Week of August 6 Menu… How I Menu Plan, Store My Recipes and Shop! Long Post Ahead!

Back to school on Tuesday!  This means schedule!  I’m slightly OCD so I LOVE a schedule.  The lazy days of summer are nice but things run better for my brain when I have a mindset that things will happen in a sequence.  I function better when I have a  list of things to do and I have a calendar keeping me on task.  Otherwise, my mind is a jumble and I amble around the house aimlessly doing tons of little things but finishing nothing.  I blame it on my ADHD creative mind!

So here is my plan for tackling this upcoming week.  Many people meal plan.  I’ve seen it many different ways.  Some plan specifically for each day.  On Monday we are eating…, on Tuesday we are eating…. I cannot do this.  Instead I plan for the week and I typically plan for more than just the 6/7 meals needed.  That way, I always have options and I’m not stuck on the last day having to cook something I’m just not feeling.  For example, I had my Kalua Pork on my menu last week but didn’t get around to making it.  So I know this week that I have all the ingredients and I can simply slip that in.  Plus because I bought two pork roasts last time they were on sale, the pork is in the freezer and I don’t have to buy on this week!  It’s ready when I am.

Meal planning is easy for me because of my binder!  I used to collect cookbooks!  I still have a few (I LOVE my Pioneer Woman books) but because of Pinterest and my binder, I’m never far from a new recipe.  So about my binder!  When I try a new recipe and it’s a keeper, it goes straight into my binder.

My binder is not fancy.  Ten years ago, I would have had a cute customized cover and spine but now??? Who cares!  I do have my recipes in labeled sections to help me find them easier but I love that all my favorite recipes are all in one place.  When it’s time to menu plan, I simply go through my binder and choose recipes for the week.

Now on to making my shopping list and grocery shopping…my favorite thing to do, REALLY it is!  One of my faves anyway.  Why do I love it?  I make it into a game.  I love to save money!  Using a coupon or snagging a good deal is therapy for me.  I love to look at my receipt when I get in the car and see my savings.  I typically send a pic to my husband too.  So how do I do this?  First, I look over the sales paper and see what’s on sale that week.  If pork roasts are buy one get one free (every few weeks Kroger has this), I put it on my list and choose a recipe in my binder that I can make.  Roasts are another item that when it is on sale, I’ll buy too.  Kroger also has those 5 for $5 off sales often.  This is a good time to stock up.  PopTarts were $1.29 this week in the $5 off for 5 and I had a $1 off coupon, so I got two boxes for $1.60.  After I go through the sales paper, I go to my coupon stash.  Kroger is wonderful about sending coupons.  I shop there so much I get coupons every couple of days and they customize them to things that I buy frequently.  I hardly ever pay Kroger Peanut Butter or Kroger Water, I get those coupons monthly.  This does take time but it’s so worth it.  Organization is the key.  I used to keep my coupons in a cute binder but it took too much time putting them in and taking them out when they expired.  I just throw them in a basket now.

**Another tip..if you aren’t going to use it, throw it away.  If you don’t have a cat, don’t keep the cat food coupon.

**And if you get to the store and the store brand is still cheaper when you use a coupon, get the store brand..those pennies do add up!

So my grocery list!  I’m  OCD when it comes to my list.  I don’t like anyone to write on my list and I will rewrite it if necessary to keep it neat.  I shop at my Kroger that I know exactly where everything is located so I make my list according to the store layout.  It makes things so much easier when it’s shopping time.  Anytime I have a coupon I put a star by that item.  My goal is to STICK TO THE LIST!  This is the main reason I detest shopping at Wal-mart.  Now if I do see a good deal, I will pick it up.  Several weeks ago, I was shopping and they announced a Manager’s Special on Sausage for $1.79 (usually $4) and I stocked up. Always be on the lookout for things like that, especially if they freeze well, you use them often or they can be stored.

So then I shop!  I usually wait to the end of my order being rung up before I hand over my Kroger card and coupons.  I LOVE to watch that total go down…it’s the simple things that bring my joy! Yesterday I saved $31.53 (19%).  I’ve actually had up to 30-35% before.  When they doubled coupons years ago I think one time I got up to 45% one time.  So for a week’s groceries, I spent $140 and I have enough food for 7 meals, the girl’s school lunches, snacks and breakfast.  I even bought a jar of almond butter for $7 for a recipe that I’m trying this week. My coupons alone paid for that.

So that is how I do it! My husband works hard.  He leaves before the kids are awake and many times comes home after we’ve eaten dinner.  I am able to work part-time and be at home for the kids.  I’m very lucky that I can do this but because of this I have to make sure that the money we do have is spent wisely.  Eating out is a rare occasion for us but it affords us things that are much more valuable like time together. Time together as a family is what I cherish most and organization is key for me to be able to do this!

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