Saving money with a meal plan
I’ve explained how I save using store flyers and coupons but I haven’t demonstrated how to meal plan according to the sales. I made this meal plan/shopping list using only one store flyer, without poring over cookbooks or relying on coupons to reduce the cost. The menu is not gourmet but it’s definitely child-friendly and easy to execute at the end of a busy day. Using a bit of foresight can reduce the amount of money spent on takeout food and eliminate the stress of dinnertime panic.
I consistently spend an average of $60 a week on groceries to feed a family of four and I am able to make tasty, nutritious meals that cover the four groups of Canada’s Food Guide. (Note: This post is strictly about food, not toiletries and other household essentials.)
Here is a sample shopping list, followed by my menu. These are based on the No Frills flyer for the week ending March 22, 2012 and items are ordered by aisle for a faster shopping experience.
Roma tomatoes $0.88/lb or $1.94/kg (about 3 lb)
Iceberg lettuce $0.88/ea.
English cucumbers pkg. of 3 $1.88
Multicoloured sweet peppers pkg. of 4 $1.88
Oranges 10lb box $3.88
Wonder+ bread 675g $1.88
Wonder hamburger buns (12) $1.88
Schneiders bologna 500g $2.88
Lean ground beef (Club Pack, fresh) $1.88/lb or $4.14/kg (5 lb)
Pork loin roast $3.88/lb or $8.55/kg (3 lb)
Raw peeled shrimp 340g $3.88
Old El Paso taco shells (12) or tortillas (8) $1.88
Old El Paso taco seasoning mix $0.88
Barilla pasta (spaghetti or fettucine) 454 g $0.88
Classico pasta sauce $1.88 (1 Alfredo, 1 Tomato)
Uncle Ben’s Bistro Express side dish $1.88
Kraft salad dressing (Italian) 250 mL $0.88
Gold Seal light tuna 170g $0.88 (x4)
General Mills Oatmeal Crisp or Fibre 1 cereal $2.88
Silani cheese bars 500 g $3.88
Milk (about $4.50 for 4L)
Eggs (about $2.50/dozen)
Neilson Butter $2.88
Green Giant frozen vegetables $1.88
Canadian Cheapo’s Menu
Toast with butter
Bread or buns
Pork Chop dinner
Pork loin roast (cut into chops)
Uncle Ben’s Bistro Express side dish
The remaining two dinners can be choice of: a stirfry using the peppers and leftover pork (marinate with Italian salad dressing), pasta and meat sauce or a takeout night.
The total cost of this shopping list is approximately $52. I am assuming that the family consists of 2 adults and 2 children, and that there are no pantry items available. I also did not include any snack items or treats. This list can be adjusted if you already have some of the items on hand (e.g. butter, Lipton Sidekicks), or if you have more/less family members. With a budget of $60, there is enough money remaining to fill in the gaps where necessary, such as spices, snacks or buying additional cheese and tuna.
How do you plan your meals? Or do you make it up as you go along? Let’s discuss!