"The Kitchen Battle Plan"
A few posts ago I mentioned that I was going 'green' when it came to our grocery budget. I wanted to share with some of you who might be in need of a little encouragement in this area!
Our goal is a $100 weekly budget on all food spending for our family of four. This includes all grocery shopping (food & kitchen related items), eating out, and all other food/snack related purchases. For some of you this may seem extreme spending and others it may seem unrealistic.
At the beginning of the week I took a couple of hours to plan out all meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks) for the next ten days. This included all holiday eating, packed lunches for hubby's work, and hosting friends and family for guest dinners. We like to eat and I've not skimped on any portions, but have made sure they are also healthy and food group appropriate for my growing boys.
My grocery list assumes I already have in my pantry items such as flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, shortning, dry milk, oats and other misc seasonings. These items are essential to making most of your breads, breakfast foods, cookies, etc from scratch. The plan is laid out with B: (Breakfast) L: (Lunch) & D: (Dinner). Snack items are small portions of yogurt, fruit, or cookies that have been made. We do not use paper products (such as paper towels or napkins, but rather linen napkins, washcloths and towels that can be washed re-used easily.
Also, keep in mind that the cost of drinks can consume one's budget very quickly. Make the healthy change to drinking mostly water or hot tea and saving the milk/juice for breakfast only. (1/2 cup for kids & 1 cup for adults) The kids will get their nutrition as needed throughout the day from other sources.
After the meal plan came the shopping list. I researched a little online at weekly market ads and looked back at my receipts for averages of our usual purchases. If you have an Aldi in your area, I encourage you to shop there for certain items. You will save abundantly and I guarantee that you will enjoy the food! (Aldi guarantees it too...100% satisfaction or your full refund and replacement of the item).
After I had everything listed out I took off for the ATM. I withdrew the $100 in cash, because once it's gone for the week...it's gone. No debit card usage for "extra" purchases. If it wasn't already budgeted in, it needs to wait until the next week. Spontaneity may be a good idea in some cases, but not when it comes to money.
I have been amazed at how easy this week has been in the kitchen. Each morning I wake up and just take one glance at the menu to see what I'll be preparing for breakfast. I glance down to dinner to see if anything needs thawed or prepared for later. It has taken all of that "Daddy's coming home in 30 minutes....what's for dinner?!?!" There is no need to go running at the last minute to the grocery for 'missing ingredients'. Truly, I can't tell you what a burden has been lifted for the preparation and planning of all meals!
I will be posting the 10 day meal plan and shopping list soon! Be on the lookout! Also, please feel free to email me with any questions or ideas of your own!