Don’t Make a Menu!

Did I get your attention?  Good.  Now let me tell you what I mean!  Don’t make a menu and then shop around that menu.  You will spend more money in groceries following that plan. 

Plan to shop around what you need for your pantry.  Last year I made a pantry list.  I planned all my shopping trips around what I was lacking in my pantry.  Then I made my menus around what I had in my pantry and freezer.  I have saved a ton of money planning my meals this way.

The pantry was a bit costly to fill but I was able to do it all at once.  I know though, that if you are already struggling it will not be possible for you to fill your pantry list in one trip.  So this is what you do:

1.  Make up a list of items that you regularly cook with.  I also include canned meats like tuna and chicken.

2.  Set a food budget if you have not already. 

3.  Look at your sale ads.  Are any of these on sale?  If so, put those items on your grocery list of things to buy.

4.  Add the meat that is on sale to your grocery list.  Only buy the meats that are on sale.  NEVER pay full price for meat unless you are in a position of desperately wanting a cheeseburger and find that you have run out of ground beef LOL…. 

5.  Now look at your grocery list and what you already have, and make your menu! 

6.  At this point, I go back to the grocery list and add the ingredients I don’t have.  But this should only be a few things.  Try to not let this add a great deal to your list. 

Every time you have unused grocery money, use it to buy the items on your pantry list.  After a few weeks of doing this, you will find you have started quite the stockpile and may even be able to just buy for your pantry and the meats on sale. 

So lets pretend that I have $50 this week for groceries.  What am I going to buy?  Let’s look to see what is on sale at Kroger.  I am not going to use any coupons in this example, and I am going to only go to just one store.  My list would include something like this: 

Boston Butt $10 – 10 lbs

English Roast $10 – 5 lbs

Cabbage $3 – 9 lbs  (This can be cooked and frozen.)

6 Jiffy Cornmeal mix (Don’t you just love that stuff?) $2

2 1lb bags Kroger Black eyed peas  1.76

3 John Morrell Bologna 3.00

3 John Morrell Wieners  3.00

1 Loaf of Bread 88 cents (Value Brand)

1 pack of hot dog buns 88 cents (Value Brand)

So far, with tax, I am at $37.89.   I now have $12.11 left.

In my pantry I already have a couple cans of diced tomatoes, a few potatoes, and an onion. Way back in the back of the cabinet I notice a small amount of instant brown rice left.  I also have a couple of wayward cans of mixed veggies and a small can of chili.  I have 4 eggs in the fridge, and half a container of milk.

I am going to rethink the roasts.  I can chop it very finely, think mince, and use it as a substitute for ground beef, I can do the same for the pork.  My menu may be looking like this:  Pulled pork, Savory Pork and Cabbage with Corn bread, Cabbage Rolls made with a pound of the beef, Black eyed peas with corn bread, Hot dogs with Chili, Mexican Casserole (Beef, tomato sauce or salsa topped with prepare cornmeal mix and cheese),  Pork “chops” made from cuts of the pork roast.

I know I need to add cheese, milk, eggs, & oatmeal.  That very well may take the $12.11 I have left.  If not then I may grab another sale item.

I will have oatmeal for our breakfasts and maybe some fried bologna and eggs.  For lunches we can have leftovers, hot dogs, and bologna sandwiches.  I will fill in the meals and lunches with the potatoes and wayward cans of veggies. 

I will be left with cabbage (cooked and frozen in the freezer), 5 or so pounds of boston butt, 2 pounds of beef roast, 3 boxes of cornmeal mix, and 1 bag of black eyed peas.  That is what I will start with next week. 

Is it 4 star meals?  No, but no one will be hungry!  And as you continue to build your stockpile you will have a bigger variety of things to choose from. 

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS


Post a Comment

I <3 your comments! Please feel free to leave a comment and share where you blog as well!

Search This Blog