A few of you have asked about how I do my monthly grocery shopping. My big shopping day was last Friday (I shop every four weeks based on my husband’s paychecks) and I thought I would share with you how to plan, shop and cook for a month!
1. Inventory your fridge and pantry and write down any meals leftover from the previous month/meals you can make.
2. Go through ads in the newspaper or online for local stores and price compare sales on meat, produce, and dairy – you may be surprised at what you find! I found deals on pork and chicken, so I planned that into my MENU. I also have a good knowledge of the average prices for things I purchase every month so I can see whether something is truly a deal or not.
3. Write down days that you will and will not need dinners for a month. You could easily make this post into 28 meals by planning a leftovers night. Since we eat our leftovers for lunch, and eat out once a week for our date night, I only planned 24 meals. NOTE: We usually have a few extra meals because things come up, we eat out an extra night, or have more leftovers than planned.
4. Figure out how many chicken, pork, vegetarian/meatless, soup, etc. dinners you will need for each month. This month I planned 24 meals: 6 chicken, 2 pork, 4 breakfast dinners, 4 vegetarian/meatless, 4 soup, 4 ground turkey.
5. Choose your recipes for each category, keeping in mind to plan for some to be leftovers for lunch. If you’re looking to save money: consider having one breakfast dinner and/or one vegetarian/meatless night. Also watch for expensive recipes that will zap your budget! Here is my MENU with recipe links.
6. Compile your dinner ingredient list, then add things you will eat for lunches and breakfast. I have done this for several months now, so I’ve almost gotten it down to a science when it comes to figuring out how much we will go through in a months time. Here is my SHOPPING LIST.
7. Cross off things from your new list that you already have based on your fridge inventory so that you do not overbuy.
8. For your first month, plan to spend what you usually do in four weeks of shopping and then see how much you actually use. In three months I cut my budget down by $80 a little at a time just by eliminating things we didn’t use as often as I thought we did.