Sunday, January 20, 2013

{Budget Groceries}: meal planning

I have shared before about our student loan debt, and the chaos of balancing my job and motherhood. I cannot say thank you enough to my friends and family that have walked along with me through this struggle, and encouraged me to abide in God. I now understand why God warns us to not borrow money. Debt sucks. 
Bryan has noticed my stress with balancing my role as a working-momma and motherhood, and offered to hire a cleaning service to help me with my bi-weekly cleaning. This was a helpful offer, but it has also been humbling because I have to admit that I'm not perfect. I can't be a perfect employee, a perfect mother, and a perfect homemaker. I need help, or I need to live with the chaos.

I want our financial budget to stay the same when we hire the cleaning service in February, so I had to "find" money. This left me with two options: cancel our cable or lower our grocery budget. Bryan voted for lowering our grocery budget {thanks to ESPN}.

I normally shop at Krogers because it's 1 mile down the street in the neighborhood, but I probably make 2-3 stops a week because of the convince. We spend $120-$150 per week on groceries not counting what Bryan spends eating out at lunch {weekdays only}. I also never meal plan. I just walk into Krogers and randomly buy ingredients and hope I can make a meal out of it. I hate cooking, so I'm not an organized shopper.

To save money I needed to meal plan. 


 Krogers isn't extremely expensive, but I needed to grocery shop at a more cost-effective store. A couple of my friends, Whit and MT, suggested that I do my grocery shopping at ALDI to save some cash.

I made my grocery list based on my meal plan for 5 days {I make meals to feed 6 people, so that we will have leftovers on the weekend and for work lunches}, and then headed to ALDI. ALDI doesn't carry everything, so I had to make an extra stop at Walmart to pick up toiletries and cleaning products, but adding up my ALDI + Walmart receipts I saved $50 the first week and $65 the second week. Crazy!

I am sold on ALDI now! If I can save $120 per month on groceries, then I can afford to pay our cleaning service, yay!

Meal planning is the hardest part, so I'm going to document 4 weeks of meal planning and share my meal calendar with you. If you have an ALDI or Trader Joe's near you, I encourage you to check it out! {No, no one is paying me or giving me anything to say this...it's just my opinion}

Let me know if you have any money saving tips? Saving money makes me do a happy dance! 

{ALDI Shopping Tips}:
*Go without bringing the kiddos the first time {it'll be easier}
*bring 1 quarter for the grocery cart {they're locked, and you'll get your quarter back if you take the cart back}
*bring grocery bags {you'll have to bag everything}
*they only sell in-season produce
*check out ALDI's FAQ page

{a majority of the recipes on my meal plans can be found on my Pinterest. check back in February for a complete booklet of my monthly meal plans to download for FREE}

13 comments:

  1. Our grocery budget is $100 a week {now feeding 4 people}. We just had to up it because our $80 wasn't cutting it. This includes 7 days of lunches, dinners, and snacks. Sean takes his lunch every day. I find cooking in bulk is helpful {mostly for my sanity}, Do you combine your household and cleaning supplies with your food budget? Just curious. We separate ours. Also, have you heard of Dave Ramsey? We used his Financial Peace University to get out of debt.

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    1. Yea, I combine our grocery budget with household items (expect diapers and wipes, because I use Amazon mom). I have heard of Dave Ramsey...I should probably look into that...

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  2. Hi Viv, Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog.

    Your post sounds just like me! I am a terrible grocery planner. I feel like work, my son and home are about all I can handle on some days. Although if grocery planning could pay for the cleaning service I could be motivated.

    Great ideas!
    Maria @ ourlakelife.com

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    1. Yep it definitely motivated this working-momma! Cleaning service to the rescue! ;)

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  3. Hi I am following you from the hop and really enjoyed visiting your blog. I love the jumpers you little one was sporting in the last post and agree that meal plans and budgets are a great way to eat right and keep costs down. momma needs a new pair of shoes :)
    I would love for you to follow along.
    Jillian
    http://puzzlemecomplete.blogspot.com/2013/01/ww-they-say-she-looks-like-me.html

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    1. Thanks Jillian! I'm following you too ;-)

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  4. I am OBSESSED with Aldi! SO SO SO much cheaper. And they have some great stuff! On another note, have you heard of Dave Ramsey? He has a great budgeting program that is very Christian based. That's what we follow :)

    Stopping by to say thank you so much for linking up with us this week for the GFC Collective, now following you!

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    1. We've followed Dave's free spreadsheets to track your spending...I'm wondering if we should pay for the extra courses...not sure if it will help us with our spending and paying off our student loans quicker?

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  5. I am OBSESSED with Aldi! SO SO SO much cheaper. And they have some great stuff! On another note, have you heard of Dave Ramsey? He has a great budgeting program that is very Christian based. That's what we follow :)

    Stopping by to say thank you so much for linking up with us this week for the GFC Collective, now following you!

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  6. hi Viv! just recently found your blog and it makes me smile! am your newest GFC and nominated you for the Leibster Blogger Award!
    check it out here:
    http://hooplapalooza.blogspot.com/2013/02/awards-night.html
    just copy and paste the leibster award rules to your post and have fun! :>D

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    1. hey Lisa! Thanks for the sweet award! I'm your newest follower too ;-)

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  7. i adore meal planning because me and my hubs try to stick to a budget every month as well! I love aldi, it is my absolute favorite store and i can't beleive the prices!

    If you have an iphone or ipad check out the menu planner app. It is the most amazing app ive ever bought. It saves so much time and you can input prices for everything for multiple stores so you know what you will spend before you even go! seriously, i don't get paid to promote it but i love it so much lol :) if you get it id love to hear and give you tips! http://menu-planner.com/

    happy friday!!

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    1. Hey Carisa! That's a really sweet app! I think I'm going to get it! Anything to make menu planning easier!!

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