The Goal of the Grocery Budget Challenge is to be creative with our meal planning and grocery shopping so that we do not over-spend. We don’t want to make our families miserable with bland meals, boring snacks, and not enough food in the house, but we must stay on budget. Lately when I see my bill at the check out, I’m shocked at how few groceries are actually going home with me. This will be a challenge where we’ll need discipline, support, and planning.
On the 30th of each month, between January and November in 2014, we will meet here to discuss our challenges and successes for the month with our grocery budget. Every month, there will also be action steps due by the next meeting.
How Did We Do in March
March’s assignment was to create 2-3 emergency back up meal ideas that store well in the freezer or pantry. Unplanned trips to the grocery store or the drive-thru line wreak havoc on our budgets, so the point is to have a back-up plan for quick meal ideas where no one goes hungry and budgets don’t get busted. My emergency meal ideas include:
- Scrambled eggs, toast and any fruit that I have on hand
- Spaghetti made with pre-cooked sausage and my homemade roasted vegetable sauce. I keep both in the freezer.
- Tacos using pre-cooked chicken or ground turkey that I keep in the freezer and homemade taco seasoning. I usually have salsa and tortillas on hand as they are staples in my kitchen.
My wins in March: I challenged myself and came in under our budget of $450 and spent $425. It wasn’t easy since my husband decided to start a whole foods 21 day cleanse, towards the end of the month, that required him to eat a whole different diet than the girls and I ate. Fortunately, Aldi’s had some great prices on produce this month and that helped.
My challenges in March: Maintaining a $425 budget without eating boring and unhealthy meals and snacks and staying on budget while my husband does a whole foods cleanse. I’d like to reduce our budget further, but I think it would be a stretch.
Action Step 1: Plan your grocery budget for April. Take into account any special occasions, such as the Easter festivities, birthdays, anniversaries, dinner parties, pot lucks, etc.
Action Step 2: Continue to plan your meals and grocery list. For my system, read 11 Simple Meal Planning Tips.
Action Step 3: Maintain organization in your kitchen, it will make meal planning easier. For my system, read 5 Steps to an Organized Pantry.
Action Step 4: Meet back here on Wednesday, April 30, ready to discuss your successes and challenges for the month.
How did you do in March? Did you plan your meals regularly? Did you come in right on budget or did you go over or under budget? And what are your emergency meals that you always have on hand? Please share in the comments.
Also, if you’re blogging about the Grocery Budget Challenge, feel free to leave the link in the comments.
Visit the previous Grocery Budget Challenge Meetings: