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Meal Budgeting and Meal Planning

April 18th, 2016 at 10:05 pm

We went out to dinner on Friday night, and it was expensive because we brought the coach who was staying with us... We have $76 left in our dining out budget, though, and I really don't feel like I need to eat out for the rest of the month.

The groceries for this week came to $97.68 which seems pretty good since prices seem to have gone up.

We are so fully stocked it's a little bit ridiculous. I need to inventory the freezer and pantry. And we have three coca colas. I never drink soda, and neither does the rest of my family, but I was warned that our coach likes coke, so I bought an 8-pack on our last Target run. I think he'll be staying with us again, so I'm going to remove it from the fridge, put it in the pantry and save it until he comes back. [Update on the coke: my husband opened one and had three sips. So I can't put that in the pantry now. Do I need to buy more coke for the coach when he returns?]

The meal plan for this week:

S - turkey burgers, fries, peas
M - king ranch casserole - this version
T - very sweet salmon, brown rice, broccoli
W - something from the freezer, salad
T - grilled cheese and tomato soup
F - potatoes dauphinoise with salad
S - we have so much food, I'm sure we can whip something together!

We try to eat meatless at least three nights a week. But it's soccer season, and F needs protein!

Do you have any innovative ways to plan your meals to save money?

3 Responses to “Meal Budgeting and Meal Planning”

  1. snafu Says:

    I'm bewildered by those who decline to meal plan. It's less stressful to know what to make, walking thru the door. We need flexible meals with a quick fix for days we eat and rush to an event and some that are wraps or finger foods that can be eaten in the car or picnic-like. Our Sunday dinners are somewhat special. We regularly have friends or family here so it is nearly always something baked, roasted or grilled. I've been married a very long time and combat kitchen boredom by experimenting with ethnic meals. It helps to have a number of 'plan-overs' to use up Sunday's extra foods.

    I suggest a quick review of store flyers or online ads to focus on loss leaders which are typically honored by other chains if you bring the ad. If you keep to foods in season they are mostly best priced. If an item is incorporated into a dish baked or roasted, it's less costly to use store brand, cheaper than Brand named and mostly made in the same factory with a different label. Major cost saver here is the foods from the perimeter of the store. Because so little produce is grown here, it's been most cost efficient to use frozen vegetables. With our dollar being hammered, food prices have nearly doubled in two years.

  2. Buendia Says:

    I agree! So much less stressful. I plan F's lunches, too. Mine are a little less structured, but I eat the same things every week: turkey melt one day, avocado toast another day, goat cheese with crackers another day, etc...

    I so wish we had an Aldi here. We do have Trader Joe's which is great (it's all store brand and a lot cheaper than the Albertsons), but not for fruits/veggies - I get those at Sprouts and use the weekly ad to buy what is on sale and in season.

    I love fish and we're nowhere near an ocean, so we buy that frozen.

    I forgot to say that our biggest cost savings is that we buy very little processed food - cereal, baked beans and a few other tinned items. But I think besides not meal planning, very few people actually cook! The people on this forum are an exception!

  3. Jenn Says:

    I don't know if I've shared this before, but we use an EASY recipe that includes a can of coke. (We're not soft drink consumers either.)
    (1) Put a roast in the crockpot.
    (2) Sprinkle an envelope of onion soup mix on it
    (3) Pour a can of coke on top, then cook all day.
    The roast can be cheap because the carbonation and sugar in the coke breaks it down to be very moist. The gravy is delicious.

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