January Meal Plan: Weeks 1 & 2

We have some really big “get out of debt” goals this year and a key component to accomplishing them is to make and stick to a meal plan.  This year I am trying to figure out the best way to shop–weekly, twice a month, or monthly.  Right now, I’m feeling that twice a month will work best for us.  That is long enough to still keep produce fresh and short enough that I actually have room to store everything.    We have $350/month set aside in our budget for groceries.  It’s going to be tough, but I’m super excited for the challenge!!  Let’s get this new year started off right.


Frozen waffles, cereal, yogurt and granola, sausage and eggs


Kids pack their lunches for school (peanut butter or turkey and cheese tortilla, string cheese, yogurt, fruit, and sometimes a treat).

I either pack a sandwich or take leftovers.

Scott is on his own–sandwiches at home or lunch out, depending on his work schedule.


For this 2 week period, I planned 13 meals.  Leftovers or a meal at the grandparents is almost certain for the fourteenth day 😉

  1. Rotisserie chicken with mashed potatoes and fruit
  2. Chicken and broccoli slaw egg rolls with rice and fruit
  3. Brown beans and cornbread
  4. Deer burgers with french fries and fruit
  5. Homemade mac ‘n cheese with broccoli and fruit
  6. Chicken tacos with rice and beans
  7. Buffalo chicken philly with glazed carrots
  8. Turkey bagels with pretzels
  9. Blueberry muffins, sausage, eggs
  10. Baked ravioli with salad
  11. Sloppy joes (with deer meat) and french fries
  12. Grilled chicken salad
  13. Shrimp scampi pasta

A couple of notes:

  1. I keep frozen and canned veggies on hand, so we add those into our meals, they’re just not listed.
  2. We keep carrots and a chopped salad in the fridge to mix in with meals.
  3. We also keep canned and fresh fruit to add into meals.
  4. We buy very few prepackaged foods, but when we do it’s because the convenience of the item outweighs the time commitment (i.e. frozen waffles when we’re rushed in the mornings!).

This week’s shopping trip to Food Lion was $181.  I was pretty pleased considering we didn’t have too many things in our pantry or freezer and this trip should cover almost all we need from now until the end of two weeks.  We will most likely have to go back for milk and maybe a few more fresh fruits and veggies.

Remaining Grocery Budget: $169

October Grocery Haul: Sam’s Club

Morning!  I’m writing this morning as our van is being worked on.  We were headed to church this morning, when a radiator hose blew.  I swear, it’s always something.  This once again reminds me that it is so important to save money where you can, so when these unexpected expenses occur, you have a cushion.

The area I have the most control over is our grocery budget.  I constantly find myself looking for the best deals and can spend hours in the store analyzing prices so I don’t overspend.  I decided starting this month, that we need to make a price book.  I am looking at every item we buy and figuring out the best price per ounce, pound, or item (depending on which is most fitting).  I have been hesitant in the past to shop at bulk stores because I didn’t want to overspend.  Well folks, the way to avoid overspending is to know the unit price.  We decided to start with a few items at Sam’s and then I’ll compare when I shop at Food Lion.

Our grocery budget is set a $425 for the month.  This includes all food and household items, but not eating out (we have a separate budget for that).  This can be quite difficult sometimes!  Many of the items I bought will carry over to the next month and then I’ll pick new items to stock up on for November.

Sam’s Club

Gatorade, 24 20 oz bottles   $12.98    $.027/oz  (for lunches)

Vanilla Wafers                      $4.98      $.17/oz

Charmin Toilet Paper           $24.98    $.003/sheet

Grape Tomatoes                    $4.98      $2.49/lb

Cayenne Pepper                    $4.88      $.35/oz

Prego Spaghetti Sauce          $7.98      $.06/oz

Bell Peppers                          $6.98      $1.16/per

Salsa                                      $4.92      $.10/oz

Sharp Cheddar                      $5.58      $2.79/lb

Elbow Noodles                      $5.68      $.06/oz

Gogurt                                   $6.98      $.22/per

Animal Crackers                   $5.98      $.077/oz

Veggie Straws                       $4.98      $.25/oz

Tortilla Chips                       $3.88       $.14/oz

Pretzel Thins                        $5.98      $.20/oz

Shredded Parmesan             $7.48      $.31/oz

Nutella                                  $9.88      $.18/oz

all Free ‘n Clear                    $14.28     $.063/oz

Norton’s Fish Sticks             $11.98     $.07/per

Rotel                                      $5.48      $.69/can

Kale Salad                             $2.58    (for my lunch at school)

Asian Salad                            $2.58   (for my lunch at school)

3 Dozen Eggs                         $2.26      $.75/doz

Dry Pinto Beans                    $6.13       $.038/oz

9 Volt Batteries                     $16.98    $2.83/per

Total:       $193.78 including tax

I have typed these prices up on a Google spreadsheet so I can pull it up on my phone whenever I’m at a store and compare prices to see if it’s a good deal or not.  There’s no sense in stocking up on an item if it isn’t the cheapest possible.  I’m excited to have a starting point and this will definitely be a work in progress over the next several months!!

The next part of planning out our menu is to look in my fridge, freezer, and pantry and see what needs to be used up before it is wasted.  After I look at all of that, I will fill in the few items I need to get from the regular grocery store.

Check back later for October’s first weekly menu plan and shopping trip!


Why I DON’T Let My Husband Grocery Shop

Another post I wrote a while back and am transferring from another site. I really enjoy being able to look back and see what was going on in our lives!

