Wednesday Shopping & Weekly Menu Plan 11/2-11/8 2016

Hey everyone! I am ready to head out to Aldi for my weekly shop. I am really getting the hang of this new budget, but until I am a bit more comfortable our menu plans will have a lot of repeats. Once I get used to our new normal I will shake things up! I am also cleaning out a lot of pantry items. This means lots of bean-based meals for a bit longer.

Last week we had a lot of leftovers so Wednesday was Leftover Night. I also forgot that Saturday was the monthly meal at church so we didn’t make the fried rice. This means I used less food than bought! Marco still bought the chicken on Friday even though we had pizza. The chicken is from a different part of our budget so he decided to still buy 2. He removed the chicken and saved it and made broth from the carcasses and the turkey carcass we had.

This Saturday is a swim meet so that means I bought items I do not normally buy. They weren’t budget busters though, especially since I already had some items at home!

I did buy some holiday items that weren’t originally planned. These are items Aldi will sell until they are out. I want them before they are gone so I thought ahead and rearranged my budget to be a bit bigger and added them in. I added $20. It looks like I went over budget, but not really because they are items I need in the future for the Holidays and now I have them!

A few reminders:

Lunches are almost always vegetables and fruit. I buy frozen vegetables unless I can snag better deals on fresh. I cook the frozen veggies in ways that bring out the best quality and taste possible. Fruit is always decided at the store. I look at prices and then decide between fresh, canned, or frozen. When I buy canned, I buy ones in their own juices.

I plan for 3 meals a day and 2 snacks. We do not do a morning snack, but instead eat an earlier lunch. My plans are for 7 people, except lunch and snacks. Lunch is for 6 people (Mark eats at work for free) and snacks for 5 (the kids). Every Friday Mark brings home rotisserie chicken from his work. He gets a great deal and it is so much better than the stuff they sell at the store. This is NOT part of our food budget.

On Tuesdays we have homeschool co-op. We have to have lunch to-go. This has upped our Tuesday food cost a little bit.

I try to keep cheese sticks and 100% fruit bars and dried fruit in the house for those days when you are just so hungry you need a bit more food. These are not everyday foods so when I buy them they do last longer than a week.

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The start of my holiday cooking supplies!


Breakfast

Suasage, Oatmeal*, & GF Pumpkin Muffins
Yogurt and Egg for me

*I buy a big canister of quick-cook oats and make “packets” of 1/4 C oats, chopped freeze dried fruit, and seasonings (cinnamon, etc). The kids use the kettle of hot water to make their own instant oatmeal for far less then pre-packaged! 

Lunch
Fruit everyday

(Thurs) Garlic Carrots
(Fri) Peas & Onions
(Sat) *SWIM MEET* Lettuce Roll-Ups
(Sun) Honey-Glazed Carrots
(Mon) Roasted Green Beans
(Tues) Rice Cakes w/ Spreads
(Wed) Peas & Onions

Snack
Baby Carrots and No Bake Cranberry Bites & Tea

Dinner
(Thurs) Either BBQ Chicken or Naked Chicken Fajitias w/Rice (I haven’t decided)
(Fri) Chicken, Mashed Potato, Prince Edward Mix
(Sat) Cabbage and Potato Bake
(Sun) Tacos
(Mon) Chili Potatoes (I am inventing a dish here y’all!)
(Tues) Beans & Quinoa
(Wed) Rice Noodles w/ Veggies

Snack
(Thurs) Jell-O
(Fri) Homemade Popsicle
(Sat) Jell-O
(Sun) Homemade Popsicle
(Mon) Jell-O
(Tues) Homemade Popsicle
(Wed) Jell-O

ALDI:

$2.49 Salami (swim meet food)
$1.29 Iceburg Lettus (swim meet food)
$1.29 Rice Cakes (co-op food)
$1.99 Plum Fruit Spread (co-op food)
$1.99 Hazelnut Spread (co-op food)
$1.49 Cream Cheese Spread (co-op food)
$2.69 Gluten Free French Fried Onions (Holiday Food)
$1.79 x 2 Ricotta Cheese Whole Milk (Holiday Food)
$2.89 x 2 Gluten Free Stuffing (Holiday Food)
$1.49 Russet Potatoes 10 lbs (sale)
$1.69 Cabbage
69¢ x 2 Yellow Onions 3 lbs each (sale)
99¢ x 2 Sweet Potatoes 3 lbs (sale)
49¢ x 7 Baby Carrots (sale)
$1.37 Bananas (44¢/lb)
$1.79 Green Peppers 3-pack
$2.99 Multi-Colored Pepers 3-pack
$2.99 Mini Sweet Peppers
89¢ x 2 Pomegranates (sale)
$2.99 Bartlett Pears 3 lbs
$2.99 Grany Smith Apples 3 lbs
$1.70 Whole Plums 1 lb 14 oz
$2.99 x 2 Organic Vanilla Yogurt 32 oz each
39¢ x 6 Yogurt Cups
$1.99 Almond Milk (for the boys)
$1.99 x 2 Hot/Italian Pork Sausage
$1.65 x 2 Potato Puffs (frozen bags)
$1.29 Long Grain Rice 3lbs
$1.69 Organic Diced Tomato 28 oz can
$3.99 Coconut Oil
$1.69 x2 Vegetable Broth
79¢ x 3 Kidney Beans (canned)
$3.79 x2 Dried Mango/Coconut
$1.59 Dried Cranberries
$2.99 Freeze Dried Apples
$1.99 x 2 Peanuts

