Spend Less on Groceries – 5 Tips for Menu Planning

Many of us look to spend less on groceries when looking to reduce our overall budget.  The USDA data shows that on average, Americans spend about 10% of their income on food.  For households in the lower tax brackets, the percentage may be as high as 36%.  That’s a lot of money going towards food!  There is one simple step that I’ve taken over the years to significantly reduce our grocery spending while not sacrificing the quality of what we eat.

spend less on groceries

Spend Less on Groceries with Menu Planning

If you are trying to spend less on groceries, menu planning is one of the easiest things you can do to achieve that goal.  Yes, menu planning can be a drag but I find that with a plan we typically eat better and spend way less.  Knowing what to buy prevents you from over spending at the grocery store.  Knowing what you are going to eat saves you from wasting food (Americans tends to throw away a lot of food!) and frees you from decision making during a busy week.

Did you hear that?  Not only does menu planning save money, it can also help alleviate stress.  Knowing what you are going to make any given night and ensuring you have everything is one way to take one stressor off the table.

Are you serious about your goal to spend less on groceries.  Do you want to take some of the anxiety out of your weeknights?  Then you need to start menu planning.

Weekly Menu – Thanksgiving Week

Weekly Menu Plan

Welcome to another week of menu planning at Wonder Woman I’m Not.  Thank you for stopping by!  It’s Thanksgiving week which is one of my favorite weeks in the world.  I’m technically on vacation this week (technically because I am doing some work from home) and I have high hopes as to all the things I am planning on accomplishing.

Regular readers will notice that it’s been a couple of months since my last post.  Unfortunately, things have gotten a bit chaotic at work due to some unfortunate news and my work days have been long.  Like 15 hours a day long.  As my work days were beginning to shorten, I came down with a terrible cold (surprise!) and my recuperation has taken some time.

One thing that I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that when life hits those icy patches where you are in an uncontrolled spin, you have to learn to let go of things.  Menu planning, housework and blogging were the things I needed to let go of.

Fortunately, my husband totally rocks in the housework department.  He has kept the house clean and both of us in clean clothes.  When I whined about how useless I was, he told me not to worry that he didn’t mind carrying the housework burden when I was dealing with my work stuff.  He’s a keeper!

Another fortunate thing is that restaurant don’t mind selling us food!  We’ve done a lot of take-out and cereal in our house the last couple of months.  It’s easier to share the aftermath versus letting you know upfront my week consisted of not cooking 🙂

Now that things have calmed down and I’ve taken some time to rest up, I’m ready to start cooking again and making some progress on some projects around the house.  As I mentioned, I’m on vacation this week.  I’m hoping to get our Christmas decorations up (first time ever I didn’t get our porch decorated for fall) and do some organizing around the house.

 

Weekly Menu

Turkey_WWIN

Turkey Dinner – the kids came over last night for dinner.  The four of us celebrated Thanksgiving in a non-rushed, non-chaotic way.

Spaghetti & Meatballs_WWIN

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Steaks on the grill

Steaks on the grill

White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili

Cranberry Relish_WWIN

Dinner with extended family on Thursday.  I’ll be bringing the Cranberry Relish and wine.

Pizza

Leftovers

That’s it for us, what are you serving?  I hope all of you have a fabulous Thanksgiving.  Take time to stop and enjoy some time with the people you love and care about.

I’ll be linking up at I’m an Organizing Junkie

 

 

 

Weekly Menu

Weekly Menu Plan

Things have been pretty crazy here in the WWIN household.  Just when you think you’ve got your stuff together, chaos reigns and all you can do is hold on tight and enjoy the ride!

As I mentioned in my last post, Belle moved out so we’ve been spending some time helping her get her room together.  Until she could get in the house, it was hard to know exactly what she would need.  When she moved in, we didn’t have time to get any blinds up so she’s spent the last couple of weeks with white sheets hanging over her windows.  This weekend we finally got the blinds up and what a difference it makes!  She has a lot of windows in her room so the light and the breeze is incredible with the windows being open.

