If you’ve been following my blog for a while you know that I’m a planner, so of course, it’s no surprise to you that I meal plan. I started meal planning in 2013 after I met my lovely friend Emileigh. She had been meal planning for years. She would meal plan for the month. I started by meal planning weekly. I haven’t stepped up to monthly yet. I think that would overwhelm me.
We’re a family of 4 (Mom, Dad, 3-year-old daughter, 5-year-old son) and I spend $100, or less, on grocery weekly. I’m a vegan. I talk about why I decided to become vegan in this post. My husband and son started eating chicken again recently and my daughter is picky about meat so she eats lots of fruits and vegetables with me. So how do we do it? I’m happy to share!
I follow a blogger on Instagram, Allison at Inspired Budget, who uses the cash envelope system. I signed up for her free course, received the printout for envelopes and started using them right away. My grocery envelope gets filled twice a month with $200. When I go grocery shopping I take my cash envelope with only $100 in it. Here are my current cash envelopes.
I Make Simple Meal Plans
I use to be fancy and try out 2-3 new recipes each week. After 2 kids, who are picky eaters, I don’t have time for that. I have a list of my “Family Favorite Meals” that we have weekly. Spaghetti and homemade pizza are on the list. Majority of our meals are vegetables. You don’t have to have an elaborate meal with tons of ingredients to have a healthy well-balanced meal. If I do try out a new recipe, I’ll pick one where I have the majority of the ingredients in the pantry. Simple is easier!
I’m Not Big On Organic
Shocker right?? I’m all about my family eating healthy but organic is not a must. I wash all of our fresh fruits and vegetables in distilled white vinegar and water. I read an article years ago that stated if you do this you get all the “yucky” stuff off of your fruit and vegetables. Since then I’m sure another article has probably come out saying it doesn’t work. So many articles contradict each other. I tell my husband often, “We gotta die from something.” I would go crazy trying to do and not do, eat and not eat. It’s too much. My goal is for my family to have a healthy balanced meal. I reach that goal daily!
I Do the Majority of my Shopping at Aldi
So I’m not big on organic and I’m also not big on a name brand. Of course, there are some things that I HAVE to have a name brand for like my Late July Multigrain Tortilla Chips. Otherwise, I can care less. At Aldi, on a weekly basis, I spend $50-$60 for the majority of our food items. I’ll look at prices/sales at Walmart, Publix, and Winn Dixie for any fruit that Aldi didn’t have that we want for the week. I’ve come to realize that B1G1 isn’t always cheaper than just buying two at Aldi. Some people give Aldi a thumbs down but they get two thumbs up from me. PLUS they are building one that will be 5 mins from my house. I can’t wait for that!
•I have a bread machine and I make our bread and pizza dough.
•I make pancakes and breakfast cookies at the beginning of the week for us to have.
•I buy a big pack of chicken. Use a little and freeze the rest for other weeks.
•Shop at a local farmer’s market (I’m looking for a good one near me)
So, that’s how I feed our family of 4 for $100 or less each week. Yes, sometimes I go over if we’re having visitors or if it’s a special occasion. If that happens the next week I have to be VERY creative with the money I have left for grocery OR I budget for times likes that at the beginning of the month and put a little extra in my grocery envelope. I usually budget that in because……I’m a planner!
I don’t know it all, just trying to figure out the best way to feed my little family. So far, this has been working for us.
Are you a meal planner? How much do you spend on grocery weekly? What are some of your tricks?