I love big Sunday dinners. So, I plan big Sunday dinners, then use the leftovers to make a meal or two for that week. Also, every week I like to make a pasta, chicken, fish, meat, veggie, and quick,simple meal. I write down on a calendar 4 different big Sunday dinners for that month(sometimes 5). Then I fill in the rest of the days according to leftovers and variety.
Sunday: Roast, mashed potatoes, carrots, salad, cornbread, chocolate cake
Monday: BBQ chicken, baked beans, corn, biscuits
Tuesday: Spaghetti with meat sauce, salad, garlic bread
Wednesday: (leave for church early-so it's a quick and easy meal)- Shepherds Pie , made from left over roast, mixed veggies, beef gravy, leftover mashed potatoes.
Thursday: Pecan crusted Salmon, rice, carrots, crescents drizzled with honey, salad
Saturday: Leftovers, Gramma's house, or out to eat/sandwiches
**left over roast was also used for lunch- roast beef sandwiches.
I am not a big grocery/pantry list keeper. I have to be very frugal with our money. Grocery is an easy area to go overboard. Many things can get wasted or even spoil just because we want to "stock" the pantry, fridge and freezer. My suggestion, if you are trying to save money, is to not overstock.
Coupons and More....
When I first started grocery shopping I used coupons like my Mom did. Then it seemed like only the too expensive items had coupons and it never evened out. So I would buy store brand. But now I figured out a system that works with coupons, store brand, and specialty stores. I used to cut out coupons from that Sundays paper of what I needed for the next week or two. Then I noticed that those items in the coupon ad from 2 weeks ago was on sale now, but if I had only kept the coupons! First, I bought a binder with clear sheet protectors. Every Sunday, I would save the whole coupon circular. There is Red Plum and Smart Source, occasionally Proctor and Gamble. When the store ads came out I would compare and plan meals. Also, Wal-mart will honor the competitors prices if you show them the product and the ad. As a note, I only shop at Wal-mart during early morning hours. When kids get on the bus, I leave. Its less crowded and less stressful! My regular shopping stores are Wal-mart and Aldi. Aldi was not my favorite at first, but I kept going back because many items and prices are just too good to pass up. Aldi doesn't sack their groceries. But, for me, that's okay. I used "green" reusable grocery bags anyway and love it. My first and favorite kind are from Walgreens for only $.99. And they are the sturdiest. I pack mine full! Then Aldi sells very large bags that I put my boxed, lighter weight items in. They are easy to carry in the house, because I put a few over my shoulder like a purse. An it takes less trips back and forth from the van.
A useful tip: at Wal-mart, organize items in your cart as if thinking about where you will put them on the checkout belt. Don't just throw things in the cart. At checkout, put the items on the belt thinking about the best way to sack them together. I keep the little things for last because I can put those on the top of the not-so-full-to-the-top bags.
* I am NOT an extreme couponer! I feel like we don't need to stock up on junk, or overstock on things others might need. If you have an overstock, please consider donating it to a food pantry for the needy. I do stock up on what we need, just a few items, but I will not try to buy all the item in stock. I am also very careful with the time i spend on searching for coupons so it will not get in the way of my time with God and family.
Plan, Plan, Plan!!
1. Make a list of meals for the next week using only what you have in your pantry. You may be surprised at how many meals you can find to make! If you do it this way then when you go shopping , you only have to worry about buying sale items and good deals.
2. Only buy what you need for the next week. Just because you are out of something doesn't mean you have to buy it that week! Write it down on a running list to know that you are out of that item and buy when it is needed for a recipe.
3. Plan a large meal and use the leftovers to make one or two other meals. I have examples on my Routines and Planning page, under meal planning made easy.
If money is very tight then please consider organizations like Angel Food Ministries or your local food bank.
3. Go to a butcher to buy meat in bulk. We have a town nearby that will sell a meat package for a $100.00 and it will last for a long time, I promise!! Well, unless your teenage son has friends over and decides to grill 20 steaks! (And yes, they would eat them all!)
My Freezer Meal Menu
List making: when you are used to you favorite grocery stores layout, write your grocery list according to aisles and departments. I put all my coupons in an envelope. Then I write my list on an index card. One side is non-grocery items in order of aisle. The other side is grocery items(written very small) by aisle. I tape this to the envelope. I started this because by the time I was at the check out after shopping with five boys, I forgot about the coupons and I was ready for my donut and Starbucks.(I sometimes treated myself to an eclair and a Decaf Venti Nonfat Mocha from Starbucks! After shopping with five boys, I thought I deserved it! )
Kids and Shopping: *If you are able to send your children to a mothers day out or a sitter while you shop, I highly suggest this so you will not have distractions. I take my kids everywhere with me. But I don't send my children to Mother's Day Out programs. People can't believe I want to take them everywhere with me! But I LOVE my boys. This is just my personal opinion about how I am raising my children, but I feel like if I wanted to have many children then I should want to take care of them and take them everywhere. And teach them life lessons as we go. The Bible says to teach them wherever you go. My boys are not perfect at all at the grocery store and they have melt downs. But, hey, us adults do too sometimes! This is where the Lord really tests my patience. Sadly, patience is very hard for me,though. I started a few things to keep the kids occupied. If I go to Wal-mart I use a Sams Club shopping cart(it's next door). The two little guys sit in the cart and the others help. For the Little Guys I made their own shopping lists. I bought small(hand size) spiral index cards in a holder, cut or printed out my usual grocery items, pasted them on a card, wrote the word and highlighted the first letter. If you paste in order of aisle, then they can find the item faster. Or you could paste alphabetically. I have both. They have something to use to follow along and color in. For the older kids, have them copy the grocery list on a card for themsleves. They can follow along to help find the item. Or you could make up a game to find the next item. To be quite honest, I go through the store so fast so I can get out of there quickly, that the older ones don't play many games. They just see who can find the item before Mom! Another ideas: give each child 50 cents, in dimes and nickels. If they disobey in the store, have them give you a nickel or a dime. Whatever money they have leftover they are able to use in the gum or trinket machines before leaving the store.
Or if all else fails, call a babysitter!
"She is like merchant ships:she brings her food from afar....and gives food to her household....she looks well to the ways of her household."