There have been some requests in the SavEars that I share my meal plans along with my Kroger trip recaps. And I get it, because I’m sure some of you are looking at this picture going, “this woman is going to feed her family on watermelon and cheese?”
And also no. But mostly yup.
Here’s the deal. I shop to the sale. This means if it’s not on sale, I’m not buying it. So I do not sit down on shopping day and go, “I’m making these five meals this week, so I need to get these ingredients.” Ya girl don’t play that way.
When the new digital coupons and weekly ad come out on Wednesday, I sit down with that, see what is on sale, or very reasonably priced, and then I get a rough idea of a few meals. The reality is, very rarely do I get all the food for all the meals I make that week during that specific weekly shopping trip.
So where is the food coming from? “Have you been lying to us this whole time, Kristen B??”
I would never. We’re best friends, you and me. Only the truth for you.
And the truth is this: the food comes from shopping to the sale. When something is really well priced, I buy a ton of it and store it in one of my two freezers. Remember a few weeks ago when I bought like, 5 pounds of sausage? We did not eat all the sausage in one week. Or last week, when I bought many pounds of steak. I was not spending the week brainstorming how many different ways one can prepare steak. For things like my meat and shelf stable items, pasta and canned tomatoes, etc, I stock up when the price is right and consume at my leisure.
So sometimes, like this week, when there aren’t great sales or someone else has gotten all the chicken before I get there, I’m buying my fruit and veg while plotting what to best pair it with from my freezer.
I had planned to buy a lot of chicken this trip because breasts were $1.67 a pound but by the time I got there, literally no chickens left. They flew the coop. This means I was quite under budget, so hopefully next week I can stock up on something or treat my family to a regularly priced item. But what about this week? People still gotta eat. The only protein I bought was some chuck roast. That was buy one, get one, so I’ve got one for this week and another goes in the freezer. Shop to the sale.
Here’s what my meal plans looks like for this week.
- Sunday: Grilled Brats and Grilled Peaches (brats from freezer!)
- Monday: Chicken Drumsticks (from the freezer) with Sliced Watermelon
- Tuesday: Pasta Bolognese (pasta, tomatoes, sausage, and ground turkey all from freezer or pantry)
- Wednesday: Shredded Beef with Grilled Onions and Tomato Salad (all from this trip!)
- Thursday: Summer Cobb Salad (cheese, lettuce, turkey from this trip. Bacon from Costco.)
- Friday: Pizza night!
- Saturday: What ever I end up buying for for the new week!
Lunches for my husband were leftovers from dinner the night before. Lunches for the girls were fruit salad and pepperoni roll ups, or peanut butter and jelly. My lunches were mostly cheese based. Breakfast is fruit and cereal, which is another shop to sale item we had in the pantry. You can see from this meal plan that about half of my dinners came from this specific trip, but the other half relied on my stockpile of meats and self stable items.
I have two goals with my grocery shopping.
- Feed my family
- Stay on budget
Sometimes that means buying something I have never cooked before and figuring it out, like with the roast chicken. Sometimes that means going without an ingredient we love, like during the $4 Ground Turkey Drought of 2019. Sometimes it means substituting a more cost effective alternative for a pricey ingredient. Piave does the same work as Parmesan for half the price, y’all. See, my extensive cheese tasting is good for something!
- Bananas, 2.63lb -$1.55.
- Boar’s Head Sandwich Pepperoni, .5 lb -$4.58.
- Clementines, 3 lb-$3.77.
- Chuck Roast, many lbs-$13.54. Buy one, get one. I have no idea how many pounds I got. I know it was a good deal at the time but now one has been eaten and the other is in the freezer, so you’re just going to have to trust me. :)
- Marieke Gouda-$3.89. Manager’s Special!
- Nectarines, 1.84 lb-$1.82. $.99 a pound.
- Parrano Gouda-$3.59. Manager’s Special!
- Peaches, 2 lb-$1.98. $.99 a pound.
- Plums, 2.14 lb-$2.12. $.99 a pound. So many fruit sales!
- Private Selection Ice Cream, 48 oz-$3.99. *Digital coupon* for $1 off.
- Private Selection Wheat Bread-$1.99.
- Private Selection Honey Turkey, .5 lb -$4.
- Red Leaf Lettuce, .92 lb-$1.55.
- Roma Tomatoes, .91 lb-$.90.
- Think Thin Bar-$0. Free Friday *Digital Coupon*.
- Vidal Onions, 2.52 lb-$4.01. I got charged for yellow onions, not Vidal, which was a $.20 difference, but what can you do?
- Apps I’ll submit to: Fetch Rewards, Ibotta ($.10 off Any Item), CoinOut
Total Budget: $86.63
Total Spent: $56.15
Total Saved: $26.70
Rolled Over to Next Week: $30.48
Meal planning is tough. I spend a lot of time on Pinterest, just familiarizing myself with different flavor profiles and meal ideas. When items pop up on sale, I have some stored knowledge on how I can cook them. But trust me, if I can do it on my budget, so can you!
How do you meal plan? Do you shop to the sale? What’s the biggest challenge with meal planning for you? Gimme your thoughts in the comments!
Kristen B. is wife to the best Prince around, mama to the spunkiest little princesses, and lover of all things Disney. She started her savings journey five years ago and is now dedicated to making her family’s wishes come true one coupon at a time. She is so excited to take her love of saving to the next level and share her journey with you! Click here to catch up on Kristen’s Savings and join in on your own savings adventure!