The Boy and I are self-proclaimed foodies. One of our favorite things to do together is to try new restaurants and/or recipes. If you’ve been here before you’ve seen pictures of my honey and from what people tell me he’s a big guy. Despite his appearance, he generally doesn’t eat a shockingly absurd amount. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a man so he can put away some food, but he’s not eating us out of house and home. Anyway, even though I love food and like most people prefer the foods that have been deemed “unhealthy”, we try to make conscious decisions about what we put in our bodies and as always I try to avoid breaking the bank when I grocery shop. We have developed a system that keeps our spending down, let’s us consume healthy meals while allowing a little cheating, and gives us enough groceries to last no less than two weeks. After our trip to the grocery store last weekend, The Boy suggested that I share our strategies for how we get 60+ meals for less than $250.

The key to keeping your spending low is to only buying what you really need. For us this means meal planning. Meal planning can probably be quite complex, but we keep it pretty simple. Each of us is responsible for planning five dinner meals (dinner is cooked at least Sunday-Thursday in our house). Before we visit our respective sites/apps for ideas, I like Pinterest and he likes the AllRecipes App, we see what we still have in the freezer and pantry. We then plan meals that will allow us to use food first, then head off to our respective apps. Once our meal list is complete, we go through each meal and write down any ingredients that need to be purchased. For example, just writing “baked chicken” down on the meal list won’t work. What sides are you having with the baked chicken? Something like “baked chicken, salad, baked potato rounds” would be more appropriate. If you didn’t write down your sides, how would you know to buy ingredients for salad or potato rounds? Already we are at 20 meals (10 days * 2 people = 20)

Next, we handle lunch for Monday-Friday for both weeks in less than 5 minutes. Because we are trying to be health conscious and not spend unnecessarily, we avoid eating out for lunch during the week. We typically have chicken breast every day, but try to add variation by using different marinades, having it with salad or wheat pasta with pesto, and changing the way we cook it (grilled, baked, etc.). Sometimes it gets a little bland, but when we do it consistently both of our bodies thank us by shedding pounds and looking svelte. Now, we’re at 40 meals (20 dinner meals + (10 lunches * 2 people) = 40).

Breakfast is by far the hardest. I for one am usually WAY too tired to eat in the morning and am NEVER hungry. However I know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and plays an important role in getting my body going. This week we are doing smoothies for breakfast! I have always loved smoothies and am finding that it’s really easy for me to ingest them when I’m on my way to work. We bought a ton of frozen fruit, almond milk, orange juice, apple juice, and yogurt to see how many ways we can combine them to create things we like. Next week, we will be having homemade blueberry muffins and fresh fruit bowls for breakfast. We will buy the fruit this weekend so that it will stay fresh for the week. There you have it, 60 meals (20 dinner meals + 20 lunch meals + 20 breakfast meals = 60 meals).

meals for less

Now that we have established what we need, it’s time to talk about cost. We utilize three cost saving strategies to spend as little as possible.

  1. Buy the cheapest meat. This doesn’t mean you have to buy the meat that’s marked down because the “sell by” date has passed. Instead, I select the meat that physically has enough, is the cheapest for its size, and has a “sell by” date similar to the other packages. While this may be common practice for you, I know The Boy used to just pick up the first t-bone steaks he saw with no regard to the price before I showed him how the prices weren’t all the same.
  2. Shop on deal days. A local grocery store here in St. Louis, Shop n Save, has a weekly coupon to save $10 when you spend $50 Thursday-Saturday. Because we grocery shop together, we are able to take advantage of this coupon twice by paying for our groceries in two separate transactions.
  3. Buy in bulk. I know it may seem silly that I’m suggesting you buy in bulk for just two people, but stay with me for a second. We eat a TON of chicken (breast and wings especially) so family packs are perfect for us because of the reduced price compared to if we bought the same amount but in smaller packages. We simply separate the food into freezer bags when we get home and voila!

I’m almost always shocked at how much stuff we are able to get and how it usually lasts us closer to three weeks than two. We often have leftovers, which is a welcomed break from chicken breast for lunch or eliminates the need to cook the following night. I should also note that we do buy snacks. I’ve got to have my Talenti, sunflower seeds, white cheddar popcorn, and cheezits. Even with our snacks, we rarely if ever go over $250. I feel like some people may read this and feel we are spending a lot, but it breaks down to over 60 meals for less than $250! That’s spending $62.50/person each week. I don’t know about the rest of you, but The Boy and I can easily spend more than that on one meal at a restaurant.

P.S. an extra money saving tip — if you have an Aldi’s in your store, shop there! They have a lot of off brand products for much cheaper prices. We usually can’t even tell the difference taste wise.