After a really stressful week, my husband so kindly offered to go to the grocery store.  I was so excited, not because I hate to go grocery shopping–it’s actually calming sometimes compared to being at home with the two little monsters–but I just really wanted to lay on the couch and do nothing.  As he’s walking out the door, he tells me to text him a list because he’ll go to the store after he leaves his part-time job (What a great man!  He works so hard for us!  And yes, I’m feeling a little guilty writing a post that seems like I’m complaining when he’s going to the grocery story for me after leaving his second job…)

A little while later, I dutifully looked through the cabinets, saw what we need to get our week started and to pack Little Man’s lunches.

“milk, string cheese, Capri Sun, applesauce cups–store brand, green apples, and bananas”

I sent that text with my fingers crossed because I know good and well that he has a hard time sticking to the list!  I hate to waste money on the extras!!!  I was actually waiting for a reply text that said something like, “What aisle do I find applesauce on?”, but I got nothing.  Relieved, I zoned out for a little while longer and relaxed with some mindless TV.  (Again…feeling a little guilty…)

Well, a little while later, the front door opens up, and in he walks with about 5 full bags.  UH-OH!  What has he bought?  Now, I’m not a huge food prude, well maybe a little, but I do try really hard to stick to a budget and not buy overly processed food.  I started unpacking the bags, and this is what I found.
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Healthy Snacking: Prepping for the Whole Week

Can I have these gummies? Can I have a piece of candy? I’m huuuuuungryyyyyyy!!!!

I realized a few weeks ago that my children our family had a snacking problem.  The problem wasn’t so much that we were hungry, but what we were choosing to snack on.  Crackers, leftover candy from whatever recent holiday, gummies, and cheese were our go to choices.  I preach to my children the importance of eating healthy, but I was part of the problem because I wasn’t making these foods readily available for little hands to grab.  There was always a bowl of apples on the counter, but every time you’re hungry you don’t want an apple, right?  So I knew I needed to make a change.

I bundled up both of the kiddos and we headed to the store!  They were going to choose the fruits and veggies they liked and thought they would eat throughout the week.

Here’s what we ended up with:

  • strawberries
  • grapes
  • sliced cucumbers
  • sliced carrots
  • chopped iceburg lettuce with shredded carrots and diced cucumbers

Just buying the healthy food wasn’t enough.  I knew that if they were going to eat this food willingly, I had to get it all ready for whenever the feeding frenzy would begin.  So, I got to work.  I washed, peeled, and cut every vegetable and fruit we bought; packaged them up and we were set!  But we needed the final touch…ranch dressing!  If they will willingly eat carrots and cucumbers for a snack, I am more than happy for them to pair it with ranch–whatever it takes!

Yesterday morning Little Missy came upstairs with this in her hands:

Success!!  She did this all on her own, so much better than a processed pack of gummies!

Want to load your kids up with fruits and veggies?  Try this.

1.  Take them to your favorite produce place.
2.  Have your kiddos pick out what looks good to them.  They will be more willing to eat their own selections.
3.  Once you’re home, wash, cut, and prepare all fruits and veggies.
4.  Place your prepared food in kid-friendly containers and put it low enough in the refrigerator so they can get it on their own.
5.  Let them know they are free to eat these whenever they get hungry, or whatever your snacking rules may be.  I told my kids this was the food they were always allowed to have and they didn’t need my permission to get it.  (Would I really tell them, “No, you can’t have a carrot right now?” ?!?)
6.  Step back and give yourself a pat on the back!  Way to go Mama!

What snacking options do your kiddos enjoy?

A Traditionally Modern Mom

A little something I wrote a couple of years ago…

Life is complicated, there is no way around that.  Just when you think you have things figured out, something new comes along and makes you reevaluate everything.  Like when you just get out of college and think you know what you want, only to realize that degree you just paid for doesn’t seem to hold much value.  Or, when you get married and realize you want to go back to school, quit your job, and then only afterwards try to figure out how you are going to pay for everything.  Or, when you decide to have children and realize you really don’t know ANYTHING!
My wonderful husband and I have been together since college.  As a naive 19 year old in love with perhaps an even more naive 20 year old we decided we needed each other and would figure out this “adult” thing together.  We started off pretty good.  No credit card debt and a solid plan (as solid as barely 20 somethings can make) for the future.  Marriage, kids, owning a home, and careers.  We thought we knew what we wanted and how we were going to get there. Fast forward 12 years and here we are.  Marriage, kids, a home, careers, and all the debt that has come with it.  Somewhere along the way I think we failed to realize how different this modern world is from the world we grew up in.  Wait?!? I have to work 40 hours AND clean AND cook AND be super mom?

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Why I Only Shop at ONE Grocery Store | grocery shopping, food lion, frugal


Can I just say how much I dislike loathe Walmart?  I walk in that store and I immediately feel like a crazy person.  Droves of people are there, I am almost guaranteed to see someone I know-especially if I’m there without having fixed my hair or done my makeup, and there is just a general sense of chaos.  But alas, if you live anywhere like we do, then Walmart has become a necessary evil.  If I need anything other than groceries, I almost always have to go there or drive 45 minutes to the nearest point of civilization.  About 99.9% of the time I choose Walmart because I don’t want to spend the gas money to drive somewhere else.  While I don’t have the luxury of choosing from many stores to shop around at for most items, I can at least choose a different place for grocery shopping!!

I have found that deciding on one place to grocery shop consistently really does make sense for us when trying to save money.  I don’t have the time or desire to drive around to different stores trying to snag every little deal.  Time is money people!!  So here are my Top 5 reasons to stick with only one grocery store.  Drum roll please…

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