Cole and I love to cook, but we hate grocery shopping. We don’t like having to find the time to go, and we certainly don’t like to spend money. We typically spend at least $150.00 for a week’s groceries. Since we don’t like to go, we skip weeks periodically, which means that we start to run out of food at home and turn to dining out. As I mentioned in a previous post about saving money, dining out is absurdly expensive. Overall, we’re really not doing a great job with food-related finances. With our wedding coming up in August, 2017, we’re desperate to find ways to save money. We’ve decided to document our journey to cheaper grocery bills for y’all. We hope that it will help you guys cut your grocery bills, too. Today, we’re going to talk about how to make a cheap weekly meal plan.
Our goal is to keep our grocery bills around $60.00 a week by using coupons and being smart about sales. We typically shop at Winn Dixie, which is great because we collect gas rewards that lower our transportation costs. We’re probably going to shop around, though, since we have several other grocery options in our area. We’ve been using Winn Dixie because it’s closest and for the fuel perks, but we’ve heard that Aldi can have fantastic deals. Walmart may be a cheaper option as well. We’re not going to include breakfast. Cole usually gets breakfast at work with his employee discount. I don’t usually eat breakfast at all. Lunches are leftovers or snacks, so our main expense in terms of food is dinner.
So how do we get started? Well, first of all, I’m going to look at the sales papers for our local grocery stores. My hope is that building a menu around the sales at a given store will help to give us a lower basic cost that we can then apply coupons to. This week, I looked at sales papers and coupons for Winn Dixie, Aldi’s, and Walmart. There were some promising sales that I think will save us a lot of money! For these sales, I’ve built a cheap weekly meal plan around a few key dishes.
Winn Dixie’s Sales
Winn Dixie had some awesome sales that would really save us some money on our favorite dishes. The first meal on our list this week is a Mississippi Pot Roast, which I have written about previously. Winn Dixie’s sale paper has beef roasts marked down by $2.00 – $3.00 per pound, which is fantastic! Because this dish feeds Cole and I for two or three days, this is a good option for our list this week.
Boneless pork chops are also on sale this week. We can save $2.00 per pound! Pork chops are so easy to cook and you can do so many different things with them. This is a purchase that makes sense for us because we won’t have to buy anything else to go with it. We can season the pork chops really simply using spices that we already have. We also have a ton of macaroni and cheese at home that will make a perfect side.
Other things that are on sale are cream cheese, bread, and sugar, all things that will be really helpful for us. We’ll pick up some boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins. I prefer to get these when they are on sale, but since we’re out, we’ll go ahead and grab a bag. We cook a lot of chicken, especially when it’s on sale. We have a ton of chicken recipes, but this week I think we will make some “crack” chicken (which I wrote about in a recent post) since cream cheese is on sale.
Between the roast, the pork chops, and the “crack” chicken, we have meals enough for five or six days. Since bread is on sale and we almost always have sandwich fixings at home, I’m planning to make the missing dinner or two into sandwich nights.
Aldi’s had sales on ground beef and chicken, which heavily influenced the cheap weekly meal plan outlined here. First, spaghetti is always a cheap meal, and though it’s not one of my absolute favorites, it’s still worth making since it’s so quick and easy. We can also make some cheeseburger bombs, which we wrote about before. As I mentioned above, we have a ton of chicken recipes that are phenomenal and quite easy, so I think that between spaghetti, cheeseburger bombs, and a few of our favorite chicken recipes, we would have five dinners taken care of. The other two days could be leftover days or sandwich days.
At this point in my research, I’m starting to think that we’re going to be grocery store hopping to get the best deals! Even though I always thought this was super inconvenient, it might be worth doing once a week to save the kind of money that I think we might end up saving this way. Aldi’s didn’t seem to have a lot of sales on things we’d need or want aside from meat, so this definitely won’t be a one-stop shopping destination for us.
Surprisingly, Walmart didn’t have any sales or coupons that were of interest to us. I guess we’ll stick with Winn Dixie and Aldi for this week!
Final Cheap Weekly Meal Plan
So, now that we’ve looked at the different sales options, I think we can narrow down our cheap weekly meal plan a little bit more. Here’s our final plan for this week.
From Aldi, we’ll get ground beef. Apparently, they have a sale going on for ground beef in five pound batches for $1.79 per pound. In other words, we’ll spend $8.95 at Aldi. When we get the ground beef home, I’ll go ahead and separate it into approximately one-pound chunks and we will be able to use this for about two weeks. This week, we’ll make spaghetti and cheeseburger bombs. These two dishes should both have leftovers, so I can take spaghetti to lunch and we can have cheeseburger bombs for two days.
From Winn Dixie, we’ll get boneless pork chops, which are currently $3.99 per pound. Unfortunately, Winn Dixie doesn’t have as much information available online, so I’m not really sure how many pounds each package is. Either way, we’ll be getting one package of four pork chops. We’ll make some of the macaroni and cheese that we have at home to accompany it, and that’ll be one dinner. We’ll probably also get a pack of boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins for about $10.00, which we will use to make “crack” chicken (which feeds us for at least two days).
That leaves us an estimated $30.00 to spend on other things, like bread and cream cheese. We’ll go to the store tomorrow, so this will be a bit of a short week. I’m hoping that some of the purchases we make this week will last into next week, so we’ll see! We’ll post an update after we go shopping to talk about how much we spent, what we got, and what our finalized meal plan ended up being.
Wish us luck!