My strategy

I must admit, I’ve been a little anxiety ridden over my upcoming shopping trip. Not only have I set a pretty high goal for myself, I did it publicly! The entire World Wide Web is depending on my success (how’s that for a self-inflated ego?). After making my declaration of  frugality (just made that phrase up…sounds official ‘eh?) I knew I had to come up with a strategic game plan.

Step one:  I set up a menu for the week. Remember, I want to buy a weeks worth of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for a family of four.  Thankfully, only three of us really eat solid food but, I still have to buy diapers and formula for Peanut within my tiny little budget. 

I read somewhere that the best place to shop for bargains is in your own pantry. So, I made a trip to Lizmart and created a quick list of all the non-perishables in my cupboard and all of the frozen veggies and meats in my freezer. I based my menu around that. This opened my eyes to a few things. (1) I realized that I have a lot more to work with than I originally thought. (2) It made me painfully aware of how much my family loves snack foods and (3) I found myself questioning my sanity. How on Earth did I wind up with 3 boxes of opened cornstarch, 2 and a half bags of confectioners sugar, 4 sold blocks of brown sugar, 4 cans of pumpkin puree and, what appears to be, a year’s  supply of Zataran’s red beans and rice? No one in this family even eats red beans and rice! I obviously have a personal issues.

I studied my arsenal of old cooking magazines and came up with 7 main meals, 7 breakfasts and 7 lunches. Thankfully, we have enough snacks to last us until the next shopping trip. ((See, saving money already!). I put each of these meals into columns and then created a daily menu plan from that. I was very careful to pick meals that could easily be changed into other meals with a few added ingredients.

Step 2: I listed out all of the ingredients I would need to make these dishes (minus the ones I already have) and created a solid grocery list. I’m proud to say that this list was blissfully free of all pre-packaged foods. I’m doing everything from scratch this week!

Step 3: I compared grocery store flyers to see who was having the best deals on the things I needed the most. I don’t have a lot of coupons this week so I need all of the savings I can get. We have a wide variety of stores in my area. My favorite of which is Wegmans. Wegmans is like grocery Heaven. I could happily spend hours just in their organic section. I love Wegmans *sigh*. They are very reasonably priced but unfortunately, this week, all of my savings will come from my least favorite grocery store, Bottom Dollar. Yes, Bottom Dollar is not just a clever name. It is a bare bones, no frills store. No sushi bar. No in-store restaurant. I don’t even think they give you bags. I will be bringing my groceries home in boxes. (commence pity party…NOW)

Here’s a sneak-peek of my Menu plan for the week:

1.Roasted Chicken with honey-lime sweet potatoes and green beans almondine.

2. Burgers, home-made fries and steamed broccoli with prosciutto. I may just top my burger with a little bit of Gorgonzola.

4 Chicken Tacos (with leftover roasted chicken)

5. Home made calzones and salad.

6. Chicken noodle soup

7. Chicken curry salad (using leftover chicken from the soup).

Ya, it’s a lot of chicken…but chicken is cheap  frugal!

Wish me luck folks!

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4 thoughts on “My strategy

  1. Woah, are you trying to do $100/week INCLUDING diapers and formula? My $100/week budget is for food only. Baby items, household items and alcohol (ahem) are separate line items in our budget!

    Yesterday I read on another frugal blog that if you qualify for food stamps you receive $126/month per person – so I’m upping my food budget to $125/week! (Which is doable for us since AC season is finally over.)

    Looking forward to your recipes!

  2. I have The Coupon Mom book, if you want to borrow it, but you can find pretty much all you need to know off her website. Good luck with the coupons. It can be very rewarding to come out with a ton of stuff and spending a little money. I’m on a get-stuff-for-free kick – using coupons and sales to get free stuff! I gotta hit a few different stores in a week sometimes, but its FREE STUFF. Good luck.

    And, like Vicki, our food budget is separate from household needs.

  3. Wow I am so impressed with all the planning! You will definately save money AND cut waste AND eat healthier. Good for you and your family! I love chicken so the menu sounds great to me – chicken is so versatile and it is the healthiest meat. Organic and free range are pricier but better food value as more nutritious. The farmers market will still have meat products.

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