Mike and I had planned to take vacation last week but due to some global issues wreaking havoc at work, I was only able to take a couple of days.  We crammed as much as we could in those days and enjoyed some kayaking as well as a couple of day trips.  This weekend I’ll be taking another day trip with my parents as well.

Want to hear some exciting news?  I’ve signed up with an art gallery in town and will be displaying my photography professionally for the first time.  It’s been a little stressful getting everything prepared but I’m really excited.  Hopefully people will like my art and I’ll make some money 🙂  I also have a number of photography shoots coming up through October.

You’re now caught up on the news in our household!

This week is going to be fairly low-key.  I have a work dinner and a photography shoot.  Friday night one of my co-workers is hosting a get together so I’ll probably be baking some cupcakes for that.  Other than those few things, I plan on veggie all night and finish touching up the photos from the last few shoots that I did.

Weekly Menu

 

Weekly Menu Plan

Greetings!  I hope all of you had a fabulous week last week.  Mike and I were off most of the week enjoying a small staycation.  It rained off and on all week so we were only able to get out on day trips two of the days.  The other days we hung around the house, took in a couple of movies and ran errands.  It beat working!

One of the things we did was check out Bergsbaken Sunflower Farm.  I have been wanting to take sunflower pictures and ran across the festival on Facebook.  Since it was one of the nice days we headed up to Cecil to check it out.  It was pretty low key but seeing that many sunflowers was neat and I definitely got a bunch of pictures.

Lone Sunflower

We also went over to Spring Green where we checked out the House on the Rock.  There were some neat aspects of it, but I was disappointed.  They did have a nice Oriental garden as well as the Infinity Room. The best part of the trip was having lunch at Freddy Valentine’s in Spring Green.  If you are in the area and are looking for a great place to eat, that would be it!

House on the Rock_Infinity Room

As you know, we are a Plated.com family.  However, our son has recently been ordering from Hello Fresh.  He had a couple of free weeks to give away so he gave me one.  I choose to use it this week, I was all excited about saving money on groceries.  That is, of course, until I found out I was a bozo and am also getting a box of Plated as well.  Oh well, I guess I’ll be able to do a side by side comparison as to the differences in the two meal delivery systems.  My guess is that a couple of the meals will be carried over into next week.

I don’t even know why I got a box this week considering how busy I am.  Tuesday I’ll be getting home late because I have a senior photo shoot after work.  Wednesday I’m planning on trying out a restorative yoga class in town and there will be at least one dinner out with friends.  Sometimes I think if my head wasn’t screwed on it would fall off!

Oh well, without further ado, here’s the menu.

Weekly Menu

Weekly Menu Plan

Well, that was a quick summer!  Mike and I enjoyed a couple of days of warmth while we were off work and then bam!  Fall was here 🙂  Oh well, although it was a bit chilly the rain has let up so I can’t complain and it was nice have a couple of days off.  Hopefully the warm weather will return and we will have an actual summer before fall really does arrive.

As you know, I’m always looking to save a buck.  With that in mind, I’ve had our cable bill on my radar for a long time.  It jumped up significantly last fall but with my mom being so ill I just couldn’t do anything about it.  I finally got around to call the incumbent cable company only to be told that I didn’t realize that my $180 a month for no frills was a steal.  A steal they say!  I guess they must think I’m an idiot because I’ve done my homework and I’m well aware that I was overpaying quite a bit for my cable.  Although I called twice, they weren’t interested in keeping my business.  So, after 27 years with Time Warner (now Spectrum) we made the leap to a new cable company.  I’d love to ditch cable all together but Mike has a few channels he just has to have!  We’ll see if the $65 a month I’m saving is worth it.

While I was in the money saving mood, I also stopped in at our cell phone company and was able to save another $65 by changing our plans.  In a couple of months another $40 will drop off once two of our phones are paid for.  Between both of them, I saved over $120.  Not to bad for a couple of hours of work!

