Meal Plan, week of March 24, 2013

Welcome to my very first Meal Plan blog post.  This is what we have available and planned for all of our meals for our family of four this week.  Some things are staples in our house and we do replenish them out of our $60/week budget.  Other things we buy only as needed for certain meals.  I always make use of leftovers in some way, either by freezing and using later or eating for lunch the next day, or repurposing into a new snack or meal.  The key to sticking to such a budget is to use everything.  Four meals this week are new to my family so I will be sure to post a full review of how they are received by all.  I have included links to recipes, I usually follow them exactly the first time I make them.  For more delicious and budget friendly meals feel free to visit my Eight Dollars a Day Pinterest Board.

Meal Plan for week of March 24, 2013

Breakfasts:

Old fashioned oatmeal with applesauce and peanut butter,

Frozen waffles, leftover from a batch of waffles made over the weekend

Green Smoothies with spinach, mango, bananas, pineapple, and Greek yogurt

Raisin Bran (on a great sale this week at Winco Foods)

Bacon and egg breakfast burritos

Lunches:

Chicken Taco Soup, leftover from a dinner a few weeks ago and has been frozen since

Corn Dog Muffins

Homemade “Paleo Nuggets”

Spinach Pesto Pasta

Mac n Cheese with Andouille sausage

Peanut Butter and homemade preserve sandwiches

Moroccan Stew, leftover from a dinner (packed full of chickpeas, kale, and tomatoes)

Cottage Cheese with cracked pepper

Snacks:

Homemade Trail Mix

Apple slices with a peanut butter and Greek yogurt dip

Roasted or raw carrots (my kids are carrot addicts)

Pears and yogurt

Cauliflower and homemade ranch dip

Dinners:

Sunday: Pesto baked chicken, Mac n Cheese, and steamed broccoli

Monday: Slow-cooker Vegetable Curry

Tuesday: Beef Tacos

Wednesday: Slow-cooker Sesame Chicken

Thursday: Slow-cooker Cajun Stew

Friday: Meatloaf with peas on the side, this was Michael’s meal request this week

Saturday: Two Bean Chili and cornbread

Michael taught me how to take a screen shot on his phone, which I use as a calculator for grocery shopping, here is what my estimated total was:

photo

And here is what the receipt total was:

photo-1

As you can see there can be some discrepancies between what you calculate and what it actually comes out to.  This is why it is so important to round up a little when you weigh your fruits, veggies, and bulk purchases.  Though I was a little peeved today that we came home with so much change when I really wanted a specific loaf of whole wheat bread that I didn’t think I could afford.  I substituted and will make do.  The change from today goes into our change jar and we are saving for a trip to Australia, so yay change, boo different kind of wheat bread.

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Grocery Shopping Tips

All I knew when I began this challenge was that I needed to take a calculator with me to the store because I was going to take another bit of Dave Ramsey‘s advice, only shop with cash.  And by cash I mean we left debit cards at home and had 3 crisp twenty dollar bills in Michael’s wallet.

My first trip to the store with our new budget I had Amelia in my cart, a calculator in hand, a list of essentials woven between my fingers and a pen tucked in my pocket.  It was not easy for me to do this.  I do not enjoy talking finances, it always makes me feel awkward.  But I sucked it up and started weighing the fruit before putting it in my cart.  And nothing went in the cart without being added on the calculator.  Before the end of the trip it had become a game that I enjoyed.

Michael wanted me to remind everybody to round up when weighing your fruits and veggies, you will be much happier having a few extra cents for your coin jars than having to take something back at the checkout.  He likes to check around for a scale that is already zeroed out to make weighing easier.  When you need to calculate the price the formula is: +(Price per pound, such as $0.69) times (pounds, such as 2.75 for 2 and three quarters pounds)

1. Meal plan

2. Make a list

3. Shop with a calculator

4. Weigh your fruits and veggies

5. Round up

6. Cash only

7. Use your staples

8. Get creative

9. Always have a backup meal idea

10. Shop at an inexpensive store such as Winco Foods