on groceries for the two of us. After kids, while I was still working it was not unheard of to spend $200 a week on groceries. Now that I am a SAHM and we cut our income by 1/3, I need to keep the spending in check. Personal finance software is really good for keeping track of your spending and grocery money, I also try to check out the Financial Dictionary by CC Bank once in a while, which helps me out a lot.

I know this isn’t an extreme budget by any means. $220 for two weeks of groceries for 5 people plus all pet supplies (we have 2 cats and a small dog), paper products and toiletries is totally doable. Eating fresh, healthy foods definitely stretches me when it comes to meal planning.  Other than our trips to the farmer’s market, I do not go out of my way to eat organic, price is almost always the first consideration.  Do I wish it was different?  I don’t know.  If my $5.00 farmer’s market eggs that looked almost identical and tasted no different than my $1.49 regular large store brand eggs are any indication: it’s not always worth it.I’ve said in previous posts that me making sure this part of our budget is balanced is something I can do to make our overall budget work. It’s one of the things that makes it so I can stay home. I like to stay home, so I do what I can.

This is my meal plan for the next 2 weeks. I only plan 8 meals because we inevitably have leftovers or make something quick (or grab something on the go) so planning 14 dinners is not really needed. Lunches are sandwiches and or mac and cheese and hot dogs for the boys and salads or leftovers for me. Yogi Dad has veggies and rice for lunch most days. Breakfasts are waffles or Rice Krispies and fruit for the boys and eggs for us. If I get breakfast.

Chicken Fajita Tacos
Turkey Cherry Pasta Salad
Beefy Rice Taco Salad
Pineapple Teriyaki Burgers
Kielbasa, Peppers, and Rice
Crockpot Cheese Tortellini
Asian Chicken and Rice
Blue Cheese + Steak Wedge Salad

Going into my trip I had a lot of staple produce items from a trip earlier this week, half a bag of chicken tenderloins and 2 lbs of ground beef in the freezer so I had a little bit of a head start on this list.  I also have one pork tenderloin left from my last session at Let’s Dish (Have you scheduled your Dish-n-Dash session yet? 11 days left to use coupon code BLOGDASH!) in case I get into a bind!

Groceries (from Target):

SB=Store Brand

Smoked Chicken Sausage (2 packages): $4.78
Hot Dogs (4 packages): $6.00
Ground Turkey: $3.99
Flank Steak: $7.71
Chicken Tenderloins (2 bags): $10.98

Spinach: $2.00
Avocados (4-pk): $2.99 (A total steal, I will be buying more tonight on the way home from fireworks.)
Iceberg Lettuce: $1.29
White Peaches (4): $2.54
Red Onion: $1.24
Sweet Yellow Onion: $1.27
Green Pepper (4): $3.88
Strawberries (2 lbs) $3.58
Limes (4): $1.96
Whole watermelon: $5.99
Cantaloupe: $2.29
Mushrooms: $2.49

SB Strawberry Jam: $3.04
SB Agave Nectar: $3.49
Franks Hot Sauce: $2.64
SB Mac and Cheese (4 boxes) $2.88
Taco Shells: $1.47
SB Salsa: $1.68
Salsa Verde: $1.68
SB Tortillas: $1.85
Soy Vay Teriyaki Sauce: $3.79
SB Brown Rice (2 bags): $1.68
Instant Folgers: $6.54 (for iced coffee)
SB Canned pineapple: $1.02
SB Canola spray: $2.49
Dried Cherries: $3.64
Dried Tropical Fruit (2 bags) $4.22
SB Mixed Nuts: $5.34
Goldfish: $6.99
Nut Thins: $2.89
SB Freeze Pops: $4.24
SB Alfredo Sauce: $1.39
SB Rotini: $.99
Poppyseed Dressing: $1.89
Blue Cheese Dressing: $1.89
SB Honey Wheat Bread: $2.69
SB Wheat Buns: $2.65

SB Frozen Tortellini: $2.99
SB 2% Milk (gallon): $2.59
SB eggs (dozen): $1.49
String Cheese: $3.49
Blue Cheese Crumbles: $3.49
SB Shredded Cheddar: $2.49
SB Shredded Italian Blend: $2.49
SB Butter: $2.84

SB Diapers: $6.29
Cat Litter: $6.87
SB Lap Desk: $12.99
SB Shower Caddy: $7.99

-coupons: $5.25
-5% discount: %9.48
+tax: $1.92
Total: $182.00

In reality, even with $38 left we will probably go over budget over the course of the next 2 weeks. We have been going through a whole watermelon every 2 days and at $5.99 each, that adds up.  But, in this heatwave I will do anything to keep the boys hydrated.

I did pick up a few things that weren’t necessary, but that have been on the list of things that we do need: the shower caddy and the lap desk. I haven’t had a shower caddy for our shower since we moved over a year ago and I am constantly tripping over bottles of shampoo and body wash because the boys toss them all over the bathroom- I opted for the cheapest version at $7.99 instead of the really pretty ones that were going for $18.99 and up. This is mostly for my sanity at this point as the little nooks in our sower aren’t deep enough to have anything actually fit on them. (There are a lot of things I am learning about DIY house flipping on the cheap- namely that the cheap versions of things kind of suck).

As for the lap desk…do I need it? Do we really *need* anything? Right now I spend 3-4 hours every night sitting at the kitchen table blogging while my husband sits in the bedroom watching TV. I’m hoping this will help make it more comfortable so that I can sit in the same room with him and get my work done. I think $12.99 is absolutely worth it in this case.

I could probably make the case that these items should come out of a discretionary budget and put our total remaining for milk and produce at $59, but we’ll see how we fare without doing that.

I think I’m going to do this for each my shopping trips- mainly to help keep myself on track budget-wise, but also so I can keep myself accountable to shopping the perimeter of the store. There are some things I just can’t do without: Goldfish crackers and bottled salad dressing top that list. I know I can make my own salad dressing, but the cost of having the ingredients on hand at any given time just outweigh the cost of buying a bottle for a specific recipe (Who has champagne vinegar on hand anyways?). But- this looks way better than it did a year ago when I was at the height of my coupon clipping and buying anything that was cheap or free *just* because I had a coupon!

What does your grocery list look like? Have you written a post about your grocery budget? How does it compare?

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2 Comments on “Keeping Accountable: Groceries and Meal Plans”

  1. 1 lianemarkus said at 3:45 am on July 5th, 2012:

    I do agree with what you have said here. Maintaining a normal grocery budget is very difficult because you have to make sure that you will be able to save enough money for other expenses. I also list the stuffs that i need to buy so that I know how much I will be spending.
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  2. 2 Hellraiser: Revelations | movie reviews and ratings, movie trailers coming soon, movie dvd releases said at 10:55 am on July 15th, 2012:

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