it's seems yall are always interested when i post my recipes. <--yayyy!!!
so i thought it would be okay to devote a whole post to meal planning and grocery shopping.
i know everyone is different when it comes to meal planning and grocery shopping.
some people fly by the seat of their pants, some people plan weekly, and some people plan monthly. <--yes monthly.
we are one of those families that plan our meals monthly.
in doing so, we also shop monthly. <--i know, but it totally works for us.
here's what we do:
around the 30th or so, i ask all of the family members what they would like to eat for the month.
the kids almost always say the same things: mac & cheese, alfredo, & pizza.
hubby & i generally mix things up according to the month, the season or if we're expecting guests.
after i get everyone's input, i sit down and plan out the meals for every day in the month.
it might sound a little daunting, but it generally only takes me an hour or so and then i'm done planning - for a whole month!!! <--it makes my life SO much easier.
like most families we have "special" nights.
example: pizza night, taco night, etc.
take us for instance, we have mexican night every tuesday and italian night every thursday.
and the trick to not getting bored is that i alternate within that theme.
one mexican night we'll have tacos while another mexican night we'll have mexican gumbo.
i think that by having these "special" nights, it helps plan our meals.
while planning the menu, i always leave one "open" slot per week.
this bodes well for having a "leftover" night or a night to go out to eat.
so with all that being said, if you take out all the "special" nights and "open" nights, the meal planning is easier.
obviously other things contribute to my meal planning.
things like holidays, guest request, sports banquets, etc.
on top of our main meals, i have to consider breakfast & lunch foods as well as snacks. <--sometimes even desserts :)
to me, this is super easy planning because i know what my family consumes at these times so i just add these items to my shopping list.
keep in mind that summer time requires a bit more planning because we have extra mouths home from school.
and on top of all that, i have to consider things that we buy & need on a monthly basis.
things like tea bags, flour, sugar, etc.
note: i don't buy certain staples for the whole month.
things like milk, eggs & bread.
there's NO way i could store a month's worth of milk at our house. <--not gonna happen. lol.
and everyone wants fresh bread. and fresh eggs.
so even though we do a big shopping trip once a month, we'll stop and grab something here or there as needed.
so after all that planning, i make my shopping list.
we shop at few different stores. <--again, it sounds like a pain, but we save LOTS of money by doing so.
another thing that i do is add a few items to the list to make up an extra meal or two.
i really like having extra meals just in case. cause you never know.
instances these meals are used for: a friend is in need, no leftovers, it's not in the budget for going out to dinner, the church is having a potluck, etc.
we get all of our meats directly from our local butcher.
i highly encourage all of yall to look into finding a local butcher.
not only are all the meats WAY fresher, but they generally have better prices, better cuts, and better selection.
we generally get the remainder of our grocery list from walmart.
after years of comparing prices with our local grocery stores, walmart almost always has the best price. <--and this is name brand stuff.
oh and obviously if it's summer time, we'll get fresh produce from local farmers &/or produce stands.
after shopping for our monthly groceries, we come home and divvy up our goods.
example: we'll buy 10lbs of ground chuck, so we'll come home and divide it into "meal" portions and place them into freezer ziploc bags.
we also have a section in our basement where we store canned goods and extra groceries that won't fit in our kitchen pantry.
it sounds like alot of work, which i guess in hindsight, it is.
BUT at the end of the day . . .
the planning takes about an hour, the shopping takes a few hours, the storage takes about an hour, and then i'm done. <--for a whole month.
and as yall can see, i write the weekly menu on our kitchen dry erase board.
i know someone will ask, so here's the monthly food budget for our family of 6:
@$75-$150 at the butcher, depending on our choices. <--things like roasts, ribs & steaks quickly change our total. lol.
@$300-$400 at walmart, depending on our choices.
@$100 for here & there shopping. <--extra milk, bread, eggs &/or emergency sweet tooth attacks.
so how do yall do your meal planning and grocery shopping?!?!
inquiring minds want to know.