By Jenny Jiménez on October 8, 2018
Hello ladies! What a crazy day it’s been, and it’s only Monday, ha! I wanted my first blog to be something helpful and practical that you could use, so I’m going to show you today how I meal plan and do my grocery shopping. Most people have their own way of doing this but as a single mother living on a single income, I’ve found that this method works well for me and my family. Working outside of the home at a fulltime job and managing my home solo makes me aware of the very very very little time we single moms have to get things done.
MENU AND GROCERY LIST
First things first, I like to write out my menu and grocery list on Wednesdays. I usually do this during my lunch break or when I have a few minutes to think about it. Since we have a limited amount of time on weekends with our kids, I find that unlike others who recommend you do this on a weekend, I prefer not to. I want my weekends to rest and for spending quality time with the kids and family. I’ll give some suggestions on that in a future post.
I like to theme my menus. For instance if it’s a chicken week, my menu may look something like this.
I found this calendar that I use for my weekly menu at Christmas Tree Shoppes for $1.99 if I recall.
Children hate the word leftovers so the goal is to make different meals that consist of some of the same ingredients. I mean who doesn’t love getting the most of their time and money. After all, I have teenagers at home who love to eat (I do too but we’ll keep that between us ;))
I don’t always theme my menus but if I know it’s going to be a crazy week then I find that doing this saves a ton of time. After my menu I write out the shopping list. Since I’m doing this during the workday most of this is by memory of the ingredients I think I have and may need. I’ll take a few minutes to look through the pantry and fridge when I get home and make some adjustments as needed.
This is a weekly menu with shopping list that I created to keep me organized and on budget each week.
FREE printable link below!
This is an example of my menu and shopping list this week
Be sure to also include the prices of your grocery items as I did in the completed list above. At least what you can remember. It’s important to write down the prices on the grocery lists because it’s going to help as you budget your grocery allowance. Get into the habit of looking at prices if you don’t already. If I don’t know the price of an item, I give a good guestimate, usually on the conservative side. For example if I think a green pepper might be between $1-2, I’ll write it out as $2 (the higher amount on my list). This way you’re not going over budget. I like to know what I’m working with. This is also a good idea because if you ever see an item on sale that is really marked down, you can always stock up on it.
GROCERY SHOPPING AND MEAL PREP
You’ll notice that I did not have to include pasta, spaghetti sauce and shredded cheese to my shopping list. This is because I like to stock up on some items when I see them on sale for a really good price. Every once in a while I’ll find shredded cheese for $1.25 for a 2cup/16oz bag (the standard size). When this is the case I buy several bags and freeze some of them. By several I mean 20 bags. I also do this with the spaghetti sauce and pasta… beans and tomato sauce too! I live by a Wegmans and this time of year their pasta boxes go on sale for $0.79 and the spaghetti sauce for $0.99. I’ll usually buy around 20 boxes of pasta (spaghetti, ziti, penne, etc.) and around 35-40 jars of sauce (tomato/basil, marinara, meat, parmesan and romano, etc.). I’ll use the marinara sauce for dipping mozzarella cheese sticks in or when making meatball hoagies or pizza, such as my naan bread pizza in my menu above.
I budgeted $75 to shop but only spent $53.23. Since I’ll have enough money left over after my grocery shopping, I would most likely take $10 or $15 and put it aside for when I shop in bulk or great sales, like with the cheese or pasta.
So, just to review, I write out my menu and shopping lists on Wednesdays then go shopping on Saturday and meal prep either on Saturday or Sunday. It really depends on how busy my day on Saturday is. The reason I prefer to go grocery shopping on Saturday is because super markets are crazy on Sundays. That’s when a lot of people go grocery shopping and I really don’t like going grocery shopping and feeling like I’m in a Black Friday sale, and afraid I’m going to get run over. It’s better for my sanity. My workweek is stressful enough and I want this errand to be as stress-free as possible.
One more thing, remember the goal is to only shop once per week. Even if something runs out, you’ll have to make due until next week’s shopping.
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Oh, don’t forget to click here to download a FREE printable copy of my Menu/Shopping List above so you’re prepared for your next shopping trip! You’ll just need to subscribe with your email to download.
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