Total: $97.70

WALMART:

$6.24 Case of Peach Cups in 100% juice (swim meet & co-op treat)
78¢ x 4 Gluten Free Brown Gravy Mix (Holiday Food)
$4.94 String Cheese
$2.22 Muenster Cheese (They didn’t have my giant block of Cabot Whote Cheddar! Oh no!)
$3.64 Coffee
Total: $20.16

Goal: $100
Paid: $117.89
Holiday Overage: $15.17
Real Overage: $2.72 (I am getting better!)

Overage this month:$33.89

Things on my list I didn’t buy: I bought everything!

I am still learning and I have work to do. I learned we need more protein snacks. Elf is hard (no nuts for her), but the rest of us need a handful of nuts (or something) once in awhile. I have some pretty amazing friends and family who have rallied and are cheering me on. Y’all are awesome and I treasure you and so wish we lived closer. Your support and belief in me is more than you know.

I did buy items I do not need this week (sweet potatoes for example), but the prices were too good to pass. My primary goal is to keep the kids on a healthy diet. My secondary goal is to satisfy needs and not feel like we are missing out while doing so. The subgoal of that is to help others cut their food budget down and give meal ideas.

Have a great week, y’all!

~Andrea

Wednesday Shopping & Weekly Menu Plan 10/27-11/2 2016

Hi all! It is Wednesday (although you will read this on Thursday) and I am getting ready to tackle my weekly Aldi trip. I am far more more optimistic this week. Last week’s list was 2 pages. This week’s is less than a page! We had a few Food Fairies ship us random things; meat, flour, canned coconut milk, taco shells….
I also have pantry items I will be using. I created this week’s menu around what we have. There are two “glitches” to our food budget this week. Today (Wednesday) Marco came home from work with Chicken Curry! This did NOT come from our food budget, but from a different part of our budget. This means tonight’s planned meal will be moved to tomorrow. I already have everything for that meal so that really helped my planning! Friday is Princess’s birthday. We will splurge and I will make pizza and cake!

Aldi had several insane deals. I bought 10 bags of baby carrots becasue they were 49¢ each! On Saturday I have 2 vegetables listed. My kids have never had acorn squash; but the sale price was 59¢. I decided now is the time to buy and try. I know that I like it, but we shall see what the rest think. We will also have peas just in case people aren’t thrilled with the new dish.

I opted to buy the coconut water for the November swim meet now instead of later. It is an Aldi Special Buy and $1 cheaper than the cheapest at any other store. We use coconut water instead of Gatorade or Powerade. Much healthier and, frankly, tastes better. Although not on the list this week, I saved us $4 in the long run.

I had 2 pantry items ont he list this week: oregano and brown sugar. I bought dates for my holiday baking (I make a paste with them). Birthday treats also made the list. These items aren’t weekly buys.

A few reminders:

Lunches are vegetables and fruit. I buy frozen vegetables unless I can snag better deals on fresh. I cook the frozen veggies in ways that bring out the best quality and taste possible. Fruit is always decided at the store. I look at prices and then decide between fresh, canned, or frozen. When I buy canned, I buy ones in their own juices.

I plan for 3 meals a day and 2 snacks. We do not do a morning snack, but instead eat an earlier lunch. My plans are for 7 people, except lunch and snacks. Lunch is for 6 people (Mark eats at work for free) and snacks for 5 (the kids). Every Friday Mark brings home rotisserie chicken from his work. He gets a great deal and it is so much better than the stuff they sell at the store. This is NOT part of our food budget.*This week he will not buy this*

On Tuesdays we have homeschool co-op. We have to have lunch to-go. This has upped our Tuesday food cost a little bit.

I try to keep cheese sticks and 100% fruit bars and dried fruit in the house for those days when you are just so hungry you need a bit more food. These are not everyday foods so when I buy them they do last longer than a week.

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Aldi Special Buy. Medley Potatoes! The purples are so beautiful! 