I shared last week how I was making this year the “Year of Me” and all the steps I have been taking.  I’ve been doing well with my eating for breakfast and lunch but my evening meals have been hit or miss.  We’ve been skipping our Plated.com box and it’s had a negative impact on our healthy eating.  With that in mind, I went ahead and ordered a box for the week.  Eating well versus easy is definitely a struggle for me.  While I like to go easy in the summer, healthy is more important at this stage in my life.

This week I’m also traveling two days so Mike and Belle will be having a couple fend for themselves nights.

Weekly Menu

weekly menu planning

Let me tell you, my Facebook page was lighting up tonight!  The Packers are well loved here in Wisconsin, even though I don’t watch football (and may be the only person in the U.S. who didn’t watch the game against the Cowboys) I was happy to see them win.  Instead of watching football, I was cooking food for the week.  Probably a much better use of my time.  🙂

When planning our menu earlier this week I was pretty pumped because at least two of the meals I chose I had everything I needed to make.  I was gleefully rubbing my hands together thinking about all the money I was going to save.  Pulling up to the check out counter I was still feeling somewhat confident given that my cart was not overflowing.  Until I realized that the things we bought were expensive.  I was quite bummed when we came in exactly at our budgeted amount.

Once I got over my initial disappointment and started analyzing everything I planned on making, I realized that we are still coming out ahead.  Here’s the deal, for the “Year of Me” I’m concentrating on eating healthier.  With that in mind, I have prepared breakfast and lunch for myself for the entire week.  Given that I usually spend $8 – $10 a day on breakfast and lunch, that’s between $40 – $50 dollars a week that I’m potentially saving.  Knowing that I was able to buy the extra food within my budgeted amount, that’s truly a win.

In my desire to be healthier and have more energy, I’ve been dissecting what my issues are.  Constant fatigue, headaches and achiness are the norm (although since the holidays my headaches have been better).  I saw a doctor over the holidays who did some blood work and recommended that I see a pulmonologist for my sleeping problems.  My lab work showed that I was extremely low in the Vitamin D department (not at all unusual for women living in cold climates) so she’s started me on a high dosage supplement.  As of yet it hasn’t kicked in but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

I also did my sleep study this week although I’m praying I didn’t mess it up.  I’m a bit worried that I may have turned the machine off in my sleep and erased the information when I woke up.  I guess we will see on Monday!  Most people would probably hope they don’t find an issue, but given my battle with sleep I’m kind of hoping that there’s something they can do.  On a typical night I wake up about 6 times with at least one two hour stretch where I can’t fall back to sleep.  I’m quite sure that’s one of my reasons for the fatigue.  It seems like no matter what I do to help me sleep, I just can’t get through the night.

At the core, I believe that eating a cleaner diet will help a number of my issues.  Over the last couple of years, our evening meals have improved drastically with the addition of Plated.  Before we started getting boxes, a lot of my food contained processed foods instead of whole foods.  Dinners are now mostly whole foods.

Of course, If I do have sleep apnea, eating better isn’t necessarily going to help that, but some of my other issues it definitely will.  My next step in the “Year of Me” is to start an eating class in February.  There were some other labs that came back with some not so great numbers (mainly the inflammation number) so I’m hoping that doing another step change in my eating habits will make me feel better.

So, for this week there is no breakfast or lunch out.  Only whole food that has been made in my kitchen.

Weekly Menu

weekly menu planning

Welcome to the final countdown before Christmas.  Unfortunately this is probably going to be another year where I slide into home plate a little disheveled and worse for the wear.  This is the weekend that I usually get all my Christmas decorations up by so far I’ve managed a couple of wreaths and the front porch Christmas tree.  That leaves a lot to do yet!

