I have been asking Jeffrey to go on the Dave (Damn) Ramsey envelope system. He thought it was a good idea but not something he wanted to do. Well, he still doesn't want to go on the envelope system, but he did say that we have to stop wasteful spending, ie buying lunches at work, grabbing fast food, etc. He said that he noticed a lot of wasteful spending on his account. Most of it was buying lunches at his school and fast food for the kids. We used to do a half baked job of menu planning each week and it did cut down on spending.
We talked about eating at home more often and Jeff wanted to join a monthly menu planning service. I agree that we do need to eat at home more often, but am not a fan of menu planning services. While they probably do help a lot of people, I don't think my family would benefit because we are rather picky eaters. I'm probably the pickiest of them all! So I suggested to Jeff that if we put together a week worth of menus, we can work the night before doing any prep work needed so that getting dinner made wouldn't be too time consuming. This would help tremendously especially since baseball/softball season is starting.
To get the kids involved, I suggested allowing them to pick one dinner each only stipulation is that it must be home cooked - no fast food! Surprisingly, they were excited about this and were even trading ideas for other days of the week. I put together a menu chart (thanks dmoms!) and included night before instructions. My Aldi's list (work in progress but I will share once done) made it easy to check off what was needed for each item. I supplement items at our local Giant Eagle and now that a Save-A -Lot opened on our side of town, I will save even more. Giant Eagle is a very expensive grocery store compared to Aldi's and Save a lot. The only things that I purchase there are their meats (when on sale), fruits & vegis(on sale) and lunch meats. Everything else can be found at the other two stores. The best thing is that they are all within a mile of each other on the same road!
Our menu for this week is as follows-
Monday - Tacos and Nachos
Tuesday- Turkey breast, salad, potatoes, Parmesan noodlesWednesday- BBQ Ribs, corn on the cob, salad (I'll prob eat leftover turkey -not a fan of ribs)
Thursday- Spaghetti, salad, and Italian bread
Friday - Home made pepperoni rolls and pizza ( Jeff M wants to try making homemade pizza)
Saturday- Pork chops, Parmesan noodles, salad, corn and asparagus
Sunday- Spaghetti, salad and Italian bread
While most people would not like having sauce twice a week, but as Italians, we (mainly me) were raised having sauce on Thursdays and Sundays. Trust me, I hear about it if we don't have sauce - especially on Sundays! We may not have sauce every Thursday, but Sundays is a given.
I am going to keep track of what we spend each week to see how well we do. I may not post my menu's or spending on this blog but will keep you updated on how it's going.
The above menu and our regular grocery needs broke down to the following-
Giant Eagle - 29.08
Save-a-Lot - 33.29
Aldis - 54.34
Total - 116.71
These totals are all food items. He didn't buy any toiletries, cleaning products, or pet food. That was just coincidence. In fact, I have to run out to the store to get dish soap and toilet paper! I am also going to try to watch Giant Eagle's sales flyer and a grocery store near my work place for meat items on sale. That way I can stock up on things and keep the weekly tally low. Is $400 a month on meals expensive? I've never really thought about what we spend buying groceries or buying fast food, but last week we spent around $40 in food for just 2 nights dinners! A few dollars here and there really do add up.
I try not to eat out at work. I've kept it to just once a week and spend maybe 2-3 dollars. I am going to try to stop altogether this month. Jeff's taking a more conservative approach and is just trying to go this week. Hey - baby steps I know! We've also explained to the kids what we are trying to do and I'm hoping they don't go through withdrawal too bad. The next hurdle would be to get Paige to take more lunches to school. She has stopped taking her lunches and it's adding up considerably especially since they can buy ice cream and various treats in addition to lunch. Again- baby steps. Don't get too far ahead of yourself now Rochelle!