When you are a Stay at Home Mom making your income last until that next pay-day can be challenging. Especially in our case with my husband only getting paid once a month.
After a year of practice and learning a lot I am much better at grocery shopping and planning out our dinner menu to meet our budget. I have a plan when it comes to how I shop and it works for our family.
My cousin plans their family menu monthly ( at least she used to when we worked together). I thought it was a great idea and adopted monthly menu planning for our family when I used to work full-time and had one child.
It was easy to grocery shop on Sundays for the upcoming week when you make a plan. Plus, personally it helps me stay on budget. That was also before Wal Mart pick up existed, which was a game changer for us.
Especially if you are trying to stay on a grocery budget. The pick up is great because you are not walking the isles being tempted to throw things in your cart that is not on your list.
You simply search what you need and add it to your cart and even let them know when you would like to pick it up * tip if you want same day must place order early. You can also add frequently bought items to a favorites list, which makes it super easy to add to your cart each time.
Now that I stay at home I usually plan our menu weekly. I see what meats are on sale and when we participate in Bountiful Basket, I use the produce from there – Which if you have never heard of you MUST check it out, more details on BB so keep reading.
I try to buy meat that is on sale that week usually from Aldi or Sprouts because that is what’s around us and where I prefer to shop, and same for fruits and veggies that I need.
Pantry Items – Snacks, Breakfast foods, Lunch Essentials, More Snacks
These items are usually bought with my Wal Mart order we do once a month. It basically includes everything from snacks to dried pasta, canned veggies or tuna, cereal and lunch stuff like chips, popcorn and fruit snacks.
We also go to Sams to for some things, you just have to check prices of stuff and figure out where you can find the items you need at the best price. Or in Sams Club case, usually bulk stuff like chip assortments, peanut butter 2 packs, Bread and some cereal.
Again I check my ads. Like Today I went to Sprouts because it is Double Ad Wednesday where twice as many things are on sale because it is when their new ad starts and old ad ends. Check you favorite grocery store to see what kind of offers they have.
Meat & Produce
I mentioned Bountiful Basket above and I LOVE them. Visit their website at http://www.bountifulbaskets.org/ and see if your area participates.
Our city does not but I drive about 15 minutes to our pick up location which is just a few towns over. Without too much detail here is how it works.
It is a group of people in your area that pool their contribution together once a week – Contributions begin Monday and ending Tuesday at noon (local time for me 10AM pacific time). Contributions are anywhere from $18-$35 depending on what you select (visit website for details). Your produce is then purchased in large quantities from resalers at a discounted rate for you to collect on Saturday mornings, 8:15AM which is our areas pick up time. See below pic for my most recent pick up, I got all of that for $19.50.
I plan my weekly menu depending on what comes in our basket and what meats are on sale, usually always chicken with steak thrown in when a good sale comes along.
My kids eat a TON of fruit, mostly berries so I usually always go out for some but it also depends what all we get from BB. Every week you get different produce, which is what I appreciate so we do not eat the same things we usually do and we also get to try new things.
One time we got a ton of Collard Greens which I had never cooked with. I looked up a recipe on Pinterest and made some yummy collards in chicken stock and bacon and it was YUM!
My point, I would have never bought collard greens if I had not gotten them in my basket.
Basically to sum up our produce almost always comes from Sprouts or Bountiful Baskets with Aldi thrown in occasionally. Checking ads is what I always do though before I make a grocery list.
Don’t Forget the Kids When Menu Planning
I like to ask Harper what she will like to have for dinner too plus she loves having input as well. Even though she almost always chooses Spaghetti that’s ok because you know what, it makes great leftovers. We also always have frozen chicken nuggets in the freezer as well because let’s face it kids for some reason love chicken nuggets.
Some other tips to get you through your busy week with Meal Planning:
- Always make enough for leftovers. Leftovers are great for Lunch or Dinner. We usually eat leftovers at least 2-3 meals a week.
- Use that Crockpot! Even in the Summer! I have an awesome French Dip recipe so it makes a good meal anytime of year plus provides awesome leftovers. Definitely share worthy so check back soon!
- Always have quick go to options in the freezer for when you’ve had a crazy day or unexpected plans pop up. For us it’s chicken nuggets, lasagna, frozen pizza or those freezer meals you can throw together.
- Breakfast makes a great Dinner and it’s cheap! Eggs & toast, with ham or bacon, French Toast, Pancakes, Cinnamon Rolls so many options. Usually a big winner with the kids too.
- Check Grocery store for Specials. For example our Sprouts does $5.00 Sushi Wednesdays so guess what we are having for dinner tonight!
- Don’t forget about Rotisserie Chickens!! Almost every store sells these things already cooked and they are usually always delicious. Some stores have already prepared sides too (like Sprouts creamed spinach and kale, mmm).
- Taco Tuesday never ends! Want to know what you can cook on Tuesdays for the rest of your life TACOS! So many options for this one. Crunchy, Soft, Street, Shredded Meat, Veggie, Fish, are you hungry yet! I love me some tacos.
Hope you guys like my suggestions I am by no means an expert on any of this stuff. Just one Mom sharing her tips to another.
Have a good budget tip or meal planning tip I would love to hear!
** I am not getting paid for any of the above mentioned stores and I do not work for them. They are where this mama truly love to shop**