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:

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And here is what the receipt total was:

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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.

The Challenge

The Challenge: Can our family of 4 eat 3 meals a day plus snacks, 7 days a week on only $60/ week? That is $8.57/day for all five of us.  Or $2.14/person per day.  When my son Mr. Picky is here we stick to the budget as well, this reduces it to $1.71/person per day.

The Reason: We took a loan to cover closing costs on the sale of our home.  Being huge fans of Dave Ramsey we wanted to pay the $7,800 off as quickly as possible.  We have always been pretty no-frills with the rest of our budget.  We have no credit cards or car loans, we do not subscribe to cable, none of us have expensive hobbies, and I also recently broke my fancy coffee habit.  The only place that we had an excessive amount of waste and needless spending was in our food budget each week.

Who We Are:  am Shea, I am 28 and my biggest jobs are raising The Kids and being a frugal homemaker by staying within our budget.  Michael is my Husband Extraordinaire, he is 30 and he works full time and comes home to be the Daddy Jungle Gym and Official Dishwasher.  Mr. Picky is Alexander, 8 3/4, his job is to play video games and critique my cooking.  The Girls are Amelia, 4 3/4, and Annabelle, 3, their jobs are to make messes, eat plenty, bicker, and be sweet little darlings.

Fun Family Facts: Our income is around the median family income for our area.  We recently moved to Oregon from San Diego.  Michael has a Bachelors of Science from Embry Riddle.  I love to knit and I dye all of my own yarns.  We have been married over 6 years and we have recently taken up running together for exercise.  We started this challenge at the beginning of December 2012 and we will continue for the foreseeable future because it has become a fun challenge.