My meal plans are based on a protein based matrix for variety. We eat vegetarian two nights a week. This reduced the cost of meals a lot. We have beef once a week for the iron and other nutrients that are only found in beef. I try for fish or seafood once a week and the other three days are based on chicken or pork,
- Tuna melts, vegetable sticks
- Out : steak, baked potatoes, vegetable stir fry and salad.
- Mystery freezer meal
- Split pea soup
- Meat ball subs, oven fries, salad
- Breakfast 4 dinner
1) Tuna melts on English muffins , carrot, celery radish, broccoli
2) scratch pizza - depending on toppings, usually about 1.25 for a pizza enoughnto cover a sided cookie sheet, Square cut oizzamosmeasoer to deal with. Granddaughter is getting really good at topping a pizza.
3) parents night out with a group of friends. Steak special.
4) we have a freezer full on the basement. I plan once a week to go down and pull something to cook as a way to start eating our way through the freezer.
5) splitpea soup in the insta pot. Quick , easy, make bread . Refrigerater bread is soo easy and
quick. Take dough out of fridge, shape on parchment, place in Dutch oven in a warm oven that has been turned off. ( our kitchen has two outside walls and is never warm unless I have been cooking all day ) after it has risen to double in size, cover and bake at 450 for thirty minutes, uncover and bake an additional ten minutes or until the top is brown. Delicious crusrymbread and almost no non-passive time.
6) meatball subs -bake sub rolls- the recipe is done in the kitchenaid and takes almost,no non-passive time. Meatballs in the freezer. Add BBQ sauce and fill. Oven fries. Salad
7) breakfast 4 Dinner. An easy way to s t r e t c h your dollar. Eggs are about a dollar a dozen here ( sometimes less) . An impossible pie is easy, quick, and well received here. Add a mixed green
salad or fruit.
All of these meals are inexpensive. The meatball subs are the most expensive , but averaged with the breakfast for dinner and pizza they are all within our five dollar price point. A rule of thumb is that five dollars per dinner for a family of four is a benchmark to stay in a four dollar a day budget. Four dollars a day is what SNAP allotment is based on. I try for three dollars a day on order to keep a stock.
Buying your food when it's at a RBP and stocking enough to feed your family until you find another sale is a way to keep costs down. I have allowed certain space for certain items, I can tell at a glance what we need to watch for. We have a side by side refrigerator. The freezer has bins and shelves in the door. I marked the bins with chicken, Pork. Beef, and fish and veggies . I can tell a glance what we are running low on. The basement freezer has things like ice cream, veggies, frozen pizza for back up etc. my pantry has specified sections of canned goods and the bulk items, I can tell at a glance when I see white shelf space when I need to watch for a sale. I store dry beans in the bulk popcorn jars from Costco.
Having target prices ( nothing to do with the store with the red balls ) on the things you stock gives you the best bang for your buck. It affords you the luxury of never being completely out of food.
Limiting yourself to a certain matrix of proteins that are all oboist two dollars a pound or less keeps your budget in tact.
Groceries in the cheap is a different way to shopping for food. Instead of meal planning and going to the store for a weeks worth of food. You go to replenish your dairy and perishables and stock a so called loss leader protein and any item you are running low from your stock when it is a remarkable price. Of course, you have to stay on budget. Shopping two stores is paramount in achieving your goals. Certain stores are notorious for have food prices on certain things, There is always certain stores that have a reputation for lower prices. Mostly they are stores without a lot of frills. If there is a fish tank full or lobsters, it's probably not going to be your store. If it's a small store and carries convenience one every foods, it's not probably your store.
We had a shakeup in the grocery business a year or so ago. A lot of buyouts and one store that wanted to be KING of the stores and failed. It was a rough period until things got to a normal. Basically, we have Kroger stores and Albertsons stores. We have an employee owned store and
Costco. For us, Winco and Fred Meyers usually have the best prices.
Spending a bit more time planning your trip from the ads and using coupons and cooking as efficient as possible gives you the best balance of your time. Less time cooking and more time planning saves a lot of money. Once you are set up and in a maintenance mode, you probably will spend no more time than the person that just shops and decides at four o'clock what's for dinner.
Keeping a stock of the basic things you always use and replenishing is the most efficient and less costly way of getting the food on the table train.