I skipped my Plated.com box this week because I want to use up stuff in the freezer.  It isn’t until I don’t have it that I realize how it truly makes my life so much easier!  Tonight I’m planning on making a prosciutto pizza and I’ve forgotten to buy the figs.  Ugh!  I also thawed meat from the freezer last night for spaghetti only to have it smell a bit funky.  Soooo, I used the meat that I was planning for the meatloaf to make the meatballs.  I will definitely need another trip to the grocery store.

Weekly Menu

weekly menu planning

Happy Thanksgiving!  The official countdown to Christmas (well, the official WWIN countdown) starts at Thanksgiving.  When my grandparents were alive  this was the week that we celebrated Christmas.  In addition to celebrating Christmas, I’d take the full week off and we’d spend it baking Christmas cookies and starting decorating the house.

I do have to admit that I’m struggling a bit this year.  Even though it’s been a couple of years, I really miss them being around.  Add to that my mom is still in the nursing home and this Thanksgiving is shaping up to be different than those past.

However, we have so much to be thankful for.  We still have the tradition of having lunch at my in-laws.  My mom is making progress and we have a surgery date scheduled for the end of the year and I am blessed with a lot of friends and family.

On the menu front, we decided to skip the Plated.com boxes for the rest of the year.  Our grocery bill has been through the roof and we have quite a bit of food in the pantry and freezer.  I’ve decided we’re going to be eating from the pantry from the rest of the week.

A few years ago I shared a few ideas on how to host Thanksgiving on a budget.  If you’re looking for a few ways to trim the budget, you can find it here.

Weekly Menu

weekly menu planning

It looks like fall is finally upon us.  If we weren’t feeling the nip in the air before, it’s certainly there now!  The end of the year will be here before we know it.

This week we celebrate Belle’s 20th birthday.  I can’t believe how big my girl is getting.  She was one of those “strong willed” children and let me tell you, the days were really long!  That was back in my I can do it all phase and I certainly didn’t appreciate her the way I wish I could have.  Fortunately she’s grown up into a wonderful adult, who although still a bit strong willed is a joy to have around.  Most of the time 🙂

We have another treat this week in that Mike is going to be home most nights.  He has some training at work so he’s working days this week.  Although it messes up my schedule a bit, I’m always happy when we get to see him more.  To celebrate Belle’s birthday we’re taking her to Red Lobster for dinner one night.  Not my favorite place, I think the quality of the food doesn’t quite live up to the prices, but it’s Belle’s favorite place to eat and we’ll have a good time.

Other than the birthday celebration, it’s going to be pretty quiet around here.  As I get older I certainly appreciate those weeks more and more!

This is most likely going to be our last Plated.com of the year.  As you’ll notice, the last two weeks I’ve had at least one carry-over.  As Christmas comes barreling towards us we’ll be busier than normal.  I figured this would be a good time to try and clean out the freezer with all the odds and ends we have in there.

Do you want to try a week of Plated.com for free? (just promise me that you’ll actually use it) and I’ll have a link sent to you.

Weekly Menu

weekly menu planning

Greetings!  I hope all of you enjoyed a wonderful fall weekend.  Well, at least everyone in Wisconsin.  Hopefully all of you in the path of Matthew made it through safe and sound with minimal damage.

I laid pretty low this weekend.  Saturday I putzed around the house and cleaned.  Sunday I went and bought the stuff for the front porch (ran out of steam to actually decorate) and oh yeah, I was a cooking machine!  The Plated.com menu was a little meh this week so we’ve opted not to take a box.  Of course, that means I actually needed to rack my brain for a weeks worth of meals.  Given that we’re just now pulling out our winter menu it wasn’t to hard, all the meals are fresh and we aren’t sick of them yet 🙂

Saturday morning I also received word that the mother-in-law of a friend of mine passed so I wanted to make sure that I could put together something for them as well.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a cooking day but here’s what I ended up making.

The chicken noodle soup (minus a bowl for me!) and one of the loaves of bread went to my friend, everything else we’ll use for eating throughout the week for lunch or snacks.

Here’s what is on the menu for the week.