Ok, here we go! Week 5 of my grocery budget experiment!
This week I was all about shopping sales and using coupons at Whole Foods to guide my meal planning for the week. I ended up shopping the in-store sales like it was my job, but I only used one coupon. Even still, I came in well under budget. (Well, technically, we don’t have a grocery budget, but anything under $100 per week is a win in my book!)
Here are some ways to get coupons and find out about sales at Whole Foods:
- Pick up a copy of The Whole Deal (in-store or online)
- Download the Whole Foods app <— includes a weekly sales flyer for your local store
- Pick up the Weekly Buys flyer in-store
- Check out the Sure Deals!
- Take a Value Tour
- Keep your eyes peeled for in-store signage
Here is this week’s shopping, which includes breakfasts, lunches, a few green juices, and dinners:
Not bad, right? I’m pretty pumped about this week’s bottom line. I definitely think it has to do with smart meal planning and shopping in-store sales.
A few tips and tricks from this week:
- Incorporating on-hand ingredients into meals: I mentioned this tip in my Assess Your Kitchen post, but I often build my meals around what is already in my kitchen instead of buying more ingredients. For instance, I bought ground chorizo at Stop & Shop last week, so I incorporated that into a meal this week.
- Eat from your pantry or freezer (at least) once a week. Similar to the tip above, I try to create at least one meal each week using ingredients from our pantry and/or freezer. It’s a great way to save a few bucks and use up food before it goes bad or becomes freezer burned. We had frozen Brussels sprouts with chicken salad wraps for dinner last night and, later in the week, Trader Joe’s French fries (from our freezer) with burgers are on the menu.
- Stick to your list. You’ve probably heard this one a million times before, but it’s important. Once I make my grocery list for week, I really try stick to it unless our favorite items are on sale (i.e. Annie’s Mac & Cheese). Otherwise, I end up with all sorts of random and often fun foods in my cart.
- Nix “fancy” ingredients. Unless I’m making a fancy meal or trying to impress guests, I only buy the really essential ingredients for a recipe. So, often times, ingredients like fresh herbs or fancy oils get nixed from my cooking. (I’ll typically use dried herbs or regular ol’ olive oil to save a few bucks.) I also make a lot of substitutions with whatever ingredients I have around the house. For example, this week, I’m planning to make a pasta recipe that calls for broccoli rabe, but I’m going to use regular broccoli instead.
- Use the same ingredients in multiple meals. Instead of buying all sorts of ingredients to make a variety of different dinners throughout the week, I typically stick to meals in the same “family.” For example, this week I bought chicken breasts and brown rice tortillas—both of which will be used in two different meals (+ lunch leftovers). That way, I save money, cooking time, and the foods will likely all get eaten up. I change up the kinds of foods I buy from week-to-week, so I don’t get bored eating the same things over and over again.
- Buy and cook extra for lunches. Mal pretty much takes leftovers from dinner for lunch during the week, so I always buy and cook a little extra food. It makes planning lunches a piece of cake and helps us save money since we’re not cooking multiple meals or spending money to buy lunch everyday.
This week’s meal plan:
- Sunday: Baked chicken breasts with brown rice, mushrooms, and kale
- Monday: Chicken salad wraps with Brussels sprouts
- Tuesday: Cheddar burgers with mashed avocado + French fries
- Wednesday: Pasta with sausage and broccoli
- Thursday: Potato and Chorizo Dobladas
- Friday: Maine
- Saturday: Maine
- Homemade granola
- Hardboiled eggs
- Chicken breast (for Sunday and Monday’s meals)
Question of the Day
What is your #1 tip/trick for saving money on groceries?