As I mentioned before I was able to go to the store and buy 7 full days of food for $89.00. A few days later I think I’ve found more ways to cut it down more. So. Here are all of the things that worked for me.
First. I made a list 2 days before going to the store. I did this so that I could really look at it and make sure I needed what I said I did and also made sure I didn’t forget anything.
Second. I put my menu on my list. For instance I knew that one of my breakfast meals was sandwiches (don’t ask husband loves sandwiches for breakfast). I also knew I was having tacos for dinner and that salad would be my side dish for at least two nights. SO when I wrote tomatoes, I wrote (tacos, sammies, salad). Then when I was standing in the produce isle I was able to buy exactly what I would need, no more (no waste), and no less (no tempting me to go back to the store).
Third, I listed the items I ALREADY HAD with my menu. For instance under stuffed bell peppers it read:
Stuffed bell peppers
That way I could easily look at it an know that all that meal needed was bell peppers. I can’t tell you how many times I get to the store and think I have everything for a meal and get home only to find I did not in fact have any onions. This is why I made the list early. I made the menu, made the list and then checked my kitchen. So far I’ve been right on target.
Another huge thing I was able to do is know that every meal I made would turn into a left over for lunch. I’m lucky that my husband would prefer a warm left over meal for lunch to a cold sandwich (cuz he likes it for breakfast, dork). It cost me maybe $1.00 more average per meal to double it. 1 pack of any meat makes two meals for him (and even a small portion for Brandon.) The best benefit of this is the time saver. I save SO MUCH TIME in the morning not having to make him a breakfast and lunch. Not to mention there is usually enough for him to share and I can’t say that I don’t love hearing all his friends swoon over my cooking. The other day one of his friends even told me if he sees something that I made even if it has stuff he hates, he will eat it, just because he knows he will love it! Talk about walking on air for the rest of the day.
After this weekend one of the things I came up with to save even more money is to remember that on Friday and Saturdays meals I don’t need left overs. I forget that my husband loves to have ramen or use some of his budgeted SUPER BURRITO money. Sometimes he likes to have frozen pizzas or..well bachelor food you know. So now what I’ve decided is that I will either make a really good favorite meal on Friday that can double as Saturdays dinner. Or I will make something both nights that will use the same meat but can be done different. For instance one pack of chicken can make grilled chicken and chicken tacos and I’ve spared the expense of a whole other pack of meat. I learned that this weekend when I had the greatest left over stuffed bell peppers and my husband ate burritos instead. And then Sunday morning when I had awesome chicken left he ate ramen. Luckily today at work he was going to be out of town and not near a microwave so I shredded the chicken and made chicken salad sandwiches.
I also planned breakfasts. I bought stuff to make breakfast burritos, breakfast sandwiches, and of course his beloved turkey and roast beef sandwiches. I think I did pretty good.
One thing I will say is, shopping on a budget takes time. You can’t rush to make a list and you can’t rush at the store. I only forgot one thing, potatoes. I saw them on the list as side dishes but I totally spaced actually writing them on the other side. Luckily they were cheap and something I could easily run in and grab. I think forgetting only ONE thing my first time was great. I highly recommend taking a little more time to make a list and plan. Plan menus, think ahead for the other meals too. I made sure if we were having tacos that I grabbed some beans for me too. When I picked cheeses I picked cheese that could work with tacos, stuffed bell peppers and breakfast burritos (Monte ray Jack). I also knew I had cheddar that was almost done so I picked a meal using that (cheesy chicken pasta). I also knew this recipe, my chipotle lime chicken and my bell peppers all took green onions. Because I had a list I was able to buy a large enough amount of green onions for all of the recipes. Normally I would have seen green onions, grabbed one bunch, and by mid week I would have run out and found myself at the store grabbing those and BROWSING other isles.
Finally I got some AWESOME tips from y’all in my comments section. Tomorrow morning I plan to post those and link to all of you. I can’t believe the great tips you gave! Thanks a bunch!