Week No. 1 of reining in the grocery budget was a big success.
That being said, I’m expecting it to be the easiest week of meal planning. Thanks to months shopping without purpose, I have enough ingredients in my pantry to make a good week of complete meals.
I started by taking inventory. Lots of beans and whole grains in the pantry; vegetables and meat in the freezer.
Then I figured out what meals I could make with those ingredients (plus a few extra as necessary).
- Caprese tart with chicken (for Dan): Already had the ingredients.
- Tamale pie: Already had the ingredients.
- Brown rice, broccoli and salmon (for Dan): Needed broccoli.
- Frittata: Needed fresh eggs — mostly for use in Dan’s breakfasts.
- Greek night: Had tabbouleh mix. Needed hummus, lettuce and feta.
I also figured out what kitchen essentials I needed.
- Milk (skim for Dan, soy for me)
- Bread (two loaves)
- Clif bars
Even though I thought my shopping list was comprehensive, I realized I needed there were a few extra items when I got to the store.
- Coffee creamer
- Whole-grain Cheez-Its
All in all, it was a success. Just $52.08 versus the $100 I usually spend!
Still, I noticed a few areas that I can improve upon.
Fewer Big Money Purchases
I LOVE Chobani’s Cinnamon Apple Greek Yogurt, but at an average $1.50 per container, it can get expensive in a hurry. I scaled back a bit this week by just buying three, but I really want to look for an alternative that still stands up to my health hopes.
Buying Sale Items
What if there is a way I can keep my pantry permanently stocked without spending a lot of money each week? Going forward, I hope to fill my cart with non-perishable items that are on sale. On that topic…
Buying Non-Perishables in Bulk
Because I’m just feeding Dan and myself, I usually just buy smaller packages. Instead, I’m going to buy in bulk, which is generally less expensive per unit. (Although I have seen a few exceptions.)
Wish me luck for next week… I’m pretty sure I’m going to spend a bit more, but anything under $75 will count as a win.