I’ve been thinking a lot lately about who our family is becoming, both as a unit, but each of us individually. And for me, there is a huge disconnect between some of who we say we are, and who we ACTUALLY are. One of the most obvious areas this shows up is in how we spend our money. More specifically, we eat out A LOT.
Years ago, we went through Financial Peace University, and vowed to rid ourselves of any debt, to save, to give, and to begin building a legacy for ourselves and Nila. As the years have worn on, I’ve become terribly convicted about how our eating out is stopping that from happening as quickly as it should.
For sure, it’s not just about money, either. It’s about recognizing that the reasons we use for eating out are lies. We DO have time to cook, even if I’m working full time. We DO have food at home, and we DO have money for good food at home. We DO know how to cook good food. We DO have the energy to cook good food at home. We DO enjoy eating at home (more than eating out, in most cases). We KNOW the health benefits of eating at home.
At some point, you just have to admit to yourself that the reasons you’re doing the thing you don’t want to do is just because you’re being lazy. You can change that any time you’d like.
So here we are. Me writing about groceries and meal plans and budgets, mostly for accountability. And you reading it. Also so that a year from now, I can look back and see what we’ve accomplished. I don’t know exactly what this will look like each week, but it will probably look something like me sharing my meal plan, a picture of what we bought from the store, and the total we spent. If there are any interesting recipes during the week, maybe I’ll throw them into Cooked and share the recipe (or a link to the Pin).
My Meal Planning Process
Every Saturday morning, I get up before everyone else and I head out to breakfast by myself. I go to a little diner in Grandview where they know my order and pour my tea as soon as I walk in. I sit down with a spiral notebook, and my phone to search Pinterest and AllRecipes. I plan out the meals for the week, as well as my grocery list. I have done this for about a year now.
I shop almost entirely at Aldi on Sawmill, though I will usually grab some bacon, deli meat and steak from Carfagna’s on 161. Almost without exception, those are the only two stores where I shop on a regular basis. Sometimes, we’ll stop into Lucky’s in Clintonville to grab a few things, or if there’s something specific we want that only they carry. I try not to spend more than $120 a week on groceries (including paper products and detergents). There are only three of us, and Nila takes her lunch to school but I think that’s reasonable.
This Week: September 3, 2017
You can see I leave myself little notes about any evening meetings we might have during the week. I thought we had a PTO meeting on Tuesday, but it’s next week. Nila is getting spacers for a palette expander on Wednesday, so she’ll need soft foods that day/evening. And Thursday night, I teach a class, so dinner needs to be a crockpot something so Bob and Nila actually eat.
The Meal Plan for Sept 3 – Sept 8
Ranch Cheddar Chicken, Green beans, Rice
Nila specifically asked for this meal. She saw the chicken recipe on the back of a Ranch bottle, and asked for plain white rice, and my green beans (which are just frozen or fresh string beans, cooked until just tender, then doused in olive oil and salt). We don’t really eat a LOT of white rice (or rice in general, tbh). Bob and I both remarked that this dinner was like something our moms would have made back in the day. I imagine Ranch Cheddar Chicken was a hit at parties back in the 80’s.
MONDAY, Labor Day
We are going to my sister in laws for one last pool party. We have a bunch of steak, so we’re going to take some of those with us and grill them up, along with some potato salad and beans.
Crock Pot Orange Chicken with Broccoli
I made this a few weeks ago and Nila just loved it. She asked for seconds and almost thirds. Again with the white rice, so now you probably don’t believe me that we don’t have it very often.
Salmon cakes, sweet potatoes, and peas
Chili Mac and Cheese
Fusian (we have a gift card)
Nila almost always has a collection of finger foods for lunch. Crackers, a quesidilla, a sandwich, a veggie, some sort of meat (she loves grilled chicken), nuts, fruit, cheese, a spinach/carrot/cucumber salad – things like that. We’ve tried sending hot food with her, but it doesn’t stay hot very long in our thermos (maybe we need a different thermos). She’ll have tomato soup one day this week because of the spacers, and depending on how she likes it, might take some of the Chili Mac and Cheese as leftovers.
For Bob and I, I’ll make these two salads, and some chicken to go with them.
Bob usually has a smoothie. Nila’s breakfast most days looks something like eggs & bacon & fruit, or oatmeal, or a smoothie. I got the stuff to make these energy bites, which are easy for Nila to grab herself if I’m still getting ready. I try to schedule my morning so she’s not eating breakfast by herself, but sometimes it happens).
My Shopping Trip
I didn’t actually have to buy any meat this week because we had so much left from last week and the week before that we didn’t use. A bag of chicken, a bag of salmon, a package of chicken thighs, and some steak were all still in the freezer. We will use all of it this week.
Everything below was $93. It include some dog treats and chews, and the toilet paper. If we had to buy the meat for this week also, I think it would have been another $35 or so.
I hope that by the end of the week, almost all of this food is gone because we cooked it up and ate it here at home! Every time we eat at home, we save an average of $30, so it’s definitely worth it. And the thing I like best about eating at home is how it seems to slow down the evening. It’s nice to have that time here at home without running around in the car, playing, “Where do you want to go?” which is the WORST GAME EVER, or eating something we know is not great for us.
If you have any questions about this week’s meals, feel free to leave a comment below.