Frugal Friday

Ever since I've started planning a menu, things have been going so much better for us. I know I keep repeating myself, but I just don't think I can say it enough! It really helps!

I don't menu-plan in the "traditional" sense (i.e., these are our meals for Monday, Tuesday, etc). Instead, each month I plan a number of meals for the following month. Since I'm just planning for two (the baby's still nursing quite a bit) , I'll choose three or four meals a week; that gives us a few days each week to finish up any leftovers.

I try to make my menu around what we currently have stocked in the pantry, so we don't need to buy a bunch of new things. If I want to try new recipes, this is when I write them in -- planning ahead means I won't need to make an impromptu grocery run and spend money we don't have.

Next, I'll write out our grocery list around our menu; of course I add staples like flour, sugar, etc to the list as needed. We do one large shopping trip at the beginning of each month and get everything we can. Then, during the month, I'll go back for things like milk, eggs, and produce.

This is what I've found works best for us at this time in our lives; fewer shopping trips means I'm less likely to spend more money on things I "think" I need. It's gone so well that I've even got another woman at church starting this with her family! :o)

I've been trying to keep our grocery budget around $150 each month (almost $40 weekly). In Japan we spent well over that limit, but since arriving stateside, we have been working harder to be better stewards. It's taken some time, but the past few months we have actually started coming in under budget! :o) I've learned to take small steps at cutting my budget; it won't happen overnight!

This month we've spent about $135, and shouldn't have to go back to the commissary for anything else. That comes out to roughly $34 a week... my husband is so proud of me, and I have to admit, I'm pretty proud of myself! ;o)

Having everything on-hand means that when it comes time to decide what's for dinner, I look at my list of meals, choose one, and check it off the "menu." Then it's a snap to pull out the ingredients and get cooking!

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Michelle Finsand-Peacock said...

Good job working out a menu plan to save money on food. It really does make a difference, doesn't it? The Lord be with you!

Mom2fur said...

Oh, my gosh, this is so true. I find that the weeks I make up a menu, things really are so much easier. I shop for early in the week on Monday at one store and later in the week on Wednesday or Thursday at another store. Both of these I do through "Grocery Game." The other thing that's fun to do when you plan ahead is to make and freeze some meals! You want to talk about easy...just pull something from the freezer and throw it in the oven, and dinner is ready!

Samantha said...

Wow! I am so impressed that you are staying under $40 a week, and you should be proud of yourself! That's really good. I have a hard time staying under $60 a week these days!

I think I may have mentioned this before, but Jim loves to eat lots of meat. If I make a pasta, rice, or potato dish he'll usually just pick out the meat and leave the rest, lol. So that makes it a little more challenging :) Meat isn't cheap around here!

I still can't wait to try your yummy meatloaf recipe!

Alexandra said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog. Sounds like you have an excellent plan for your grocery budget. Cooking from scratch around staples is so much less expensive. Too bad more women don't know this, and it's not that difficult if you cook simply.