Monday, August 1, 2011

Meal Planning/Budgeting

It's been a really, really long time since I've talked about meal planning/budgeting here on my blog. It's time I remedied that. Especially as I'm needing to cut my food budget yet again. I just can't stand the rising cost of food anymore. Can you believe how much items are costing now? Whew!

Luckily, it's that time of the year when I can visit one of the local farmer's stands and get some good deals on produce. I don't know what I'll do when the season ends. (But I say that every year.) I stopped by one today on my way home and bought two bags of new potatoes for $2 each. Each bag was two pounds. I just weighed them. I also bought a bunch of onions. Three good sized ones for a total weight of one pound. I paid $1.50 for them. Now, the onions are just a bit more expensive than I could have gotten on sale, but they taste great! We don't have potatoes on sale this week at the grocery store, so a 10 pound bag is $4.99. I didn't do so well here as my four pounds of new potatoes were $4 total. But I'm ok with that. I love these new potatoes and I can't buy new potatoes at the grocery store right now. I wanted to buy some green beans too, but they were out. I am meeting up with the farmer's wife tomorrow, so she's going to bring me a few pounds of them. They are $1.50 a pound.

I broke out the grocery sale ad a bit ago and browsed through to see what's a good deal this week. Here's what I found:
Solid Whole in Cryovac Pork Loins are $1.69 a lb.. (This is the only way I buy these pork loins. I like them to be a bit cheaper, but honestly...I don't know if they'll go any cheaper than this. So, I will be buying one of them. I have at least two lean pork roasts out of this plus a lot of boneless chops. I have my butcher slice it up for me. It's free to do so.)
26 oz. Can Hunts Pasta Sauce is 99 cents.
24 oz. Best Choice Cottage Cheese is $1.99.
7.5 oz. Always Save Biscuits is 39 cents.
4 lb. bag of Best Choice Sugar is $1.89. (This is cheap compared to normal prices)
24 rolls of Always Save Bath Tissue is $4.69. (This is over $1 off normal price)
Always Save Saltine Crackers are 89 cents.
Roma Tomatoes are 79 cents per pound.
1 lb. Colorado Carrots are 59 cents.
10 lb. tube of Ground Chuck is $18.90 ($1.89 per pound) (I don't know about this. I prefer leaner ground beef, but honestly...for around here, this is a good price. Plus I could get 10 individual portions of 1 lb. each out of this tube. I would like to stretch my dollar and actually cut it down to 3/4 of a lb. portions.)
10 lb. bag of Frying Chicken Leg Quarters are 59 cents per pound. (I plan to buy at least one of these bags. Hopefully, I can afford to buy a second or a third as well. I portion these out into gallon sized freezer bags with a dump chicken marinade.)
Cook's Supertrim Bone-In Shank Ham Portion is $1.29 per pound. (I would like to buy one or two of these too. At holiday time last year, the cheapest I could find a bone-in ham was $1.59 per pound. I would like to get one whole one and one to be sliced into ham steaks and then I have the end portions for soups and beans.)
**With the purchase of all this meat...the pork loin, the tube of ground chuck, two bags of chicken, and two hams, I would have a LOT of meat in the freezer and would need to do minimal shopping for these items the rest of the month. Here is my estimated cost for these meat items:
Pork Loin (usually around 12 lbs.) $19.08
Ground Chuck (10 lbs.) $18.90
Chicken Leg Quarters (10 lb. bags) $5.90 x 2 = $11.80
Bone-In Hams (estimated at 8 lbs.) $10.32 x 2 = $20.64
Total Cost for Meat (56 lbs of meat) is $70.42 or $1.2575 per pound.

Now, I know I need toliet paper. With two bathrooms and five people, there's never enough of it. So, I will buy 4 packages of it for a total cost of $18.76.
I still have 6 jars of pasta sauce in my pantry, so I don't need that right now. But, if I have any money left over, I might buy 2 of them for stocking purposes. I like to have at least 8 to 10 jars/cans of pasta sauce in my pantry at all times. Total Cost $1.98.
My guys love cottage cheese. So I will buy two of these. Total Cost $3.98.
I hate making homemade biscuits. I also don't have any in the refrigerator. So I will get 8 cans of these for a cost of $3.12.
1 bag of sugar. $1.89.
4 boxes of saltine crackers for a total of $3.56.
Roma Tomatoes 1 lb. at 79 cents.
Carrots 2 lbs total $1.18.
TOTAL GROCERY COST $105.68 plus tax. That's under my budget of $150.00 for the week. (Yes, I know that's a fairly good sized budget amount, but honestly, I've been spending more than $250 a week these past few months.) I will still have money left over for bread and milk and several heads of lettuce for salads. I would also like to purchase a small canister of de-caf coffee for Big Daddy too. I'll let you know if I can swing it.

Now, what meals will I make? Hmmm....there's a huge range of choices with the purchase of all this meat. But, I won't use all of it. Seriously. :) Here's my meal plan for a week's worth of dinner's:
Baked Chicken Leg Quarters with Roasted Potatoes and Onions, Peas (from freezer), Salad *Roast 2 extra quarters for the Chicken and Cheese Quesadillas*
Goulash (made with elbow macaroni and pasta sauce from pantry, a lb. of ground chuck), Salad
Baked Boneless Pork Chops with oven fried potatoes, onions and carrots, Salad
Leftover Night (leftover taco makings made into a burrito casserole and baked in the oven)
Chicken and Cheese Quesadillas with carrot sticks and ranch dressing
Fried Egg Sandwiches or Salad Night with boiled eggs. It depends on the kids and if they protest any over the sandwiches...Small T does not eat sandwiches.
Baked Pasta (the leftover Goulash will be used here. I will add cheese and also extra sauce if necessary.) Homemade Garlic Bread (using part of a loaf of bread) and a Salad


  1. Fabulous post Shelly! I really enjoyed seeing how you broke it all down. Good Job on the savings!

  2. Boy I must say your food prices are way cheaper than ours. I can spend $100 at the store for one person, being very careful, on not very much. I will have to write down some prices next time I shop so you can compare. Everything is so expensive I don't want to remember them. Bananas are about $6 per lb. I haven't had one in many months,.

  3. Honestly, prices here have doubled and in some cases, tripled in the last year or two. It's horrible for our area. We're not used to paying so much money out for food. Bananas are like 69 cents a pound here. I will check for sure next time I'm at the store. I don't buy them unless they are cheaper. The cheapest loaf of bread is $1.19. If I buy the kind we like, it's anywhere from $1.98 to $3.69 per loaf. I can't afford that with a big family. I look forward to seeing some of your prices.