Menu Plan Monday & Grocery Budgeting

I always love seeing how different people budget and what things cost in different places, so I figured I would add in a budgeting/grocery shopping component to Menu Plan Monday this week.

Our weekly grocery budget is $100 for two people in a high cost of living area (eating out is a different category, though we eat in for most supper and bring our lunches to work). We eat only humane meat and eggs, local as much as possible. All processed meat is nitrate free. Fruit and veggies are local and in season as much as possible. I do a lot of canning and freezing in the summer and fall to accomplish this. I homemake ketchup, taco seasoning, chocolate syrup, and cereal bars to avoid processing. For the things in the store that we buy that are not "fresh" I do my best to avoid weird sounding preservatives and high fructose corn syrup. We eat enough sugar that we don't need to be adding more into our diets hidden in bread, salad dressing, etc.

I menu plan. This is definitely the biggest way we save money on groceries. We only buy what we need to eat for the week and basic pantry items that we will always keep on hand. Our fridge is nice and full at the beginning of the week and nice and empty at the end. I grew up in a house that always had an overstocked fridge and it stresses me out when it is too full. I do  however make sure we always have some quick go-to items in the freezer and/or pantry so that we are never without food in an emergency, or just when I don't feel like cooking.

As I said, I try to get as much as we can locally from the farmer's market (veggies) and/or the dairy (cheese, meat). They both tend to be expensive so I try to stagger these orders so that they don't fall on the same week. This week I went to the farmer's market and next week I will have a dairy order. The dairy delivers but has a $5 delivery fee so I stock up on that order and try to aim for once a month or so.

Also, notice that the groceries do not fully line up to the menu. A LOT of what is on the menu is made from stuff we keep on hand all the time. I know the good prices for things and stock up on them when they are on sale and then just supplement with fresh produce and other small things as required. Things like bread, English muffins and deli meat are bought way in bulk when on sale and we have a giant stash in the deep freeze.

Our grocery store has a website and app that allows us to load coupons onto the savings card and they do special deals weekly for us that are aimed directly at us based on our past purchases. This also lets us add on any of the regular sales that they have that you need the card for. Oh! And there are often personalized deals and store sales that can be stacked! I go through the app the night before or morning of our grocery trip (Sundays!) and make sure to add things, see what's on sale, etc.

This week we got the following:

Farmer's Market

(15) bell peppers for freezing: .50 each, $7.50 (a wicked good deal- peppers are usually 1.25-1.50 each at the grocery store)
(1) butternut squash: $3.00 (for supper next week)
1/2 peck of golden delicious apples (ends up around 13): $8
1/2 peck of Jonagold apples (again, around 13 apples): $8
1 bag (maybe around a pound) of spinach: $3
Farmer's Market total: $29


I splurged and got a coffee (decaf because I wanted a venti) to enjoy while getting an oil change and grocery shopping. Usually this would go in our "entertainment" budget as eating out but that category tends to go over so I figured I would add this in to the grocery budget this week.
Starbucks venti salted caramel mocha latte: $5

Safeway (our grocery store)

(1) Kashi garlic pesto crackers: 3.49 (I don't usually eat crackers but have been dashing to the kitchen at work after lunch for salty and ending up with potato chips.. I wanted to bring a better alternative)
(1) Safeway ground cinnamon: 3.00
(1) Cap'n Crunch (18.7 oz): 4.29 (um embarrassing, but I have been in love with the Cap'n since second trimester.. the ingredients are overall not that bad I guess..)
Organic limeade juice: 3.49 -2.02 personalized coupon: 1.47
(4) 15 oz cans Libby pumpkin puree: 9.16- 3.20 card savings: 5.96
(1) Swanson chicken broth (32 oz): 3.19-.69 card savings-.63 personalized savings: 1.87
(1) Olive Garden Italian dressing: 3.99-1.50 card savings: 2.49
(1) pack of 12 cheddar cheese sticks: 3.99
(1) gallon skim milk: 3.99
(1) Dannon plain fat free Greek yogurt (32 oz): 4.99
(1) Claussen dill pickle spears: 3.79
(1) 12-pack Yoplait strawberry/banana yogurt: 5.99-1.72 card savings-.50 personalized savings: 3.77
(1) 18 cage free eggs: 4.99-1.00 card savings: 3.99
(1) 4-pack Chobani bites coffee/dark chocolate Greek yogurt: 2.99-.49 card savings-.37 personalized savings: 2.13
(1) 50 cookie pack store baked chocolate chip cookies: 9.99-4.99 card savings: 5.00 (These are for John's lunches. I used to make all his cookies and freeze them but I got so sick of it. A 50 cookie pack lasts him 2 weeks and for $2.50 a week he gets big cookies that he likes that are less processed/preserved than the Chips Ahoy or Oreos that he used to get. Also, these are 100% of the time on "sale" for $5.)
(1) 12 oz pack of uncured/nitrate/preservative free bacon: 5.99
(12) bananas (4.54 lb @ .69/lb): 3.13
Safeway grocery total: $64.33

Total Weekly Grocery Budget Spent: $98.33

So the menu for the week:

Something green- beans?

Mashed garlic cauliflower with grilled old bay shrimp and bacon
Spinach sautéed with garlic and mushrooms

Left over pot pies

Veggie stir fry (onion, pepper, broccoli, carrots, noodles)

Homemade pizza

(These are the same thing for each of us all week long. I make mine on Sundays so I can grab and go in the morning.)

Breakfast in the car- Cheese stick
Breakfast at work- Plain Greek yogurt with honey & frozen strawberries
Morning snack- Apple
Baby carrots
Afternoon snack- Banana with peanut butter and a few chocolate chips ;)

Breakfast- homemade egg sandwich with sausage, egg and cheese on an English muffin
Homemade cereal bar
Home canned fruit cup
Ham/turkey and cheese sandwich
3 cookies (!)
Afternoon snack at home- Yoplait yogurt and maybe more cookies

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