Monday, November 12, 2012

Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping

I guess this is an addition to my Swiper Noooo Swiping posts. A few of you mentioned in the comments that grocery shopping is where you needed a little advice on saving. Now. Let's be real. I am in no way an expert on savings or budgets. I am not an "extreme couponer"or anything close to it. I'm just a regular wife and mother that has managed to save my family a little money by doing a little organizing before hitting the store.

Like many of you, I plan meals. I write down two weeks (or sometimes a week and a half cause we eat leftovers) worth of meals. If it's something that I am making for the first time I'll write down the recipe too. Then I go through the kitchen and scratch off what we already have. Non grocery items have their own place on my meal plan too. I only write everything down once and that's the only piece of paper I take to the store. 

Before I leave for the store I go through my coupons and find the ones I'll need for my trip. Since I don't buy anything that's not on my list I don't have to worry about taking all those coupons with me. When I get home from the store I put the list on the fridge to remind me of the meals that I've planned. As we eat one, I cross it off the list. It may seem crazy but this reminds me of what we have in the house. In those moments where I'm scrambling and I'm about to order takeout, I check the fridge. Nine times out of ten I'll see a quick meal that can easily be made. No eating out. Money saved. 

Now. Keep in mind (*resisting the urge to quote Erykah Badu) that we are just a family of three. So I don't have to make huge meals everyday. We normally have leftovers and we eat them. Food does not go to waste in my house anymore. Not since I started planning our meals. Another quick note I want to make is that we don't buy a lot of snacks. I buy fruit for Savannah and we always have at least two bags of tortilla chips in the pantry. (I make salsa on a regular basis) That's it. Hopefully this helped with some of the grocery questions. I know these concepts aren't new but I just wanted to share my grocery shopping and meal planning process.

Shopping list from a week and a half ago organized by meal w/ random items at top

I do not throw away inserts until I am absolutely sure I am done with it. It's probably at least eight inserts in that stack.
As you can see my grocery list isn't long. We still have a meal left. There's normally enough from each meal for us all to have three meals. Dinner, Lunch and dinner again. For some, I know that they couldn't imagine eating the same thing that many times in a row. There are times when I'll cook even if we have leftovers but I'll never have more than two meals sitting in the fridge at the same time because something will go to waste. Which is a waste of money. And yes, I do buy name brand products. Tide, Charmin, cereals etc. But I read the circulars to find who has what on sale and then apply my coupons. And no, I'm not driving all over San Antonio for an item here and an item there. I limit myself to the commissary on base, Wal-Mart and Target or another local grocery store. Three places tops.  Any thoughts or tips for me? Was this helpful at all? Can't wait to read your comments!

P.S. Even though the commissary is a military grocery store on base it does not save us tons of money. Meat and cheese is cheaper on base but you really have to "learn" your stores to know who typically has the best prices on certain items on a regular bases.


  1. This helped me out. I like your system. I have been having discussions about meal planning a lot lately. I need to get better at it. Now that we're a family of four, I'm looking for ways to save us a little bit more.

    1. I'm glad it helped you! I feel like I learn something new every time I plan my meals and shop. I'll continue to share what works for me in the hopes that it helps someone else.

  2. should share your weekly meal plans!! People like me would enjoy it!

    1. That's a great idea! I'll def share our Thanksgiving meal plan next week and continue to do meal plan posts after the New Year.


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