Am I the only person who is beyond happy that it’s Saturday? No, I doubt it very much. This past week was just harrowing for me, and the Ryan and I still haven’t quite recovered from the lack of sleep last Sunday.
But that is all about to change! Mwahahaha! For tomorrow is Sunday, the day we can sleep in! I actually have the Ryan to myself this weekend, and it feels pretty amazing to have him home with me again (for now, he’ll be away again soon). The kitties are asleep on their respective perches, the wind is blowing outside, the sun is shining, the windows are open, and it is just a nice, peaceful day. This morning the Ryan and I got up and went to the Amish market and stocked up on all things meat (and ate some pretzel logs, yum!)…We even had time to browse the book store. Soon, we will be making cat food and then sitting down for a nice movie, popcorn and snugglefest. Hooray for Saturday!
Moving on, recently, the Ryan and I have been discussing various ways to try to save money. I had to take a pay cut in order to go back to school, and he isn’t seeing the fruits of his overtime labor yet (and won’t until the project is finished. Bummer!). We also have a Christmas trip to California to cover, and are trying to save up for a trip next year. Since the biggest expense we currently incur (that we can actually cut back on) is groceries, that is where we chose to start looking for savings.
I was emailing a friend of mine the other day and asked him how he and his wife saved money since they recently adopted two kids. He said his wife does a meal plan and only goes to the grocery store once a week, and that it works like a charm. I decided to research the idea and came up with two very helpful and interesting websites:
Meal Planning 101 is a blog (albeit an older one, but still legit) about meal planning, and she also blogs the meals she makes and puts her own meal plans up, so you don’t even really have to think about it. Cool!
And Organized Home’s article has some extra helpful hints and tips that I didn’t find on the other website (And vice versa), so I decided to use it. It also provides various worksheets you can print out for free to keep your home organized and make plans/budgets/etc. I actually chose this one, and am going to print one out each week and hang it on the fridge.
One thing that will make this easier for me is that for the most part, the Ryan and I always have anything we would need to create a basic meal on hand. We get our meat organic and cheap at the Amish market once a month (for only $100 including the meat we use to make the cats’ food), and we keep 3 kinds of rice, various noodles (we stock up when the boxes go on sale for 10 for $10 or something) and canned goods in the house almost at all times. Really, we only have to shop for vegetables, eggs and the Ryan’s habit of diet Pepsi. However, that doesn’t make us exempt from buying things like cheese, eggs, sour cream, cream cheese, half and half, milk, and anything else you may need for a meal. Since I have the bad habit of surfing the internet every day and making things up as I go, I generally end up having to go by the grocery store for SOMETHING every single day. So, we decided to give this meal plan thing a try.
A tip I learned during my research is to make your meal plan based on the coupon flyers you get weekly in the mail for the surrounding grocery stores. I’ve already gotten mine this week and thrown them in the garbage with the rest of the junk mail, but I will know for next week. And I think that since it’s Saturday, we will actually get more today. Since we get our meat at the Amish market, we are not as concerned about that as you may be – but pay attention. If your stores are having an awesome sale on chicken, then be creative with chicken all week, and maybe go meatless for one of the days. We will be deciding where we shop based on the vegetable sales and other sundry items…but mostly the veggies.
Here is my meal plan for the week:
The websites I researched suggested that including a night out (if you wanted) and a night for leftovers, as well as going meatless (like I did two nights with veggie soup), will help lower your bill as well. I based my meals this week off of what we already have in our fridge…some ground beef that needs to be resurrected (stuffed peppers), celery and carrots I need to use (veggie soup), two random potatoes leftover from the cheesy potato soup (also in the veggie soup), the bags of rice in our pantry (hello stir fries!), leftover broccoli into the stir fry (first set of broccoli is going into the veggie soup), and I have a box of spaghetti noodles in my pantry begging to be finished off. As you may have noticed, both the Ryan and I are celebrating birthdays this week (we’re old!! It’s gonna be awesome!), so we reserved next Saturday as a date night for both of us to celebrate.
So, my grocery list for the entire week consists of:
Bell peppers, broccoli, bouillon cubes, cheese, meatballs, tomato sauce, and green onions. Six items for an entire week? Yeah, that should save us some serious dough! I’m going to gather my bank statements and add up my per-week expenses over the last 2 months, and then starting with this, I will monitor my weekly expenses until November, and see where I come out. If it works for us, we will stick with it.
In case you are thinking of doing this yourself, but are unsure of where to start, I want to share some awesome dinner ideas for busy people that I found on Pinterest:
And there you have it! I will post my actual figures after this experiment in two months and let you know how it has gone for us! And don’t worry, I’ll still be thinking of new and creative things to blog, so I will still be posting when I can (barring homework or the zombie apocalypse).
Enjoy your Saturday!