Alrighty friends, who’s with me?! I’m done hoarding, wasting, and overbuying all the things – especially when it comes to our groceries.
As you guys know, a couple of years ago, we talked about how we were spending $800 per month on groceries to feed a family of four. Then last year, we started doing a number of things and got our monthly grocery budget down to $300. I know, it’s intense. Unbelievable to some, but we did it. And we shared how, what, and why in this blog post.
And then came 2020 and Covid-19 hit and this all went down the drain, and everything went out the window. I never got really aggressive in buying in bulk, but I definitely was planning for three weeks at a time, and well, I wasn’t planning at all. And like most of us, I was just grabbing whatever was available at the stores and figuring out our meals as I went.
And the funny thing is when buying these excessive groceries, I still felt like we had no food in the house when I went to make a meal, and the amount we were spending on groceries had doubled, if not tripled. The only thing that had changed in our lifestyle when it came to food is that the boys were now eating breakfast and lunch three more days a week at home. Twelve more meals a month should not have doubled our monthly spending.
We have also been wasting so much food lately because we are trying to eat up the next thing before it expires, and then our leftovers just get tossed out as they go bad. Unlike before, when we planned week by week, we ate what we had before we bought more.
So now I’m jumping back on the bandwagon, and I want to challenge you all to join me in getting our grocery bill and waste down…let’s do this! Make sure you’re following along on our Instagram stories as well as subscribe to our YouTube Channel, where we’ll share this journey and strategies for you all over this next month.
This will also be a true challenge since our kids are now home full time, restaurants are closed, we’re not getting takeout, and we’re 100% eating all of our meals at home to feed a family of four. We also live in the country, so delivery isn’t an option.
I know we all have different family sizes, ages that consume different amounts, and diet restrictions. Your total monthly spending is going to look different than ours, and that is ok. This challenge is to challenge yourself in cutting back from whatever you are currently spending. That might be cutting it by a few dollars or a few hundred dollars. But I know that by doing what we’re about to share with you, you will be able to save a significant amount if you do it.
Clear out the Clutter
First, you need to clear out the clutter, clear out your pantry, eat things up…and when was the last time you looked at the expiration dates on everything? This is the first thing we did when we started to take things seriously and look at all of these spices that were expired. It made me kinda sick to my stomach. We now have a different way of organizing our spices, so we can actually use what we have and also not buy the same spice we already have. You can find our kitchen cabinetry organization post here and how we now have our spices organized.
We have only three drawers in our house where we store food. One drawer has our meal bins, the other is for “extras,” can goods, etc., and the third is for the kids’ food and snacks.
But when the coronavirus came through, we cleared out our lazy susan as well as another drawer and loaded it up with food. And honestly, this gave me so much anxiety. I don’t like extra “stuff” in our house, and that goes for food too.
Start by clearing out your food supply, get organized, get creative, and eat up what you have before you start to plan out your next shopping trip. This will also help you stay focused over this month.
Create a Designated Meal Prep Area
Next, find a designated space where you’ll put your daily meals for the next week. For us, that’s a drawer with five meal bins.
Over this next month, you are only going to buy for 7-10 meals at a time, plus breakfast and lunches. When you get home from the grocery store, your next 5-10 ingredients for those meals go right into their station. This also eases stress and anxiety when breakfast, lunch, or dinner rolls around, and you, your kids, roomies, or significant others are wondering what’s for dinner?! They have it all right there. And can even get to work on making the recipe themselves! If it’s a new recipe, I’ll also already have the recipe card in the bin with the ingredients as well.
Before you start meal prepping and planning, make sure you have your designated area for your upcoming week’s meals, whether that’s in your pantry, on a shelf, or in a drawer. We even used a label maker and have the days of the week for each bin on the front of the drawer.
Plan Week One
Then, let’s get your next week planned out. If you are using up items you already have, take a look around and combine the ingredients you need to make whatever recipe and put it in your meal bin/prep area. Then fill the remaining days with other menu items.
Here’s a picture of our simple menu for the next 10 days. I planned for seven dinner recipes. I looked around for what we already had to make these recipes, then for the rest, I went and bought the remaining ingredients and spent a whopping total of $123.05
This also included eggs, turkey bacon, bread, fruit, macaroni & cheese, and I even got three cases of donuts (for my prego cravings)…minimal things for breakfast, lunches, and snacks for the family for the week.
Once you have your menu for the week, it’s time to make your grocery list.
Only Buy What you Need
Now…you can only buy what’s on your list! Do not go rogue and buy random ingredients that you think you might eat and won’t. Stick to what you need for your meals only for this next upcoming week.
One of the big things we did when we cut our grocery bill so significantly was food delivery, but that’s not available for us right now with Covid-19 and living in the country. So it’s even more important for us to stay focused and only buy what’s on our list if we truly want to cut our budget down.
Today, as you are starting this challenge, if you know what you spent in groceries over the last month, I want you to find that number and write it down. If you don’t, that’s ok too, as I don’t.
But as you move forward today, I want you to follow the steps above and keep your receipts. Then once this month is up, you can move onto the next month and compare. I think just being consciously aware of what you’re spending helps you to think a bit deeper on ways to cut back.
Last night was my first shopping trip. May 13, 2020, and I spent $123.05. Any other trip, big or small, I’ll keep my receipts, and I can’t wait to see what my grand total is June 13.
More tips, strategies, and support to come here at c2s! I can’t wait to see what you all do, and I know this will have you shave a few bucks off your grocery bill if you take it seriously, I bet a few hundred bucks. Let’s do this!
Recipes we Love and Eat Regularly
And here are some of our favorite recipes we regularly eat, if you’re looking for some new ideas! We’ll share more over this month to come as well.
- Uncle Frank’s Stir Fry
- The Guest House Bran Muffins
- Sweet n Sour Chicken
- Cashew Chicken Quinoa Bake
- Detox Rainbow Roll-Ups with Peanut Sauce
- Chicken Wings with Maple Chipotle Sauce
- Grilled Honey Sriracha Chicken Thighs
- Vodka Slush Recipe…because we could all use a good drink about right now!