Grocery Woes

As some of you know, I’ve been having issues with our grocery budget.  I have tried going to Aldi’s to shop but have found that while the one in my town has some useful things, it doesn’t have everything.  Which is fine—I just got to Wal-Mart for the rest of our stuff.  I’ve also been hitting up the dollar store for cleaning supplies and some hygienic items as I don’t really notice a difference in the quality of either of those groups.  Well, the packaging might be a bit dinged up but I’m not really trying to impress anyone with my Windex (or glass cleaner as the case may be).

I also try to come up with some general meal plans for two weeks.  But I know some people can really narrow it down—maybe the days will change but they know that they are having roast chicken with mashed potatoes and a salad.  I however know that we will be having some sort of chickeny dish with some sort of side.  And that is true for most of my two week meal planning.  There are some exceptions—we plan a larger meal on Sundays.  For instance this last weekend my guy made a huge pan of rigatoni and we had that and some nice salad.  Then I had it for lunch for the next two days and we ate some leftovers on Monday.  And it lasted just long enough that I didn’t get sick of it.

My problem stems in the days other then Sundays or our date nights (sometimes if we just do yummy Chinese we can do two or three date nights) is that I know what type of meat we have in the freezer and what we have for sides, but I don’t generally have a clue as to what type of dish I’m actually doing until the night before.  And sometimes I’ll just pull out the meat and decide what to do as I’m cooking.  Or (when I’m really tricky) I’ll just tell my guy to make something using the meat that’s pulled out and my suggestion to him is to make it yummy. (And isn’t that just the greatest suggestion of all time?  And yes, I know it’s horrible but that’s all I have sometimes)

So my new plan is to design a meal plan for one week and the other week I will do what I’m doing currently.  Why not do two weeks?  I figure it will be easier if I start off with one week and move from there.  And I actually want to do the meal plan right-breakfast, lunch and dinner. Challenging for me? Yup but I think I can handle it.

 Do you have any suggestions? How do you do it? Right now I write my grocery list around the ideas of what we *could* eat but I think I can fine tune that, don’t you?


3 Comments on “Grocery Woes”

  1. I used to do crazy meal plans with a different meal each day. That got tiring but at the time I had lots of time since I was a student. Right now I’m all about convenience and how quickly I can make a good meal with vegetables. It’s tough! I usually just get the meats (chicken, beef, whatever) and a good mixture of veggies, and just play it by ear. It’s always good to have pasta and pasta sauce too as pasta is my back-up meal all the time!

  2. Make a list of all the meal combinations that you love the most, or can just think of at the time. Group the ones that are somewhat similar and plan your menu for the week(s) from that. It will save money by allowing you to reuse some things for more than one meal. Like if you buy a loaf of garlic bread, you can eat that with lasagna for a couple of days and maybe with a chicken and pasta dish next.

  3. Kris says:

    I do two-four weeks of main dishes based around my work schedule (I work shift work), and what I have on hand or think will be on sale (things can change if the sales don’t work out).

    But when I plan, I simply write “chicken” or “pork”. Then when I pull the meat out I can make something based around time and desire – grilled chicken if I need dinner really fast, BBQ pork cubes if I have a little longer. It’s been working for us so far.

    I do spend my days off making stuff ahead though – I keep casseroles, homemade pizzas, etc. in the freezer for nights I work for my husband and kids. About once a week or so we clean out all the leftovers. And pancakes, waffles, or soup and sandwiches are usually dinner once a week too – cheap, filling, and kid friendly!

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