Menu Plan, January 26, 2014 – 10 Ways I Save Money While Eating Food We Enjoy

Weekly Menu Plan May 2013


  1. Crepes, fruit
  2. Cereal
  3. French Toast, fruit
  4. Zucchini Bread
  5. Shakes
  6. Oatmeal
  7. Eggs, toast, fruit


  1. Eat Out
  2. Salad
  3. Dad’s Meatloaf with Relish (freezer), mashed potatoes
  4. Pizza
  5. Salad
  6. Sweet-n-tangy Pork Loin (freezer), mashed potatoes, beets
  7. Beef Bourginion (freezer), corn bread


  1. Leftovers
  2. Hoisen Chicken Wings (crock pot meal, chicken in the freezer), potato salad, broccoli
  3. Falafel, side salad
  4. Omeletes (eggs in the freezer), potatoes
  5. Tomato Soup, corn bread
  6. Black Bean Soup (freezer), bread
  7. TBD

inside of freezer

After clearing out the freezer above our refrigerator I made note of what was in our freezer and adjusted the menu to include those meals.  With the plan made to incorporate what I have, next week I’ll have mainly unseasoned meat and some vegetables.  So far this week’s shopping list included milk, lettuce, cucumber and tomato.  Tempted as I am to make a trip to Big Town and stock up on cooking essentials (tomato paste, olive oil, etc.), I’ve decided instead to just stay home.  During the past couple years I’ve done large bulk purchases as stores like Aldi’s.  My thinking was that it would decrease my shopping bill.  It didn’t.  Instead I kept spending more than I wanted to each month, on top of the large shopping trips I made.

When this year started one of my unwritten goals was to decrease my grocery spending.  My goal is spend $20 per person per week, my  husband budgets just under $40 per person per week.  This month (3 weeks) so far I am at $24.13 per person per week, groceries only.  The spending amount raises to $36.17 per person per week if I include eating out.  So I have a room to improve.  My husband is right on target, though, which doesn’t surprise me as he adjusts the budget monthly according to what we spend.  🙂

What is my plan to lower our spending?  For one I need to pay more attention to the totals as I shop.  The other is to actually add up all the little purchases made throughout the week.  By Friday and Saturday I have forgotten what we spent the previous Sunday.

Knowing my husband is a picky eater and not on board enough to eat beans and rice every night, here are 10 ways I have lowered our spending without giving up some of the foods my husband enjoys:

  1. Find vegetarian (bean) meals he enjoys.
  2. Substitute beans we like in dishes that contain beans we don’t like (not a fan of kidney beans, butter beans, Lima beans … a shorter list is the ones we do like).
  3. Buy the steak on sale and freeze it.  Sirloin steak, while not the cheapest, is cheapER at $3.99 than $6.99.
  4. Cook so there are almost no leftovers.
  5. Buy the one lunch meat he likes from the deli and have them slice it (slicing is free).  I bring it home and divide it out to 1 lb per bag and freeze it.  After looking at several different stores I found I am able to buy it from GFS in Big Town for $3.49 per pound versus our local grocery in Small Town for $7.99 per pound.  Buying it in the prepackaged bags makes it even more expensive than that – near $9 per lb.
  6. Aside from the 12-pack sodas I found last year for under $2 per pack, we don’t buy sodas.  My husband is trying to lose weight anyway, so he actually stopped drinking it before I did.
  7. Buy bread from the local salvage store for $1.09 per loaf and freeze it (I don’t go weekly), rather than $3.50 at a ‘normal’ grocery store.  By the way, it is all still within the sale date and gets delivered twice a week.  As my husband doesn’t like traditional white or wheat bread, this is a good compromise.  The other compromise is to stop by the bakery on the way home from church on Sundays – the breads are 1/2 price.
  8. Found a source of frozen croissants, the same as the restaurant he likes uses, and bought them in bulk.  Add this to coffee that we found we like, we are able to make a nice breakfast at home for $2-$3 per person versus $7 or $8 at the restaurant.  AND we don’t have to drive there.
  9. Got the recipe for basic crepes from my husband’s sister.  We are able to make crepes on Sunday mornings for everyone for under $.50 – including drinks and the maple syrup we bought in gallon sizes from a sugar bush and re-canned into quart jars.
  10. Learned to can some of the more expensive things he likes from the store – specifically tomato soup and pickled beets.

One of the conversations my husband and I have is about the fact that we don’t HAVE to lower our grocery bill.  We are blessed enough right now to afford what is spent.  It would actually be even higher if my husband was the one doing the shopping – that is my #1 savings tactic.  However, I like to be a good steward of the money he earns, the produce I have put up and the effort it takes to make and transport the food to the store.  If items keep being bought but not used then it is wasteful, which is something we are trying to teach our kids is not okay.

What are some of the tactics you use to save money on your grocery spending?

Linked up with OrgJunkie.

For more ideas also check out This Week For Dinner.

Also check out Confessions of a Homeschooler’s January’s Monthly Meal Plan.