This meant that at the middle of the month we had very little left over.... like only $25 max to spend this week O_O
Despite this, I wanted to get started on my deal with mom of cooking dinner for the whole family (4 - 5 of us), in exchange for her housekeeping services.
So how did I manage to buy groceries for 7 dinners for 5 on only $20.08 as pictured?
A few key factors helped us...
First our beginning of the month splurging meant we had stocked our pantry with plenty of soups and lunch meat for lunches so outside of a loaf of bread and some peanut butter we didn't need to worry about lunch food. I found 1.5 containers of Slim Fast while unpacking a box so I switched to Slim Fast shakes for breakfast and only needed to pick up a 1/2 gallon of soy milk. And our families have always been good about stocking up on meat and basic pantry items when they are on sale. However despite having a freezer full of meat right now, we want to make it last as long as possible so I only planned 2 meat dinners this week.
But shopping your own pantry is the #1 rule to saving money on groceries each week. I know at first you might think there is nothing you can do with the random ingredients inside but you will be amazed what you can scrounge together with the help of the internet. Of course this takes a lot of time (I have to schedule for 5-8 hours on menu planning/grocery shopping day) but I truly believe the results are well worth it.
Our menu this week consisted of:
- Garlic Butter Noodles
- Chicken Kiev over Rice
- Easy Ramen Stir Fry
- Spaghetti Aglio, Olio, E Peperoncino
- Diced Tomato and Mushroom Penne
- Green Bean Casserole and Three Cheese Potatoes
As I planned the menu, I made note of the ingredients I would need for each recipe and how much they would cost based on past shopping experience. This helped me walk into the store confident that I would not spend over our $25 budget. I didn't use coupons this week so imagine how much more savings you can get with that.
In the end I was able to get away with only buying the following for these meals:
- 2 packs of Rice Pilaf
- Frozen Mixed Veggies
- Teriyaki Sauce
- Italian Cheese
- Bell Pepper
- 2 packs of Spaghetti