Meal Planning & Grocery Shopping

I ran into a friend at the grocery store last night and we chatted about meal planning, budget and how I do my shopping & planning.  I think I’ve blogged about this a bit before, but I thought it would be worth another post.  Here’s how I typically do my meal planning & grocery shopping.

First, I make a meal list.  Typically I make a list of 10-12 meals and this serves us for the 2 weeks between pay periods.  I do 2 “big” shopping trips each month, planning my meals and going to several stores for the different things we’ll need.  When Alex works 2nd shift, I tend to be even more on my game and we definitely go through almost all the meals I plan.  When he’s on first shift, we often end up only eating 8 to 10.

I write out my meal list and then go back and make the grocery list.  I usually have 1 page for Costco, Trader Joe’s & Central Market, with the page broken into sections for each store.  Then another page for the main grocery store trip (usually Albertsons or WalMart) and  I write out categories – fresh, frozen, dairy, meat, canned/misc – and then as I make my list I add needed items on the page or in the section where they belong.  This helps tremendously when I’m shopping!

I use the crockpot 3 or 4 nights a week and then I try to plan a few meals that are easy enough for the kids to make.  I also try to keep everything in the house for spaghetti or Sloppy Joe’s or something easy like that.  So for this round of meals, here’s what I planned:

All of the starred (**) recipes are new ones that I am trying.  I try to keep my list pretty full of tried-and-true stuff that I know the kids will really like and I know to be successful recipes.  The Gnocchi soup came recommended by a friend, so I’m confident in that one as well as the Indian food as I’ve cooked from that book a bunch and we love it EVERY time!  Everything else on my list, I have made a few times and most are “everyone loves it” type of recipes.

On this round of shopping, I hit Costco, Trader Joe’s, Albertsons & Central Market.  I just recently made a trip to the Bread Outlet so we are set on bread right now.  Sometimes I’ll go to the Grocery Outlet or Cash & Carry too.  Central is usually where I go to get any specialty produce I need or bulk foods or for their great bulk spices.  Trader Joe’s is the go-to for snack items for the little boys and for Alex’s lunches.

My totals this time around were:  Costco – $144.82, Trader Joe’s – $58.68, Central Market – $52.07, Albertsons – $142.75.  That will be our groceries for the next 2 weeks, with the exception of going to pick up milk or maybe fresh veggies for salads once the stuff I got from Costco runs out.  This includes toiletries, laundry detergent, paper products and other misc. household stuff as well as staples like cold cereal, lunch meat, yogurt, eggs, etc. for lunches and breakfast.


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Thank you for including one of my recipes in your menu plan! I hope you enjoy the soup.

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