Do you meal plan? If so, how do you do it? How do you save money at the grocery store?  
signature

 

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

42 comments on “How to plan 60+ meals with less than $250”

  1. Great advice, cooking/meal planning for two takes some serious thought. I buy chicken in bulk and freeze it as well, nice to hear I’m not the only one that does that! 🙂

    • Buying in bulk and freezing is a key to saving money at my house. Since we decreased our pork intake, we pretty much live off chicken. You’re certainly right about cooking/meal planning for two being a little tricky. We seem to always have leftovers, which works well for lunch or dinner the next day!

      xoxo,
      Roxy

  2. I love buying in bulk even though it’s just me and my hubby and our 2 year old. I like to buy my fruits, especially berries and bananas and then freeze them. I always end up using them for shakes later 😉 Great tips!!

    • I’ve been doing that with bananas since they only seem to last a few days. I also love buying in bulk because it prevents me from needing to shop as often.

      xoxo,
      Roxy

  3. Great tips! I can get pretty thrifty when it comes to grocery shopping, learned it from my Grandma, ha ha! To save money I stock up on things that are on sale. We also eat a lot of vegan dishes that are a lot of cheaper. A can of beans cost about $1, whereas a package of chicken can cost a lot more!

    • That’s a great tip! I have definitely been contemplating “meatless Mondays” in an effort to promote eating more veggies and cutting out the cost of buying meat for a meal. Got any great vegan recipes you recommend?

      xoxo,
      Roxy

    • Being in school makes saving on groceries so much more important. When I was in school I ate terribly and typically scrounged up whatever could be eaten between classes/sorority events. Self care is SOOOO important and especially when you’re stressed out about school. I hope these tips make things a little easier for you!

      xoxo,
      Roxy

  4. I am the same way with breakfast. I LOVE to cook but Breakfast doesn’t interest me. We have been doing overnight oats and it’s a hit. I love these tips! Also…We are huge Cheez it fans. Must. Have. Them.

  5. You are doing great. I have created a meal planner plus inventory list of my fridge, freezer and pantry. This way I am lot more organized for the week ahead, and do not end up buying something we don’t really need.

    • That is some high level organization Kam and I love it! Keeping a running inventory list is a sure fire way to speed up this whole process. Next time we get super low on groceries, I may have to give that a try!

      xoxo,
      Roxy

    • They definitely do and if your anything like me shopping without a list means leaving with at least 5 things I didn’t intend to buy. Hope this tips help make grocery shopping a little bit easier!

      xoxo,
      Roxy

  6. This is great! I’m always looking for more ways to save money and this is certainly a great post on it. THank you 🙂 I especially love the Aldi Tip (I’m a huge fan of Aldi). It looks like we have a lot in common with our blogs. If you ever want to guest post or collaborate on something, let me know!! I’d love to work together. Thank you for inspiring me to shop better! 🙂

    Cassie | http://www.diyjahn.com

    • You are so very welcome! I would love to guest post or collaborate! I checked out your blog and would love to have you guest post some of your awesome money saving tips!!

      xoxo,
      Roxy

    • You sure are right about that! I’m not too familiar with locally sourced meat options around here. Do you find that’s more or less expensive??

      xoxo,
      Roxy

  7. I suck so badly at meal planning and I KNOW I must waste so much money by not doing it. I never know what to buy at the market so I just sorta buy whatever I want. These are such great tips. I feel the same way about lunch as you feel about breakfast lol!

    • I’m realizing that more and more people hate meal planning! I get really excited when we are trying something new, but otherwise see it as a necessary evil. I hope these tips will help you save a little bit on your grocery bill!

      xoxo,
      Roxy

    • Congratulations on your growing family!I know feeding growing children can really make the grocery bill rack up. Don’t forget you coupons when you head to the store. Also, a lot of times stores will match the prices of their competitors so take lots of ads with you too (might as well save on gas too).

      xoxo,
      Roxy

  8. These are wonderful tips! I always forget to shop on “deal days” – great reminder! The one that I struggle with is the fact that I look for quality meats (vegetarian fed, no nitrates or steroids, etc.) and that means that quality meat is more pricy than “cheaper” meats. Thoughts? Have a great day!

    • I’m finding that our local grocery stores are starting to carry the higher quality meat selection you described. I’d certainly recommend shopping on deal days and maybe even checking your local butcher shop or farmer’s market. Hope that helps!

      xoxo,
      Roxy

  9. You did a terrific job of breaking down your meal plan and outlining how you pull together 60 meals on your budget. I belong to a food club where I buy certain items cheaply and in bulk, and I love to patronize my local farmer’s market for fresh fruits and vegetables. I think it’s important to plan ahead and have favorite items in the house because you can always prepare them in a variety of ways.

    • Very good point about planning ahead and preparing your favorites in a variety of ways. I’d love to hear more about this food club your in. Is there a membership fee? Is it everywhere? Do they deliver? lol

      xoxo,
      Roxy

    • That’s definitely an added obstacle. I recommend evaluating schedules on Sundays and plan around that. For example, on Thursday’s I have class until 7:20pm and my boyfriend works til 10pm so 9 times out of 10 we have leftovers or a crock pot meal. Hope that that helps!

      xoxo,
      Roxy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *