Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Saving Cash - Day 3 - Meal Plans and Grocery List

Before I start today's blog, I wanted to post the picture we finally downloaded of our freezer on Day 14 after spending no money for two weeks. Thought you might appreciate it. Usually, our freezer is quite full.

It's been an easy feat saving cash today. My husband spent no money today since he ate free cheese and crackers at work. I ate breakfast super early with a double espresso at home, only had a $10 co-pay at the doctors, mailed some letters with stamps I already had, and then went and bought our first two bottles of red wine since we started the "no spending money for two weeks" experiment. The wine was a splurge, for sure, but it tasted delicious with our homemade beef stew for dinner.

Speaking of dinner, I realized I never posted our meal plans for this week and next, and I also forgot to share my shopping list with you all. I'm still stuck with tougher meal choices this week because I have to continue eating a low-iodine diet for an upcoming body scan on Friday. Hopefully Friday night I'll be given the "ok" to resume eating normal foods. I had chicken on the menu for this week, but had to change it around because it was outrageously expensive at the store. I'll work more chicken and fish into the menu next week. (I can't eat any fish this week because of the iodine and have to make sure any chicken is salt and broth-free.)

By the way, my first big shopping trip to our local grocery store on Monday was a disaster. The kids were not at all patient with me as I carefully checked coupons and specific products for purchase. They spent a lot of time picking on each other, while I was trying really hard to follow my list, and find good deals. After we got through about 2/3 of the store, I gave up on my efforts at discipline, and checked out. I didn't buy everything I wanted to get, and I forgot to give the salesclerk my coupons worth about $7. At least most of the items were also discounted with my store fidelity card, which I did have on hand. Next time I do the "big shop" I will not take both kids for my sanity and to save money.

Two- Week Meal Plan: (I bought most everything we need for these meals)
Monday - Steak, salad, homemade vinaigrette and sweet potatoes.
Tuesday - Meatloaf, orzo rice, and sauteed mushrooms
Wednesday - Beef Stew with potatoes, turnips, celery, carrots, tomato sauce, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar
Thursday - Kids will eat at our neighbor's house (I'll probably have stew)
Friday - Kids and husband will eat at International Night at local elementary school
Saturday - Going out to dinner to celebrate a family birthday in Baltimore (This will be our first meal out since we started the experiment!)
Sunday - Grilled Sausages, Potatoes, Salad, Sauerkraut

Monday - Chicken, sweet potatoes, veggies
Tuesday - Lasagna with veggies, Bread, Salad
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Thanksgiving - Take wine, cheeses, vegetable side dish
Friday - Dinner with family (my mom cooks...)
Saturday - Fish, rice, veggies
Sunday - Homemade chicken soup with corn, noodles and sandwiches

My husband helped me figure out how to post a link on the blog, so if you want to download my shopping list, you can! (We had trouble finding a way to post the link, so we are using a site we found; please do NOT pay any money to download it. As far as we can tell, it should be free. If you have any problems, send me a comment, and I'll try to solve any issues.)

My grocery list is more or less set up by aisles, so you can cut and paste it to suit your favorite grocery store. I also have notes on good prices I've found; feel free to edit them to your stores and region. It's one of my personal goals to note the best prices for all of these items, though some prices, especially for produce are seasonal. And of course, you should add in your own favorite foods and staples. Hopefully this will help you organize your trips to the store and save you some time with your planning. Typically, I try to have a few printed out at a time, and as we need items I'll just circle or highlight them on the list. Anything unusual that I buy which isn't worth typing, I just jot down in the margin. I do the meal planning on the back as I plan the shopping list or vice versa. At some point, I also try to put the final meal plans on a blank calendar and post it on the fridge. It makes me stay focused and I feel good about being organized!


Tom said...

I enjoy your blog - especially the 'no spending money' experiment. It is very timely as many of us Americans may be joining you sooner than we might like. Though very frugal myself, I don’t know if I could be as committed as you are. Great job and enjoy watching the bank account grow!

Continued good luck. Your son will most likely benefit from your ideals!

From Tom - co-administrator (though not the author) of my daughter’s blog -

Dr. Mom said...

I couldn't get it to download. The file downloaded but when opened it was just characters. You can also save your list as a .jpg and upload it as a picture. It will look small on the page but when you click it, it will expand. I haven't figured out a great way to upload a file like word or excel.

I know what you mean about taking children to the store. Crazy. They suddenly grow twenty arms and decide that they hate each other and want to argue about everything! It always costs me a ton more as well.

Katy, Planet Perspectives said...

Dr. Mom -
Thanks again for your technical advice. I'm going to figure out now how to post the list as a jpeg. Hope that will work and people will find it helpful!