Budgeting for Groceries: Planning

I’ve mentioned a few times on here that Daniel and I have been attending Financial Peace University classes offered at our church. Dave Ramsey is a wonderful leader in the financial world, and we’ve really enjoyed learning all of the ins and outs of personal finance.

During the 13 week program, we managed to pay off ALL of my student loans, and we are now DEBT FREE! Praise the Lord!

(Daniel, being debt free is EXCITING!)

One of the biggest factors in managing your money is creating a monthly budget. Money in=money out, and any extras goes towards paying off loans or saving (we’ll post more on this later).

This post will take you through how we plan out our grocery trips (I’m not an avid coupon clipper, so this is just a “basework” plan for saving $ on groceries).

Each month, we allot $200 for groceries. This DOES NOT include toiletries, cleaning supplies, eating out, pet food or snacks that we may bring to group events. Each week, I take $50 to the grocery store (in cash).

Our friends and future-Poland missionaries, Erich and Julie, have started giving out Kroger Gift Cards to friends and family. We load the card with a specified amount of money, and then use that card to purchase groceries and gas from Kroger. Erich and Julie receive 4% of purchases- it’s an easy way to support our missionary friends while maintaining a tight budget!

I take stock of what we have at home in our pantry: rice, beans, unused canned vegetables, etc. I usually spend Sunday afternoons browsing online or flipping through magazines for new menu ideas. Then, I look at our weekly schedule and plan out our meals (depending on who is home, if I have enough time to cook before work, etc).

Here is our menu for this week: January 30-February 5

  1. Sunday: Fragrant Ginger-Chicken Soup
  2. Monday: Vegetarian “Chili” Soup
  3. Tuesday: DIY
  4. Wednesday: Quinoa Pizza (recipe to come!)
  5. Thursday: Tofu, Roasted Potatoes & Turnip Greens
  6. Friday: DIY
  7. Saturday: Date Night or DIY

Each week, I also bake/prepare food on Sundays, so ingredients for those items also get added to the list. Here is an example of “extras” that I make on Sunday:

  1. Dog treats (5 ingredient dog treats or Double “P” Puppy Treats)
  2. Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas (recipe to come!)
  3. Chocolate Fudge Cookies
  4. Pumpkin Butter

For breakfast, Daniel and I both eat oatmeal with a nut-butter and we both drink coffee. For lunches, I try to eat leftovers or I’ll whip up an omlette and veggies. Daniel takes sandwiches (lunchmeat, cheese) or he’ll take leftovers.

I make a shopping list based on what each recipe needs (in addition to what we already have on hand), and I add in anything that we need for breakfasts and lunches.

I organize my shopping list into categories:

  • Produce
  • Frozen/Refrigerated
  • Dried/Canned
  • Bulk
  • Baking Aisle

After filling in each category with the items I need, I look at the grocery ads online to see where the best deals are. 99% of the time, I do all of my shopping at Kroger. Sometimes I’ll go to Meijer or Walmart, but to me, it’s not worth saving $0.20 on a bag of apples when it takes 10 minutes to drive out to that store.

I mentioned before, I don’t really clip coupons. I don’t clip for a few reasons:

  1. We don’t get the paper (I know, we could go purchase one)
  2. We usually buy store-brand items (usually meaning 90% of the time), so coupons often don’t help us out very much

I am going to start checking out the coupon world a little bit more (right now I’ll just check the circulars and do a Google search to see if there are any coupons to print out), but I’ll post about that if I ever actually do it.

As a wrap-up of this novel-of-a-post:

  • we spend $50 a week on groceries
  • we plan out our meals, and I try to find the best deal for each item on our list by checking the circulars
  • I organize my shopping list by department, and I stick to that list
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Budgeting for Groceries: Planning

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