Cent-Saving Saturday: How to Meal Plan as a Family

Cent Saving Saturday

I’ve had a few hiccups on the meal planning front lately.  On days when Josh is off but on call, he usually prepares the meals (especially during the school year).  I’m usually responsible for the rest.  Lately, our wires have gotten crossed a few times, and what should be a smooth part of our week (What are we having for dinner?) has turned not so pleasant.

And, then, I hit my meal planning rut.  To which I responded by listing out meals on blogs that I like…or have been to…or heard of…or discovered by random accident and have never explored fully.  And…I realized that I obsessively make lists.  I used to go through clothing catalogs…not to list the items that I wanted…but to list the different names of all of the colors that were used.  Seriously.  The Land’s End catalog and I were on a first-name basis.

So, armed with all of this knowledge and purpose, on Wednesday, we held a family meeting.  Or, rather, I called a family meeting.  Muffin was all for it!  He wanted to bring his phone (iPod) because in all meetings he has ever seen (on TV, in stories), meeting attendees bring phones.

And, already in his started-to-shed-clothes (normal) state, he thought he needed to put his shirt back on.  When I told him it was not a formal meeting, he proceeded to remove his pants.  Wearing a uniform next year in kindergarten might be a bit of a problem.

Once Muffin discovered that rolling around on the bed was not part of the meeting agenda and that we weren’t going anywhere, he asked to be excused from the meeting (or Josh mentioned that he could be excused, one), and he (Muffin) headed to the living room.  I think he and Daisy had their own secret meeting.

Josh, however, was a bit harder to convince about the meeting.  (Did I mention that I called the meeting?  We aren’t normally formal family meeting people.  I know some people are and have very effective meetings.  That is not our family.  We have discussions at the dinner table, on the couch and chairs in the living room, snuggling as a family on the bed…)

So…Wednesday night (using tried-and-true recipes from here, recipes that I had listed to try, and the ads for the week), Josh and I (with Muffin in a guest starring role) planned the grocery list and meal plan for the week.

Why Wednesday night?  Because Wednesday is when the ads come out for the week.  I do my happy dance on Wednesday morning (or really, really late at night when the ads drop on the websites if I can’t sleep) when I can figure out my grocery list for the week.

In meal planning, I try to plan the proteins around what we already have or what is on sale.  Usually, the protein component is the most expensive aspect of the meal, so I’ve found that works best to streamline.  Stocking up on a protein when it is the loss leader for the week (in other words the gimmick price in which stores actually sell it at a loss to get you in the store) will allow more flexibility or advance planning of your meals as weeks progress.

For example, if you have in your grocery budget a bit of wiggle room and ground meat, pork loins, or whole poultry (or boneless, skinless chicken breasts) are at your “buy-it-now” price, stock up!  That way, in the following weeks, when the protein deals are ho-hum, you have a stockpile of protein to fall back on.

So…here is the list of deals.  I actually asked Josh to pick up the Brookshire’s, Albertson’s, and Super 1 deals because they were the shortest lists and the farthest out of the way (and the ones he would pass by with ability to stop more often while he was out and about for work).

Brookshire’s

plums $1.49/pound:  These were huge!  Josh said each one must have weighed a pound!

John Morrell smoked sausage 99 cents/package

Super 1 Foods

Brookshire’s bacon, 3 pound package $8

Albertson’s

ground turkey, 12 ounce roll 88 cents, limit 4 with $10 additional purchase

large eggs 99 cents limit 2

Ramen noodles 15 cents

red seedless grapes $1.99/pound

cheese, 8 ounce, $1.88

County Market has whole pork loins (and they are usually huge) for less than $2/pound!

Kroger

strawberries $1.77/pound

pineapple 99 cents each

milk, one gallon $3.19

Kroger orange juice, one gallon $3.19

Kroger sour cream, pint, 10/$10

Kroger cheese $3.79/pound (I’m listing the Kroger and Albertson’s prices in hopes that one of them has Monterey Jack included in the sale.)

Kroger frozen veg 10/$10

Pepsi 2 L $1 wyb 5

Ragu pasta sauce (a continuation of the wyb 6 sale from last week) $1.19 wyb 6

Capri Sun $1.48 wyb 6

What are your deals this week?

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