I carry a calculator at the grocery store

That’s right, I’m one of those nerds.  I add up everything I put in my cart. I run a tight budget in this house and those grocery trips can rack up if I’m not careful to keep track of my tab. Nothing is worse than hitting the checkout stand and paying 50 dollars more than I budgeted for…

I also plan ahead what we will be eating for the next 2 weeks for meals and write down exactly what we’ll need for them.  That way I’m not making trips to the store several days a week for a just few ingredients which of course turns into more than just those few ingredients…and makes me go way over budget. 

I highly recommend this method to anyone else who is eager to cut expenses.   I do a big grocery run about every two weeks and usually just go to get fresh produce the weeks between.  It took a bit to be disciplined about not running out for one ingredient I missed, or get something I ran out of. But making and keeping that rule for myself saves on gas to the store, money I spend on the other things I decide we “need” spur of the moment, and time (that is better used doing chores, going to the park , ect., ect.).  I’ve tried a number of things in the few years since I began running a home and this has proved to work the best.

And really there is nothing worse than hitting that 4:00 afternoon hour and realizing that I have no idea what I’m giong to do for dinner or whats in my pantry.  At that point I’ve still got 50 other things that need to get done before I hit the dinner table.  It’s awesome to just take a glance at the fridge and get the prep out without having to think about it. I’ve got so many things going on at the end of the day (picking up, vacuuming,  bathing the boys, lunch for the hubs the next day…) the less I have to think the better!

Recently I’ve simplified my menu making process.  The less time I have to sit and process through two weeks of meals the better.  As you can imagine, it has at times, been quite time-consuming.  I’ve taken every day of the week and assigned a  certain type of food to it.  I’ve tried this before with the same meal vs. type of meal and we got a little sick of eating the same thing so often.  So I’m hoping that this will be enjoyable and easy to stick with.  Here’s what I came up with:

  • Mondays: Breakfast for dinner (pancakes, scrambles, quiches, french toast…)
  • Tuesdays: Pizza ( BBQ, Alfredo, Hawaiian, mediterranean…)
  • Wednesday: Sandwich (Chicken breast, French Dip, Cheeseburger, Grilled Ham and cheese…)
  • Thursday: Mexican (Tostadas, enchiladas, tacos, soft tacos, nachos…)
  • Friday: Big Salad (Fruity walnut, Caesar, Chinese…-these always have meat in them)
  • Saturday: Pasta (spaghetti, alfredo, lasagna, mac n cheese…)
  • Sunday: Bible study potluck, BBQ, or whatever other fun recipe I come across…

The boys and I always have muffins and bananas for breakfast.  One big baking day every other week and I don’t have to worry about making something for them at the crack of dawn each day!  I always switch up the kinds.  Triple or quadruple the recipes, and freeze half of them so they keep longer and lessen the frequency of my muffin making days.  We usually have cereal on hand and my hubs is a breakfast fan, so there are some days those boys get to have a second breakfast of eggs and bacon when dad gets up. 🙂

Lunch is usually bean and cheese burritos for the boys.  The boys love them and they are easy and affordable.  I make my own refied beans we usually always have them on hand.  Put some of those with shreaded cheese in a tortilla, roll it up, microwave and it’s ready.  One of my favorite lunches is cheese, crackers and fruit- although I’ll also end up eating leftovers.  I’ll get creative for my man and make tuna, or chili cheese dogs, nachos, leftovers…

I know I have a few readers that are interested in this, the others of you: I hope you didn’t get to bored learning a bit about this aspect of my job.   🙂

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