My shopping list.
We went shopping as a family this month and Mowgli was in charge of the list, thus the wonderful love notes written all over it. I knew I couldn't do it alone because I would need more than 1 cart.
In case you missed it, I don't like grocery shopping or meal planning. It takes up so much time, mental energy and money. Plus, it's tedious. We decided that we would begin doing a bulk shopping trip at Sam's Club once a month and see how that works out for us. The hoped result was that it would end in less trips to the store, less money spent and that it would free up some time for me.
My first attempt at a monthly shopping trip was in January. You can read about it here. I've gotten lots of questions from neighbors, friends and Facebook friends about "how it went." Here's what we noticed:
- We did spend less money and were more aware of everything we spent in general.
- There were a few trips to other grocery stores in between our Sam's Club trips, but usually it was The Mr. who went. He is much better at buying only the items he goes in for. Me....not so much. I think with more practice, these in between trips will become less and less frequent.
- We actually had food leftover at the end of the month!
- We had significantly less trash. I mean like A LOT LESS! One week we had one lonely garbage bag sitting in our huge trash can on garbage day.
- Our food storage is building. Before we were really struggling with adding to our food storage. It seemed like there wasn't much food left at the end of each shopping period.
- I didn't run to the store if I was missing an ingredient. I decided to forgo an ingredient if I didn't have it, or make something else.
- We learned our family consumes 3 loaves of whole wheat bread, 1 1/2 dozen eggs, 2 gallons of milk and 1 1/2 pounds of cheese a week. It may sound funny, but I didn't really know that before.
- We are eating very simply, which helps immensely! I am stocking up on spices in bulk but only a couple at a time. For example, I am making Greek Gyros tonight and don't have dill weed, so I'm leaving it out. Eventually that will be a spice I will stock up on. Until then, we will go without.
- We have never been big on buying cereal, but I did usually have a box of Grape Nuts or Cheerios around. We decided to stop buying cereal completely. It doesn't last long and it is more expensive than eating homemade breakfasts.
- Snacks over the last month consisted of: fruit, dried cranberries, peanuts, graham crackers and pretzels. I've never really bought fruit snacks and things like that, anyway, so this wasn't a big change for us.
- I bought 1 #10 can of canned pears last month. I wasn't sure how it would work out because that's 6 pounds of fruit I would be opening at one time. But it is SO much less expensive to buy a #10 can than 15 ounce cans. I paid $4 for the #10 can. I saved it for when our fresh fruit was gone. The last week I opened the can and placed it in a large Tupperware container in the fridge. That's what we ate with many of our meals that week. It worked out really well and so I bought 3 cans this month instead of just 1.
- I didn't stick to the meal plan I had last month and ended up making many meals that weren't planned for, just like I knew I would. The point of planning this way is that I buy enough to make these meals 4 times to build up storage of those ingredients. Plus, this is a really simple way to do it. Planning 90 different meals just doesn't interest me! :)
The meals I have planned for this month are:
1. Granola and yogurt
2. Fruit and yogurt
5. German pancakes
6. German pancakes
7. Peanut butter toast and fruit
We eat sandwiches nearly everyday and The Mr. takes leftovers to work. I could eat sandwiches every meal of my life! We also have quesadillas or leftovers too.
1. Nachos/Taco Salad
2. Chicken Greek Gyros
3. Chicken Stir Fry
4. Sweedish Meatballs (Recipe below)
5. Tinfoil Diners
6. Sweet and Sour Chicken (Our family favorite!)
7. Navajo Tacos
So far this is working really well. We have learned a lot already and I anticipate we will get better with time and practice.
Recipe for Sweedish Meatballs:
1 1/2 lbs pork sausage
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
2 thick slices whole wheat bread, torn into pieces
1 packet dry onion soup mix
1 cup milk
Mix ingredients with your hands. Form into meatballs.
Heat oil in a large skillet and fry meatballs.
Place meatballs in two 9x13 pans
Mix 2 cans cream of mushroom soup with 1 can milk.
Pour mixture over meatballs.
Bake meatballs for 30 minutes at 350.
2 pans of meatballs is obviously a lot for my family so this is great for leftovers or to make when taking a meal to another family.