Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Saving Money On Groceries-Planning A Menu

This is the first post in a series geared towards saving you money at the grocery store.

It's no secret that food prices have been going up, while packaging sizes have been going down in just  the last few months.

So, what can you do? Not all is hopeless. All it takes is a little planning and creativity.

  • Plan Your Menu
    • This does take some time, but it saves a lot of money. By having a set menu for the week, you won't be as tempted to impulse buy at the grocery store. In addition, it's healthier, saving you from those 7pm drive-thru runs because you forgot to defrost. 
  •  Cook Once, Eat Twice
    • One of my favorite budget friendly tips is roasting a whole chicken, and using the meat for at least 2-3 unique meals. Don't be scared. Leftovers don't have to be "leftovery."
  • Implement Simple, Fresh Ingredients On Sale
    • Make simple side dishes. Find the vegetables on sale that week, and use them for every meal. There are usually enough veggies on sale every week that you won't get bored.
Need some examples?
Let's just say the following ingredients are on sale: 2 whole chickens, carrots, zucchini, 1 lb ground beef, pasta, lettuce, canned tomatoes. These will be your staples.

Day 1: Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches with Homemade Fries and Carrot Sticks (recipe to come)
Day 2: Chicken and Rice Casserole with Steamed Carrots (using leftover chicken)
Day 3: BBQ Chicken Pizza with Green Salad (using leftover chicken)
Day 4: Spaghetti and Meatballs with Green Salad
Day 5: Meatball Calzones with Roasted Zucchini (using leftover meatballs)
Day 6: Minestrone Soup with French Bread (this is our favorite soup, using all the extra veggies from the week!)

As long as your staples are cheap, you will be able to make a great menu for not a lot of money. It's all about being flexible with your menu, and being willing to implement as many fresh, on sale ingredients as possible.

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