Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My Grocery Method

So, yes, I am a crazy obsessive compulsive list making freakazoid who gets special tingles every two weeks when I get to compile my menu and grocery list. This may sound weird, and it totally is. But you know what? This crazy bug has saved me a BUNDLE of money on my grocery bills. If I cut out a few of the luxury items we buy (mama's gotta have her green grapes & daddy has to have his bagels!) we would probably be down to a monthly grocery haul of $200. I don't generally ask what other people spend on groceries, but according to the internet that seems to be well below average! YAY!

How do I do this exactly? Step 1, plan out each meal. Step 2, use excel & list out each ingredient in each meal. Step 3, price it out and determine which store has the best deals on each item (I usually wait until the Wednesday ads come out for this step). Step 4, go through your kitchen and see what you already have. Step 5, shop & stick to that damn list!

It's hard! I know! Especially when you have kids. Milo recognizes his favorite foods in the store now (bananas, cereal, cheese) and will point them out and make a fuss unless you grab them. ALL of them. He doesn't understand that bananas aren't always on sale, or that mommy doesn't have a coupon for his cereal this week. You just have to muscle through and stick to your list. It helps to not shop hungry or with kids. If you can manage that, you should be okay.

Here is a picture of my obsessive compulsive crazy grocery list...

I know, I know, I'm nuts. Go ahead, take your shots. But look at that glorious total! This is my rough draft list before I go home and root out things that I already have. I know I have maybe 10-15% of this stuff at home. That puts me down to $119. Also, this week happens to see me at the end of my homemade laundry soap, so that's another $9 of stuff that I don't normally have to buy (my soap lasts me half a year or more). So, I will actually be looking at something more like $110 for everything all told. And from my list you can see that we don't eat Ramen & beans every night. Here is my menu for the next two weeks...

Saturday : Baked Mini Shells with Pork Sugo

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Sunday : Ravioli Pesto Bunnies (adapted from Ravioli Pesto Hearts
Monday : Creamy Mac n Cheese
Tuesday : Orange Chicken with Broccoli & Carrot Orzo

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Wednesday : Pineapple Chicken Teriyaki Stir Fry
Thursday : Spaghetti with Pizza Sauce

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Friday : Breakfast for Dinner
Saturday : Citrus & Herb Stuffed Cornish Game Hens with Wintery Mashed Potatoes

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Sunday : Cauliflower Crust Pepperoni Pizza
Monday : Chicken Cheese Orzo

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Tuesday : Drunken Italian Noodles

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Wednesday : Moroccan Style Braised Chicken with Roasted Veggies
Thursday : Leftover/Ramen Night

That's how we roll in my house! You'll see that I don't include breakfast at all or lunch during the week. Breakfast invariably ends up being toast on the way to work, or I whip up a big batch of pancakes to throw in the freezer to grab on the go. Lunch should only consist of leftovers. I make a double batch of nearly everything so this is possible. This way we aren't spending money on Burger King each week and I know that what my husband and I are eating is as healthy as I can make it. Milo eats at daycare.

This is my method! I wanted to make this clear before I started in on my recipe reviews and other nonsense. I wanted it to be clear that I'm not fooling around. I don't use super expensive ingredients, I coupon clip and I want the best nutrition and taste for my little family. As I expand my cooking & clipping skills, I want to share. I want to share because I was never taught how to watch my money when it came to groceries, so I learned the hard way... by spending money I didn't have!! Not good!

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