Eating, we all have to do it — Whether you live alone or have a large family to feed eating has to be done. Finance and business expert Dani Johnson says the majority of excess spending from your budget comes from eating. Shopping for groceries, eating out, quick trips to the coffee shop, and extra convenience store trips are robbing you and your family. But in your busy life how do you STOP excess spending on food without making yourself crazy? In this article I am going to share simple steps to stress less about food and have $200-$500 monthly grocery savings.
What Causes Excess Spending On Food
Over the past 7 years I have been working diligently to get a system in place that has helped me lose weight, save hundreds of dollars a month and keep my family healthier and happier. If you want that too keep reading.
I don’t know about you but in my house stress comes from poor planning. If I don’t have a task list for my jobs (homeschooling or home-business) or a list of what I am feeding myself and my family that week I get stressed out and anxious. And that’s when I end up making the quick and poor choice of eating fast food or stopping by a restaurant — spending more than I normally do on weekly groceries. Often, I’ll feel guilty after and usually my son and I get congested and icky-feeling.
And you know how it is, if you don’t have a plan, you will likely not eat on time — and you’ll find yourself and your family turning into the grouchy anxious hangry bunch — scientifically speaking your stress hormone levels literally go up. All 4 of us are affected by what we eat or the timing of food in some way. We have 2 who think, act and feel way better MSG, dairy, gluten & sugar-free and 2 whose personalities change if they don’t eat regularly.
What you eat each week can literally affect everyone in your home.
Food is First my friend Dr Jihan Thomas says. She has been helping people get and stay WELL for almost 20 years too plus being a mommy of 3. So, again Food FIRST. Let’s dive into the SIMPLE SYSTEM to have success with your food this week.
The Simple Food System – 5 Simple Steps For $200-$500 Monthly Grocery Savings
1) PRIORITIZE: Look at your calendar and find what is a priority for you this week. Write that out and work from there.
Here are some questions to ask:
- What is important to you and the family this week?
- Are you focusing on losing weight, reducing or eliminating sugar, gluten or dairy from your diets, or increasing your protein intake because you have been lifting weights in the gym?
- Or are you part of our WAR ON DEBT Program and Getting your Grocery Budget down to $25 a person per week?
- Are you traveling this week?
Example calendar activities: Teaching classes Monday and Thursday nights 6-9pm. Kids game Tuesday night. Husband has kids Monday and Thursday nights. Hubby is trying to lose 15 lbs this summer and I am with him.
Example priorities this week: Healthy meals. Prepped meals for Monday and Thursday. Packed lunch type dinners for Tuesday night.
2) LOOK: Now look in your cupboards, your freezer, your fridge and see what you already have. Write some of the items down that need to be used or could make some kind of meal. If you eat all your food each week like we try to do you may just make a mental note of any leftover items. Look in the circular of your preferred grocery store and circle really good deals on things you use frequently and are almost out of or things that on sale and may be good for meals.
3) MEAL PLAN: Planning your meals involves two steps:
- Collect & save recipes your family loves and those you want to try.
- Pick your weekly meals from this collection of meals.
For example: I created a folder of my favorite meals to cook and what my family likes and a few that I want to try. I like Fit Couple Cooks on YouTube for new recipes; I have made some of their recipes and they are really good and healthy.
Every week I go to that folder look inside and think about what we had the previous week, what my family likes and the priorities we have for the week. I will write down 4-6 dinner meals depending on the week. We eat out one meal a week.
4) MENU PLAN: This will help you plan your dinners, lunches and leftover days. If you are single or have just 2 of you in the house and you have busier evenings you may want to consider bulk cooking so you have meals for 3-4 days out of the week prepared ahead of time.
I start with the dinners planning the crockpot, instant pot or leftover meals for the days I work and my husband takes care of the kids.
Lunches: In our house lunches are leftovers, soups, salads, one sided toasted cheese, egg salad, almond butter PBJ’s, a Sweet potato or even apple and almond butter. We will have carrots, cucumbers, gluten free chips as a side or snack but I don’t like the kids to have sandwiches everyday. I think it makes them more congested even gluten free and carbaholics.
Breakfast: In our family we have a staple of about 3 things for breakfast:
- Eggs in some way or with something.
- Gluten Free Pancakes or Muffin-like cake
We don’t buy cereal because it’s not a good way to start your day and it’s costly. (But that is my opinion)
Here is a picture of my Meal plan for the week on my Dry Erase Board.
5) GROCERY LIST: The final step is to create your grocery store list of items you are buying. This saves you time and SOOO MUCH MONEY. Really, I am not joking going with a list and knowing what you want to cook makes grocery shopping so easy. My other trick is to shop in the early morning before my husband goes to work. Shopping without kids is faster.
Food Success Meal Planning System Results
At first the 5 steps may seem like a lot of work, but it is SO worth it!! Let me share with you a recent example of how I went from $32.63 a day on groceries to $13.26 just by using the Food Success Meal Planning System. Check out the picture below!
The first receipt is without doing the Food Success Meal Planning System and grocery shopping without a list. I spent $81.58 and it fed us for 2.5 days, which is an average of $32.63 per day. It was Father’s day and I thought I would save money by not eating out but I was tired and distracted and ended up buying a $17 cheesecake. Yes, I love my husband, but I know I could have found a healthier cake he loves for less had I planned ahead. I also spent $10.24 on pre-made meatloaf that was overpriced — I could have made it way cheaper and quickly. If I wasn’t in a hurry to throw it in the Instant Pot I could have purchased an unmarinated roast for $5-8 dollars cheaper.
The second receipt (on the right) was from using the Food Success Meal Planning System: $132.63 fed family for more than 10 days, that’s $13.26 per day.
Easy Simple Step to Save Money on Groceries
So there you have it, simple & easy YOU CAN DO THIS! Plan on setting aside 1 hr of time every week to do your steps when you first get started but once you get real good you can do it in 20-30 minutes.
I can grocery shop in as little as 25 minutes early in the morning but I kind of like taking my time alone so I give myself 50 minutes.
My ultimate goal would be to have meals, menus, and grocery lists for 6 different weeks so I can just pull out a plan already done for me. Add or Cross off anything I don’t need on the grocery list and get my shopping done.
I hope this helps you!
God Bless your Meal Planning, Money Savings, Weight losing Success;
Mary Starr Carter
The Total Wellness Doc and Mom