Remember when I did this 30 Day Challenge to do Small Projects around the house that organized and simplified my life? Well, I would say it was about 75% successful. It was ambitious with a very active child, but mostly, the projects fell short b/c I allowed the weather, how tired I was, Kirk travelling and the fact that the last thing I wanted to do at 8:30 pm after FINALLY getting Reeve to sleep was clean out the basement storage BY MYSELF (meaning 1,800 trips up & down Stairs…alone).
I was okay with the fact that some things didn’t get done. SOME things are better Spring projects.
Well, here it is 2 days until January 1st and I am amping up for a BIG Challenge. One that, if successful, will save us about $500/month, help us stay healthy & get skinnier, and mostly just give me something to challenge myself….now that I don’t work and have daily goals, I find that my brain NEEDS that challenge, that GOAL to keep me competitive with myself…it gives me satisfaction to complete things, cross items off my list, WIN!
So, I have decided that for the month of January, we will not eat out! At all! We will spend NO money eating lunch with Kelsi three times a week, no Buffalo Wild Wings cravings, no “I don’t want to cook, let’s go spend $50,” not even a “ugh, there’s nothing in the fridge” meal. NOPE!
Now, of course there has to be exceptions. Kirk will be traveling some that month so he will eat out for work. He may have a business lunch or dinner that requires him to eat out and I am going to allow myself a Fountain Coca Cola if I need the caffeine (I figure $1.00 every other day or so is worth it to keep me out of jail and to keep my marriage happy)
SInce I don’t like the idea of January 1st being used to create a Resolution meant to last all year, I am going to focus each month on a resolution. I am more inclined to keep a 30-day resolution than a 365-day one.
So here goes, for those of you who’ve asked.
I should warn you that you need a good hour alone to read and process all of the information and watch the videos.
Also, I don’t want to reinvent the wheel here. I read the Fun, Cheap or Free blog daily and am using her methods. I highly recommend bookmarking her page and using her tips.
STEP 1. WATCH THIS VIDEO. The method she uses to keep track of how much money spent and allotted for groceries has been HUGE for our family.
STEP 2. Read How Much Your Family Should be Spending Each Month on Groceries Scroll down the page to find the chart for Grocery Shopping. It’s pretty simple, really. $100 per month per person. 2 people = $200. 3 people= $300….and on.
STEP 3. A great resource for how to shop BULK
STEP 4. Read HOW TO GROCERY SHOP. I like her method site the best b/c I don’t like cutting coupons. I get frustrated that I have to buy TWO of something I don’t really use to save money. Wal-Mart is the best place to buy most (I say MOST) groceries if you are price-conscious as they have a Price Match program that doesn’t “require customer to have ad with them to honor competitor’s price.“
STEP 5. Get HELP ~ For me, grocery shopping can be difficult b/c I have the baby with me. I know most of you who’ve asked for this information have kiddos who go everywhere with you too, so if I could interject with MY BEST ADVICE, it would be to find 2-3 hours on you shopping day where you can have Dad watch the kids, a babysitter or someone to take them away from you. Use this time to do the next steps.
STEP 6. MEAL PLANNING. Now, for us, this step is the most important. If I don’t sit down with a calendar and write on it what we are eating each night, I will forget and come 4pm start to think, “wait, what are we having again?”
First, I plan out our meals on this cute calendar that I can walk over to the fridge and pantry with to see what I’ve already got and need to use that can be the basis for the meals I am going to purchase for the week. For instance, I have 2 boxes of half-used spaghetti noodles in the pantry….therefore, we are having spaghetti tomorrow night.
Here is the Meal Planner that I use. Like I said, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel here. I found one easily on Pinterest that was broken down into each meal per day and each day then appealing to my eye. I literally write “Pizza” in a slot or “leftovers” or “fajitas.” You can print this one (and I recommend printing 4 at a time) or find one on Pinterest that works better for you.
Before I move on, let me reiterate how important it is that you walk this baby over to your refrigerator and pantry as you are planning your meals. Before I started doing this, I always had 4-5 boxes of pasta opened, 5 cans of mandarin oranges, 3 half-used bags of Brown rice….you get it.
Also, some days I put LEFTOVERS in the lunch slot based on what we are having the night before. Spaghetti always equals leftovers. So do homemade soups, tacos….
STEP 7. Recipes & Grocery List.
Let me start by saying, I don’t cook a lot of things that require a lot of prep work or are recipes that are completely new to me unless it’s a special occasion. I just don’t have time with Reeve running around and for a family of 2 who eats pretty light, I tend to just go with what I know or find randomly in a magazine/blog or online. So, if I’ve written Pizza down, I pretty much know what I need without having to consult a cookbook..
This is what my Grocery List looks like and you can download it HERE. I like this one b/c it mostly follows the actual layout of my preferred grocery store. That’s HUGE for me as I hate walking back and forth all over the store.
STEP 8. MENU BOARD. I then return home from Grocery Shopping and write those meals out on a cute board in our kitchen. It reads like a menu and then we know all week long what we are having. I’m a very visual person so I like the constant reminders of what we are eating for the week.You can also just hang a piece of paper on the refrigerator. It will hold you accountable!!!
STEP 9. RECEIPTS. Don’t forget to put them in your folder from Step 1.
STEP 10. Start all over again the following week.
Please let me know if you have any questions…and GOOD LUCK! I can’t wait to hear if this did or didn’t work for you as well as any suggestions/tips you might have.