Thursday, October 1, 2009

Meal Planning {the SeRieS} : Grocery Run #1

This morning, I needed to make a quick grocery run so that my son and I could eat lunch today. Yesterday, we ran out of bread for our typical sandwiches so it was a must that I go before his nap. My plan was to get bread, milk, lunch meat, a couple pieces of fresh fruit and a couple snacks for my husband to take to work with him. That's it, a quick, small grocery run, the typical weekly purchases. Well, that is not what happened. Usually, I am not a fan of going into the store without a plan or a list of some kind because if I do not have a list and stick to it, then I spend WAY too much money and buy things I don't NEED. BUT, today, I think I did okay because I did have an idea of what I needed at home as far as meat and a few other items and my HEB store was having great meat sales this week. My stock of meat in my freezer was getting low, so I have been waiting for a sale to happen. For most of the year, I only have to buy chicken, fish, pork, and beef roasts, because my husband is able to provide us with ground meat from his hunting trips. But it is has almost been a year since his last trip and we are down to our last pound, so I have been waiting for a sale on the extra lean ground meat.

-Bananas 1.34lbs $0.66
-Honeycrisp Apples 1.55 lbs $4.63 (Please don't judge me, they are really good and only out a short time. This is the first time to buy them this season and probably the only.)

Meat: Total = $26.82
-Deli Lunch Meat $4.67
-2 Bags HCF Boneless Chicken Breasts 4lbs each $5.96/each (Usually, $9.96 each)
-93% Lean Ground Meat 3lbs $2.99/lb
-Pepperoni slices $2.50

Cheese: Total = $20.59
-5 bags of Shredded Cheese $1.69 each (Usually, $2.19+ and all expires Jan '10 or after. This is not a one month supply.) Total = $8.45
-6 boxes of Sliced Natural Cheese $1.19 each (Usually, $2.50+ and all expires Feb '10 or after. This is not a one month supply.) Total = $7.14
-3 blocks of Mild Cheddar 3/$5.00 (Usually, 2/$4)


-2 bags of Goldfish $1.86 each
-1 bag of cookies $2.00
-1 box of granola bars
-1 box of peanut butter crackers

-1 gallon of whole milk $1.99
-1 large carton of vanilla yogurt $1.79
-8oz of sour cream $0.79
-1 box of stick butter $0.65

-loaf of bread $0.78
-2 cans of non-stick cooking spray $1.49
-1 box of pizza sauce $2.67

Shopping Total: $78.85
Saved: $17.59 (no coupons were used)

So about $48 was spent on meat and cheese alone. That is a lot of money on only two of the food groups, BUT I also will not be buying meat or cheese for months. A 4lb bag of chicken lasts at least a month at my house, because there are only two adults and a baby. I currently have 2.5 bags of chicken, so I should not have to buy again until mid-December. I will, however, watch for sales, so I am not stuck paying full price when I am out. Like I said in the first post, you have to make this work for your family. My budget allowed me to do a little bit of a stock pile today and I also had the space in my refrigerator and outside freezer to store all of the extra meats and cheeses.

In the first post, I talked about choosing which store you shopped at and how often you shopped. I do a mixture: a big stock up once a month and weekly trips for fresh items and things we run out of, and I also shop at two stores.

Store #1: HEB

It is the store I tend to go to on a weekly basis. Here are a few reasons why:

1. Convenience
2. Good Store Brand
3. Overall Good Prices

As you probably noticed in the pictures, almost all my items that I purchased were HEB brand or Hill Country Fair Brand (which is another store brand only at HEB). Of course, there are items that we do NOT like and stick to the brand name, but for the most part HEB brand works well for my family. The downside to buying store brand is there aren't many coupons unless they come directly from HEB, which they do have several coupons around the store for buy this, get this free, etc. but most of the time I do not have coupons to use. The upside though is the items I do tend to purchase there are because it is the best deal that I have found so far.

Store #2: Kroger

For my big stock up trip once a month, I go to Kroger. Here are a 2 reasons why I shop there too:

1. They double and triple coupons.
2. They have a shoppers card.

How do I choose what items to buy where? Well, at the end of the month, I make a menu for the upcoming month and list out everything I will need for each meal. **I will get more detailed in the next post.** Once I have that list together, I break it down into two lists: one for HEB and one for Kroger. Since I go to HEB weekly anyway, I tend to pick up the items needed for the month on my next trip and then head to Kroger another day. There are times that I go to both stores in one day, but not always, most days that is too much, especially if I have my son with me.

With your family's schedule, buying your groceries at two stores may not be doable and that is okay, just decide which store gets you more for your money and go from there. I could use manufacture coupons at HEB for items I buy at Kroger but I choose not to for the sole reason of Kroger double and tripling them.

More to come.

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