Breakfast
Yogurt & GF Squash Muffins
Homemade Coconut Yogurt for Elf
Egg for me instead of muffin

Lunch
Fruit everyday (grapes until they are gone and then apples)

(Thurs) Oven Roasted Green Beans
(Fri) Honey-Glazed Carrots
(Sat) Roasted Acron Squash w/ Cinnamon and/or Peas & Onions w/ salt & pepper
(Sun) Garlic Butter Carrots
(Mon) Curried California Blend
(Tues) Rice Cakes w/ Spreads
(Wed) Balsamic Roasted Carrots

Snack
Grape Tomatoes, Baby Carrots, or No Bake Cranberry Bites & Tea

Dinner
(Thurs) Naked Burritos
(Fri) Pizza
(Sat) Vegetable Fried Rice
(Sun) Loaded Baked Potato Soup
(Mon) Roast Turkey, Roasted Heirloom Poatotoes, Roasted Carrots
(Tues) Chili
(Wed) Tacos

Snack
(Thurs) Jell-O
(Fri) Homemade Popsicle
(Sat) Jell-O
(Sun) Homemade Popsicle
(Mon) Jell-O
(Tues) Homemade Popsicle
(Wed) Jell-O

I had numerous things in my house already. Here is my shopping list with prices

ALDI:

$2.99 x 4 Coconut Water (swim meet food)
$1.28 Applesauce Cups 6-pack (co-op food)
$1.29 Rice Cakes (co-op food)
$2.99 Apple Cider (special buy)
99¢ x 2 Red Potatoes 5 lbs (sale)
59¢ Acorn Squash (sale)
$2.99 x 2 Medley Potatoes (special buy)
49¢ x 10 Baby Carrots (sale)
15¢ x 2 Limes (sale)
$1.16 Bananas (44¢/lb)
99¢ x 3 Grape Tomatoes (sale)
$1.98 x 3 Green Grapes 2 lbs (sale)
$1.89 Dates 8 oz (seasonal)
39¢ x 48 Yogurt Cups
$3.49 Greek Yogurt 32 oz (instead of sour cream for burritos, soup, & tacos)
$1.39 x 2 Prince Edward Medley (frozen vegetable) *price drop!*
$1.39 x 2 Fozen Green Beans *price drop!*
95¢ x 4 Frozen Sweet Peas
$5.89 Shredded Mozzerella Cheese 2 lbs (for pizza)
$2.69 Sharp Shredded Cheese (for potato soup)
$2.69 Mexican Shredded Cheese (for burritos & tacos)
$3.89 Prunes 1 lb 2 oz
$1.19 Oregano
99¢ Confecioner’s Sugar (birthday)
99¢ Brown Sugar
$2.49 x 2 Breakfast Sausage (birthday)
$1.25 Fudge Mint Cookies (for Marco)

Total: $99.36

WALMART:
$1.94 Pepperoni (for pizzas)
$1.72 Pizza Sauce (there was cheaper, but the is the only allergy friendly one)
$2.18 x 2 So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk 1 quart (the kids have been begging me for milk to drink)
$5.98 x2 Bird’s Eye California Blend 60 oz bag (this large bag is far cheaper than even Aldi!)

Total: $19.98

Goal: $100 (but I wanted to try to stick to $88.17 to cover last week’s overage)
Paid: $119.34

Overage this month:$31.17

If I had paid better attention I could have bought 6 less yogurt and 2 less peas. I didn’t have to buy Mark cookies. He rolled his eyes at me for doing this. I also now realize I could have done without one of the California Blands as I had bought lots of carrots. I could have therefore saved myself $11.47.

Things on my list I didn’t buy: I bought everything!

What have I learned? I still have work to do on meeting my weekly goal. I learned the desire to impulse buy is strong (like those cookies). The journey is hard, but community (friends and family) make it easier. I have learned to better calculate our needs. I over bought this week, but this means I will already have some items for next week!  My goal is to keep the kids on a healthy diet. I despise the fact I cannot let them eat whenever they want, but I am reminded we do have far more food than most people. I am trying to focus on the fact that maybe this will help someone cut their food budget down and/or give them meal ideas.

~Andrea

Shopping for a Family of 7

Have you ever wondered how larger families shop? I certainly can’t speak for everyone, but I know that, for us, shopping less often by buying more at the time is far more convenient. It takes less time to meal plan, write lists, make sure our pantry and freezer inventory is up-to-date, and then do one large bi-monthly shopping trip than it does to shop once a week. It is also far more cost effective because we have less opportunity for impulse buys.

I had the amazing opportunity to write a guest-post for my good friend Kristin over at Couponing to Disney on how my latest shopping trip went.
I have gotten so much positive feedback. I am thrilled my experience is helping people save time and money!

I would love for you to check it out and I pray it can benefit you also: Andrea’s Bi-Monthly Shopping Trip to Aldi: Feeding a Family of 7 (via Couponing to Disney)

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