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Friday, August 24, 2012

A New Start

There was something about Taylor starting school that felt like a fresh start for the whole family.  Maybe it’s just me, but when something major happens with the family it feels like a chance to “start over” – a family version of a new year’s resolution I think.

Maybe it is just me, but at least it gets me refocused.

I started a couple of weeks ago to get back in the groove, but what inspired my renewal of focus was the fact Taylor was starting school.  More so then that was the fact that she was starting which means our everyday life is about to start costing more money with packed lunches and the extra gas to pick her up every day.  Whatever the reason, I have refocused on the food consumption in our home.

I’ve started making weekly meal plans.  Something my mom always did growing up in a way and although it looked like a nice idea, I really didn’t see the point.

But it works.  If you’re reading this mom take this as my acknowledgement that you have a brilliant idea.  I’m sure my mom wasn’t the first to think of it, but she was the first to show it to me so I give her full credit.

Why am I telling you this?  Because I like to share my tidbits of money saving ideas, and I do think this helps.

Here’s my process…

1. The new grocery ad comes out/starts on Wednesday every week.  I look it over for Ralphs, Stater Bros, and Food For Less since those are what usually have the best deals and are near enough to my path from work to home where I complete the shopping.

2. I make a list/table of what sale prices are at each store to make sure I get the best from the 3 stores. It may look like this (but much longer for me usually)

Item
Ralphs
Staters
Food 4 Less
Corn
$0.33
$0.20
$0.25
Chicken
$1.49
$1.99

Peaches
$0.99
$0.99



3. Based on the sale items I then plan my week’s meals.  Based on the above sales one day may look like this (I like to list out ingredients and name the meal if necessary)


Monday
Breakfast
~Peaches
~Oatmeal
Dinner
BBQ Chicken
2 lbs Chicken
1 Jar BBQ Sauce
3 Ears ofCorn


4. I then make shopping lists for each store that has the cheapest price for the item I need for the meal with the prices which may look like this:

Ralphs
Staters
2 lbs chicken
$3
3 ears of corn
$1
1 lb peaches
$1




5. I figure out how much the total cost will be and subtract that from the weeks food budget.  Whatever we have left I use to purchase “staples” that are on sale.  Like extra chicken, spaghetti sauce, hot dogs, etc.  This way I have some stuff on standby in my cupboards for weeks where there aren’t good sales or want to save money so we can eat out one night.

I complete this process in about 30 minutes during my lunch break and since the shopping is done on my way home from work it isn’t inconvenient to stop at 1 store on Friday (when I get paid and usually make the shopping list) and another store on Monday.  That way all the shopping is done by Monday night when the weekly meal plan starts.

It’s saved us some money so far and I also know my family is getting a balanced home made meal every night which is important even though I had gotten lazy over this last year and failed at this in many ways.

Now if you read the blog where I was posting $5 dinner ideas for a family 5 you would know we were previously spending $300/month on groceries which we had to bump up with Taylor going to school now and trying to get better food (for health reasons that have come up) so we are now up to $400/month which includes 3 meals a day for 5 people which is about $0.95 per meal per person (knowing breakfast and lunch are usually cheaper then that and dinner is the most expensive)

If you’d be interested in what we’re doing put a comment here.  If enough people are interested I will begin posting again on our low budget meal blog exactly where we’re shopping and what were buying to help anyone else interested.  If not I will probably just delete that blog and keep my money saving tips to myself.

4 comments:

  1. I love to hear how you are managing to stick with a budget and eat healthy. It is a challenge but very worth ot to eat good quality food.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was sad when you stopped posting on that blog. It gave me some good ideas. And already this post has given me new ideas.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I liked your other blog too. I looked forward to the recipes because I'm always looking for new things to try that are super simple and easy to make that don't cost a small fortune.

    ReplyDelete