This past Friday I put together the first meal plan I've made in months. Having the baby threw us off schedule and that kind of advance planning went right out the window. But I sat down with the last weeks coupon mailers, perused online coupon sites and checked out the weekly sale fliers for grocery stores near us. Harris Teeter happened to be having triple coupon week. How is it that I've never paid attention to these things before? So I marked down all the items we would actually use that were on sale or special then set about making my meal plan. (This meal planning website I found was a big help, allowing me to search for menu ideas by ingredient and then drag them to a calendar to put together the weekly plan.) I have to say this is the first time I've done it this way. Usually I just say, "Oh, that sounds good, lets have that" and then get to the store and see that all the ingredients I need are full price.
After I inventoried our pantry and freezer I typed up a detailed list with the item names, amounts, and sale or coupon information for each item. That may seem excessive, but I was sending my husband to the store and wanted his shopping to go as smoothly as possible. Have you ever been to a grocery store during the weekend of a triple coupon sale? Have you been with a toddler?
I am most pleased to say that all said and done we saved over $60 on this shopping trip, our biggest savings ever. Coupled with last weeks total our weekly average for the last 2 weeks is $100 for the four of us. Not bad. I'm hoping to bring that number down even further but it's an excellent start. The next change we're making to our shopping habits is to only go to the store once a week. It's hard enough to stick with just what's on your list, and if you run to the store two and three times a week you're opening yourself up for impulsive buying. Was I planning on making chocolate chip cookies but somehow managed to forget the chocolate chips? Well, then it's applesauce cookies this round and I'll keep a running list for next week. Rarely is there a situation where we can't get away with substitutions or simply leave a recipe for a later date.
It was actually quite enjoyable, seeing how much money we could save, and I can see how people can start to think of it as a game. I'm excited to see what we put together for next week and expand our recipe index at the same time. I think eggplant was $0.99 a lb....