Currently, I am not working. I haven't worked since the end of March so we have been relying on Matt's paycheck to get by. Matt's job pays him twice a month, he isn't bi-weekly, he is paid strictly on the 7th and the 21st of the month, no matter what. Which sounds super, to have a guaranteed pay day! But when you look at the calendar, some months this really sucks. Like July/August for example. Matt's pay periods run from the 1-15 of the month gets him paid on the 21st, and the the 16-last day of the month gets him paid on the 7th. Well he got paid July 21 and won't get a check until August 7, and when you look at that, it's a LONG haul.
Which makes meal planning crucial because it keeps our grocery bill down. Currently, I'm cooking meals for 4 people. Matt and I typically either have left overs or sandwiches for lunch, and the kids almost always have a sandwich. Right now we are taking advantage of free lunches and snack at the park, but that ends August 7. And really, that hasn't cut down on our grocery bill because I'm still buying sandwich things anyways, but it's a nice option to have if available to you.
I know I have had many people say to me, "I don't know what I'm going to want to eat on a particular day a week from now" when I mention meal planning as a great way to get your grocery bill down. To that I say- learn. Seriously. If you are in a position that you have to budget, learn. Secondly, you don't necessarily have to do that. Here's how I do it:
Other tricks I do? At least once in a cycle I do a spaghetti and use the left over sauce for meatball subs the next day. Sometimes I'll make chicken tacos and we'll have nachos the next night with my leftover chicken, and I'll add corn and beans to it. Be realistic, if you know there is going to be a day where you declare you absolutely are not cooking? Put "order out" on there, knowing you can only order out ONCE in that cycle. (You see that? I just saved you money.)
Step Five: Once I get my coupons from the ad, I start looking online for coupons on the items I need. Truly, the only two sites I really use are Coupons.com and Krazycouponlady.com. Sometimes I find no coupons, sometimes I find a bunch I need. Don't forget to look at your ads at the things that are already on sale without a coupon. This week I was able to get mayonnaise (the large jar) for only $1.33 because it was on sale for $3.33, but I had a $2 coupon online.
Lucky for me this week Super One Foods had a lot of buy one get one deals so I did all of my shopping there. Things I picked up extra as buy one/get one deals that were not on my list were:
- Quilted Northern 6 packs of toilet paper
- Marinated pork roasts
- Packaged deli meat
- Soft taco shells
- Taco seasoning
- Purex laundry soap
I also picked up two packs of pork chops that were in the marked down area of the meat department. That will save me on my menu planning for next round.
After purchasing everything on my list, plus my extras, my bill was $125.49.
My absolute budget per month for groceries is $300 for a family of 4. I budget $150 per paycheck to groceries, so the extra $25 went into my savings for Olivia's braces.
Every Sunday I'll be posting recipes that I've tried from cookbooks, Pinterest, etc that are inexpensive to make. If you missed my first post, Macaroni & Cheese, go back and check that out. Next Sunday I'll be sharing my Pot Roast recipe that is so easy and SO good.