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Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RMN = Retail Me Not
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

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grocery budgeting  tips for meal planning

A little while ago we covered some basic ways to reduce your grocery budget by 30%.  Now that you’ve had two weeks to begin learning the drugstore systems and to focus on only grabbing deals that you’ll actually use… let’s tackle a little bit more of the budget.

I mentioned last time to plan your menu’s for the first weeks based off of sale items.  Once you have built your stockpile, you don’t have to focus your menus off the weekly ad anymore.  However, you will save more money if you still make menu plans.  Menu plans not only help you be less stressed during that crisis “what’s for dinner” moment, but they also keep our spending down.  I encourage you to spend the next two weeks thinking about meals.

A few tips to help you save with your meal plans:

Try to think of meals that can be made with the same meat.  If I can get a whole chicken on sale this week, then plan at least two meals if not three that can come out of one bird.

An Example:

Monday
Baked Chicken, roasted potatoes, green beans, salad

Tuesday
Chicken Enchiladas, Corn, salad

Then go one step further, save the bones from the chicken and use those to make your own chicken stock.  Either freeze this to use in a few weeks, or plan for later in the week to have homemade chicken soup.

Plan out your side dishes as well as your entrees.  Sides for us tend to be fresh vegetables, and salad.  If I don’t plan these with the meals two things happen.  First I tend to over buy in the grocery store, not thinking about how much we need.  This normally leads to waste when they go bad.  The second problem with unplanned sides is that I’ll forget what produce I did buy and then again it goes bad before it is used.

Plan all your meals, not just dinner.  I don’t want to make this feel incredibly stressful, but I do want you to at least put a little thought into lunch and breakfast as you plan.  In our house breakfast tends to be cereal every morning except for Saturday when we have pancakes.  If I put a few second to think through that and make sure we are good on cereal, milk, pancake mix and syrup then we at least start our days ready.  Sometimes it’s nice to splurge on grapefruits or a cantaloupe when they are in season too.  Planning lunches is really where some of us can save chunks of money.  Either plan to cook extra with your dinner to have leftovers, or go ahead and plan what you would like to eat each day.  A salad, a sandwich… whatever makes you happy.  Try to pick foods you know you will enjoy, so that you don’t hear your co-workers going to Moes and jump in on the trip!

Plan to only add one new recipe a week at first.  You’ll get too exhausted trying to be Martha Stewart right out of the gate, and your family may not like it as much as the trusty stand-by’s.

It’s okay to plan simple meals.  In case you didn’t know every house is messy and we aren’t all living in the pages of Southern Living.

Put your menu plan front and center in the kitchen.  This will help you stick with it!  I do want you to be flexible, but the easiest way to be flexible is to switch up what night to have each meal, not to throw the whole plan out.

To get you started here is our plan for this week.  We are trying to only eat out of the pantry in attempts to cut down on what needs to be packed (we are moving in two weeks).  Our meals are gluten free, so maybe that will help someone too.

Breakfast will be cereal, fruit, yogurt and muffins -lots and lots of muffins!

Lunches for the week will be soup, sandwiches and salad.  If we have leftovers, my husband usually wins out and eats that.

Monday

Crock Pot BBQ, corn on the cob, white rice
recipe (we won’t eat them on bread though)

Tuesday

Onion Soup Burgers, mashed potatoes, green beans

For burgers mix the following together and cook pan or broil.
1 lb ground beef
1 egg white
gluten free onion soup mix – recipe
worcestershire sauce (I never measure just some for taste)

Wednesday

Dinner at Church

Thursday

Pancake Night with fresh fruit
(our favorite gluten-free mix)

Friday

My husband’s birthday dinner out!  We will be tackling a gluten-free pound cake for the occasion though.

Saturday

Italian Chicken, rice, sauteed squash, salad

Baste chicken in Italian salad dressing.  Broil on high until done, add a slice of provolone cheese or any cheese really to the top and 1 minute broil until melted.

Sunday

Beef Roast, with potatoes, carrots and salad – gluten-free recipe

Okay now it’s your turn!   Give yourself a few minutes and plan out the week.  Not only will you save more money, but hopefully you’ll only need to go the store once too!