Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Grocery Budget/ Couponing/Weekly Meal Planning for 9/5/11

Hello friends. How is your day? I have to say my day is going well! I didn't sleep well last night but got myself out of bed this morning so I could go to the bank and go to the grocery store. I see the grocery store as a challenge I must step up to. I like to get out of there getting the things we need and some things we want with as little out of pocket as I can. I usually shop at Sav a Lot which has a store conveniently in my town. They have nice meats but they have limited variety of food. Good quality, limited variety. Most of the food at Sav a Lot are the sav a lot brands. However, they will get deals in with brand names like Hamburger Helper,  Maxwell House, A1... well you get the picture. 

My problem is that I like to have choices. I want a wider variety of produce, cereals, meats, well everything; that's where Kroger and Walmart come in. I have a problem with Kroger and Walmart too though. The foods there are way too expensive. That is where my coupons come in. I have a budget for my household. My budget is an absolute must because we are a family of six living on a meager income. We try to use as little water as possible, save energy as much as possible, I grow food in the summer to store for winter, I use coupons and am trying to get a stockpile (which I am not doing very well at the moment :( ). We even do most of our clothes shopping at thrift stores and yard sales. Most of the things we have furnished our home with have been given to us or have been bought at bottom dollar. We try to be as frugal as possible. Grocery shopping is a big deal in our house. I can easily spend over $500 a month on groceries. However, I only have $400 budgeted. I want to cut that $400 in half and still eat good quality, whole foods. Seems impossible doesn't it.

I have a plan. I am just starting out with budgeting, couponing, stockpiling, and meal planning. However, I have been saving coupons as much as possible. I eventually want to have a system down so I can plan my menus around weekly sales ads and my coupons so I can get the absolute best deals possible on the foods my family eats. I have been able to get some items free so far such as milk, eggs, toothpaste, and toothbrushes, shampoo. I have also gotten things like laundry products, toilet paper, paper towels, ziploc bags, meats, cereals, and organic products for less than a dollar. I just haven't managed to do it on a stockpiling scale. I know it will come eventually but for now I have $100 a week to spend on our food needs. I have to get breakfast items, lunch items, snack items, and dinner items. Not to mention things like chocolate milk mixes, ice cream, hot cocoa, coffee, and occasionally some soda. I also budget a little extra for holidays but I still would love to get by with spending less than $200 a month on groceries.

So far I have implemented several things. First, I make sure to buy at least 3 Sunday papers for coupons. I keep a detailed coupon log and my coupons are safely tucked into a tabbed binder. I keep my coupons organized in baseball card sleeves under their tabs (such as breakfast, beverage, paper products, feminine hygiene, ect). I use my log to see what coupons I have, how many of them I have, when they expire, and if they can be doubled. Each week I rotate the coupons around. The ones that expire that month are taken to the front and all are organized by expiration date.

Then I take my coupon log and the sales papers for my preferred stores (Walmart, Kroger, Rite Aid, Sav a Lot) and I go through the ads and see what kind of deals I can find. I also keep my store's coupon policy handy just so I don't mess up) Recently I have been able to buy Dawn Dish Liquid for $0.99 for a decent sized bottle, Liquid hand soap for $0.18, and have gotten 3 boxes of Playtex Tampons for free. 

I have also implemented menu planning. To make my menu planning easier, I have taken the advice I found on The Morris Tribe website and now have themed dinners. Monday night is casserole night, Tuesday is pasta night, Wednesday is soup night, Thursday is beef or pork night, Friday is flex night where we can eat out, leftovers, or just whatever I have to make, Saturday is slow cooker night and our movie or game and ice cream night, and Sunday is chicken night. I already have several interchangeable recipes for each of my categories. Now that I have both my couponing situated and my menus situated, I need to merge the two together and plan my menus around whatever I can find on sale or have stockpiled.  I know it will take me a little while to get used to it but I will achieve my goal of feeding my family for less than $50 a week.

This week I spent $120 dollars on groceries. I was out of a lot of needed stuff and I went a little crazy on snacks for the kiddos. So I must tame that. However I have stuck to my meal plan.

Monday-Casserole Night
Last night was casserole night and my family voted to have my baked macaroni and cheese and a nice garden salad. Want a recipe? 
Erin's Baked Macaroni and Cheese
5 tbsp butter, divided (unsalted)
1/3 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 box (1lb) elbow macaroni
1 (2lb) box Velveeta, cut into 1 inch chunks
Shredded cheddar Jack cheese
Ritz Crackers (10)
Lil Smokies cocktail Sausages

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook macaroni according to directions on box.
Meanwhile, melt 4 tbsp butter in large saucepan. Once boiling add flour, cook 2 mins. Add milk and return to boil. Add cheese chunks stirring constantly until all cheese is melted. Then add a couple handfuls of the shredded cheese. Keep stirring until cheese is melted.

Drain macaroni and return to pot. Add cheese mixture and stir well. Transfer to a well greased 13x9 lasagna pan. Melt 1tbsp butter in microwave. Crush ritz crackers and mix with butter. Sprinkle cracker mixture on top of mac and cheese in lasagna pan. Sprinkle top with more shredded cheese. Scatter little smokies over the top of the mac and cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the edges are bubbly and cheese on top is melted.
Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.
Cut, serve, enjoy!
 Tuesday-Pasta Night
Tonight we are having South of the Border Chicken and Pasta Skillet. I am a subscriber to Kraft Food and Family magazine ( I highly recommend it) and found this recipe in the magazine. You can follow the link to find the recipe on the Kraft Foods website.
 Wednesday-Soup Night

We are having Creamy Corn and Potato Chowder. It is a wonderful dish found in the free e-book called "Just Get Em Fed" found on the Morris Tribe website. The E-book is on the right hand side if you scroll down a little.
Thursday-Beef or Pork night

I will be utilizing the Meatloaf  recipe from the " Just Get Em Fed" e-book. 
Friday-Flex night

I am treating my kiddos to pizza this night. I also think we will be heading to our local High School Football game.
Saturday-Slow Cooker Night
I will be using another recipe from Kraft Foods. Easy Slow Cooker A1 Swiss Steak. I haven't tried this one yet but it sounds delicious none the less.
Sunday-Chicken night

Yet another Kraft Foods recipe: One Pan Chicken and Potato Bake . The link has a nice video on how to make this dish. 


Well there you have it. I am going to be scouring the internet and my cookbooks to find more spectacular recipes to share with you. Until next time....Be Blessed


  1. Good luck with the couponing! I can never seem to find any coupons for the products I use. Great idea using 'themes' for each days meal. Do you have any complainers? I could just hear my family now. There would be someone who wouldn't like that days meal!

  2. I love your mac and cheese recipe! We've made homemade baked mac and cheese for years with the white sauce and velveeta, but never have tried the crispy cracker top! Yum..
    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)