WooHoo it's payday this week! **Happy Dance in progress**
Oh. . . but wait! That also means it's time to pay bills, budget and do the grocery shopping. UGH!
OK, 'happy dance' has now ended. :(
Really it's not that agonizing. Just takes a little extra planning and work. Which is where I've had to try and incorporate some semblance of a menu plan/grocery strategy so I can stay on track at the grocery store. And NO, it's not just because I'm pregnant that I can't stick to a list. . . . . well, maybe a little. But I 've always had a bad habit of seeing something that looks good and then tossing said item in the cart. Sounds good in theory. . . . but not so good at the check-out when I have to pay.
It has been nothing short of a miracle some weeks that I try to feed our family of 2 adults, 3 kids and one baby on $100 a week. No, I didn't make a typo --- that's $100/week or $400/month! But do notice the word TRY in the first sentence of this paragraph (see, I even underlined for your convenience). We do go over budget sometimes and that is ok. I'm always still tweaking, toying around with different ways to stretch our grocery money. I've tried bulk buying, local grocery store, big chain grocery store. Still have to try local farmer's market and this summer we plan on planting our own veggie garden (tips greatly appreciated in this area!!!). Through trial and error, and error, and error I've come up with some tips I try to stick with. Such as:
- MAKE A LIST! I know, a no-brainer but I still can make errors on this one - *sigh*
- I always check the weekly sale ads to see what's on sale and try to structure our meals/snacks/etc. around that. For example, this week 1 lb. cartons of strawberries are on sale so I'll probably grab some and use for fresh fruit snacks or cut up to serve w/yogurt & ice cream.
- I sometimes use our local meat market. This week I'm getting a meat bundle for $40 which includes 3 lbs hamburger, 1 lb. bacon, 3 lb. beef roast, 1 lb hot dogs, approx. 1 lb. ground pork sausage and 6 lbs of chicken fryers (2 whole ckns). This should get us through most of the next two wks - maybe having to supplement a few nights with leftovers, breakfast for dinner or meatless nights. All totally doable and budget friendly.
- Keep pre-made/boxed stuff to a minimum. I've gotten better and more efficient at making things from scratch. But we do get Ritz crackers, pretzels, Saltines on occasion to eat with fresh fruit & cheese, pack in lunches, to have w/soup and sometimes boxed dessert mixes - like brownies/cake. **NOTE - I have been known to go off track on this one - I LOVE sweets! There, I've confessed!**
- Don't go hungry! . . . and I would add 'Don't go pregnant' because I'm always hungry lately, but I really can't get around that one - blah!
**Any shopping, grocery, menu planning tips/tricks/advice you can offer? Willing to share what you budget to feed your family and your family size? Maybe quick recipes? Would love to have you share so myself and others can benefit! Thanks! :)