Let the grocery makeovers begin! This month, I will be giving some guidance to friends and blog readers who want to save some cash in their grocery budget. Over the next few weeks, I will give each chosen reader some specific advice on how to stretch their dollar for their own specific food needs and family size. But, if you want the basics on how to spend less than $100 per week on all of your food for four people, read on!
Here are your four weekly steps --
Step One: Do an inventory of pantry and fridge items.
Step Two: Create a menu for the week and make a grocery list based on that menu.
Step Three: Cross check your list with existing paper and electronic coupons, plus Club Card specials
Step Four: Only do one shopping trip per week (and stick to your list!)
Here's my version for this week of each step --
Step One: My pantry and fridge items include orzo, chicken broth, butternut squash, three frozen sourdough baguettes, five potatoes, one dozen eggs, oatmeal, raisins, flour, sour cream, six yogurts, one ball of mozzarella, one container of ricotta, lasagna noodles, frozen ground beef, lots of tomato sauce and tomato paste, and other odds and ends.
Step Two: Our dinners for the week are Ina's Pea Soup, Giada's White Bean and Tuna Salad, the famous Ferrara lasagna (which we never made last week), risotto with butternut squash, and other odds and ends like leftover chili and cornbread from tonight's dinner, homemade pizza (the kids' favorite meal), and black bean and cheese burritos, etc. We'll stock up on green salad items, fruit, granola, yogurt, and wheat bread, too. We'll also bake some Oatmeal Raisin cookies.
Note: I will be able to add more organic products this week because Safeway has its own line, O Organics, that work into these menu items such as chicken broth, frozen peas, cheddar cheese, butter, and milk. I'll also check which organic fresh fruits and veggies look good this week.
Budget Tip: We usually do one pasta, one soup, one pizza, one meat, and one - two "leftovers" nights for dinner. Then one night we have something super simple like panini or cold pasta salad or even breakfast for dinner such as waffles, smoothies, or eggs!
Step Three: First, I double check Safeway's Just 4 U for clipless coupons and to view the Club Card specials. I've usually already looked at the list as I am doing my inventory to help me brainstorm how to maximize my deals. Once I've loaded all of the coupons on to my Club Card, I am ready to go shopping.
Budget Tip: Using a Club Card saves me at least 25% every time I go to the store. I am interested to see what my savings margin will be when I pick more Safeway O Organics products.
Step Four: I plan my menu and write my shopping list on Sunday nights and shop on Monday mornings. By going to the store only once per week, I make myself eat what we've purchased and avoid wasting food or exceeding my budget because I am not allowing myself to spend money on additional trips.
Budget Tip: Share your list with your spouse or a friend if you need to be held accountable for sticking to your list. Then, save your weekly receipts and you can review them at the end of the month to better assess if you are sticking to your overall grocery budget.
Cheap and Cheerful wants to know: What is your favorite, affordable dinner for a family of four?