Weekly menu planning plays a HUGE part in saving money in our grocery budget. When Jason and I first got married we were terrible at grocery shopping. We walked up and down every aisle and tossed whatever looked good into the cart. Later in the week, I’d go to cook something, and realize that I didn’t have everything I needed for a complete meal. So, back to the store we’d go…. We ended up spending WAY too much on groceries.
When I became a stay at home mom, suddenly it was important to really budget our money. I needed to find a way to cut our grocery bill in half. It took some time and tweaking, but here’s what I do. (We went from spending about $150 a week for just 2 of us, to about $60 a week for all 3 of us).
To start, I go through the weekly ads from the different stores around us and see who has the best deals on meat. Typically, this is our biggest expense. So, whoever has the best meat prices is where we’ll do all of our shopping. I used to go to 3 different stores to get all the best deals from all the different stores, but I quickly realized that the time and gas that it takes to do that was not worth it. Not to mention, taking a 1 year old in and out of the car that many times is NOT fun!
Once I figure out what store I’ll be shopping at, I go through the rest of the ad and find out what other great deals they are offering. I write everything down, and then cross reference my coupons (I’ll post some coupon sites at the end of this blog to help out. I’ll also be doing a coupon blog in the near future, so stay tuned!)
Now that I know what the good deals are, I make a menu utilizing those items and whatever I have in my pantry. There are tons of menu templates out there, but I just make a list of meals I can make throughout the week. (If you need help with this part, I’ve posted a link to a great site at the end of this post!)
Now that I know what I’m cooking, I’ll make a list of whatever leftover items I still need. And, here’s the part where my OCD kicks in a bit. I then organize my entire list by aisle. Sounds crazy, I know. But when I do it this way, I insure that we only walk through the store one time (not back and forth finding everything on the list), and we’re less likely to pick up extra goodies (you know, all those traps they set on the endcaps! Those will make your grocery bill sky rocket!)
And now we’re set for the week!
If you need some more help, here’s some awesome sites I’ve found! And if you have any others that you love, let me know!Couponing Sites: Krazy Coupon Lady- in her blog, she matches up coupons with deals in different stores Money Saving Mom- another savings blog Coupons.com- printable coupons Phone Apps: Grocery Gadget- For Iphone and Android. This is an App you have to pay for, but it allows you to compare prices, import recipes, and search for ecoupons. You can edit on your phone or on the web. Recipe finders: Dinner Spinner- Also an app for your phone. You can enter what ingredients you have, and it will help you find a recipe! How awesome is that! SuperCook- Another site that will search for recipes based on what ingredients you have Paid sites: The Grocery Game- Pay a monthly fee, and this site helps you match up coupons and deals in your area! Plan to Eat- Pay a monthly fee, and this site helps you plan your weekly menus! Lots of great menu planning templates here!