This is the continuation of a series that my friend N is doing on her BLOG called What do YOU do? I think I've participated in one or two so far and saw this one just the other day and thought I'd jump into the fun of sharing again! Please feel free to continue the sharing on your own blog or if you don't blog share here on my blog in the comments section about how YOU shop for groceries and do your meal planning.
I had a good system worked out before Clara was born! I planned my meals per pay period (every 2 weeks roughly) and shopped at SuperTarget or Super Wal-mart for ALL my groceries. After Clara was born we received numerous meals (thank you all and praise the Lord) so I didn't need to meal-plan and ever since then I haven't quite gotten back into meal planning. The main reason is because I don't want to expel the energy it takes to bring 4 children that are 4, 3, 2, and 3 months to the grocery store. It becomes an excursion that takes alllll morning long and can often times (though not always) end with children falling apart and a mama who's at her whit's end. Plus, I have since learned that the grocery stores up here (including Target and Wal-mart) either don't have the giant carts at all or they have them but you can't seat a child in the regular cart seat because they close the legs holes.
That poses a problem when you have numerous children who are all still small. I can remedy it by having Emma walk and wearing Clara - but it still frustrates me! Why is our culture only accommodating up to 2 children?! (Sorry, getting off soapbox now!)
Alright, on to what I do actually do!
We get paid twice a month (on the 1st & 15th) so the easiest way to stretch our money, stretch our food, and keep things fresh is to shop each pay period - so twice a month.
I organize my meal planning in Microsoft Excel where I have a main list of all my entrees and then another page where I break up the pay period into weeks and days and input each meal for each day along with sides and activities that we have going on those days that may affect what we have or my prep. On that same spread sheet I make my grocery list based off those meals that I've planned.
Week 1 Main Side
17-May Monday Spaghetti Garlic bread, salad
18-May Tuesday Tacos Rice, chips, guacamole
19-May Wednes Chick Pasta Salad Potato salad, green beans
20-May Thursday Brats Grilled veggies, fruit, chips
21-May Friday Pasta Bake Rolls, corn, salad
22-May Saturday T's Party
23-May Sunday Leftovers
So that's where I start. I do utilize my crockpot a lot! We are currently changing some of the ways we eat and therefore are changing the way and where we shop.
Right now I am shopping at Aldi's, Trader Joe's, Sam's Club, and Wal-mart/Target. I also have certain products I order online because it's cheaper than purchasing them in the store!
I get a majority of our dairy products - whole milk, sour cream, cottage cheese, butter, creamer, eggs, cheese. Their milk & cheese carriers are not organic but they are hormone free.
Certain baking goods - baking soda, vanilla, baking powder, sea salt.
Produce - VERY reasonably priced, though not organic.
Bread - they have whole grain, no HFCS bread for less than $2.
Pasta - have whole wheat Fit & Active pasta
Chicken - 3lbs chicken breasts for $5.50
Corn chips - blue corn and regular both organic and cheap.
Select dairy - Greek yogurt, milk - occasionally
Select lunch meat
Unfiltered 100% apple juice
Whole grain crackers
Whole grain tortillas - that actually taste good
Produce - occasionally
Formula - occasionally
Diapers - Target brand are the best for disposable!
Garbage bags - Target
I'm sure I'm forgetting a few things, but that's the jist of it! I don't use coupons but I'm very careful about our spending. Aldi's has HUGELY helped our budget and allowed for the Trader Joe's and online ordering that we've added into our shopping! I know it can be socially unacceptable to talk about numbers but I wanted to put our budget on here because that gives a realistic idea of how we shop and how we spend/save. We try to stay at or under $150 per pay period so, $300 per month. We have a family of 6.