Grocery Check-in: Doesn’t Happen
Most weeks, I don’t have to post a grocery check-in because we very successfully avoid mid-week shopping trips. They just don’t happen. Even with being out of town last weekend, I was hoping we could eek by this week.
Alas. Alack. It was not to be.
I managed to resiste through Monday Night, playing a couple successful rounds of What’s for Dinner, supplemented by what we hauled back from our weekend away. The Husband realized long before I did, if we hoped to have anything resembling a meal for the rest of the week, a trip would have to be made. Making a grocery list and meal plan after work seemed all kinds of foreign. Spending the money made me wince. Unavoidable.
I usually write Sunday Spending quickly and under duress. Perhaps I shouldn’t admit that to the readers of said material, but its true. While I think tracking my grocery spending is an important exercise, and has certainly enabled me to consistently bring down our overall total, it’s just another “thing” in a long list of “things” to squeeze into my weekend. Not only do we have to do the grocery shopping, but I have to write about it too. WtF was I thinking!? Consequently, I don’t get much of a chance to talk about meal plans, methodology, etc., which I sometimes think is lacking. Here on a lonely old Thursday though, when I still have plenty of “things” of course, but most of them are work or exercise associated. “Things”, I’m all too happy to blow off. Terrible, I know.
Lucky you, wins a trip into the inner sanctum of our grocery plans and eating. I’ve recently defended my grocery buying as frugal, in a non-traditional way. Of all the methods I employ, the meal planning and the grocery lists are truly the most important. Without those, all the purchased coupons, bulk buys and barter wouldn’t be worth a damn. It would all languish in the land of “Now, what do I do with this?”
Without further ado, here’s our week in food.
Sunday 6pm: Arrive home. Begin putting away accumulated groceries, and assembling possible ingredients for tonights dinner, ending up with whole wheat pasta, shrimp, mushrooms, spinach, asparagus, and onions topped with parmesan and chopped olives. No hunger melt downs. I cooked too much pasta.
In your meal makings, discover a stash of pristine mexican leftovers, abandoned by petsitter. Will you eat them? Defrost lamb for tomorrow’s dinner. And so the meal plan makes it through Monday.
Monday Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, spinach. This will be the same as Tuesday Breakfast, Wednesday Breakfast…
Monday Lunch and Snacks: After a brief text message convo about the viability of said leftovers with petsitter, they are divided and taken for lunch combined with tortilla chips brought home from In-Laws. Add fruit, nuts, homemade yogurt and granola for snacks.
Monday Dinner: Roast Lamb with Chard and blackberry jam. chard stems and other bits are saved for very grateful chickens. Realization dawns that the lamb gyros you hope to have tomorrow will require pita bread at the very least. Relent to an inevitable shopping trip, take thorough freezer inventory. Begrudgingly create proper grocery list and menu for the rest of the week.
Tuesday: Aforementioned Lamb Gyros, with roast potatoes from cupboard. A quick like meal to accomodate an evening vet trip.
Wednesday: Tuna Noodle Casserole, using those noodles I cooked too many of.
Thursday: Lamb Stew, if the lamb bones prove plentiful. Otherwise be prepared for Taco Soup.
Friday: Homemade Pizza, Canadian Bacon, pineapple and jalapeno. Strawberry Shortcake.
Saturday Salmon? Weekends are free-form. We list options, but may not necessarily eat them depending on our social calendar.
Breakfasts we’ve discussed. They are followed by a snacks of yogurt and granola or oatmeal and PB. Lunches this week were saved by Shrimp Salad, a creation we planned to try a few weeks ago and never got to. Stuffed into those pitas, or solo with a side of chips. It was the mid-day protein we needed.
This week is a little off due to extenuating circumstances. Most weeks are. There’s always something. As much as you have to plan to have Spaghetti for dinner on Sunday, you have to realize that you need to have sandwiches on Tuesday to accomodate an appointment or class or a work out you need to make up (ahem).
After all that, we ate well and spent $47 at the Local Market. Combined with our $71 over the weekend, that’s $118 for the week, raising our monthly total to $503. We’ve gotten away from our once a month shopping and meal plans. Overall our spending has decreased with that departure. But, weeks like this, or any week in which I’m not feeling meal plan inspired (Ok, most weeks) I miss it. Having it written in stone, or even dough is certainly helpful when the going gets rushed.
How do you do your meal planning? What elements do your incorporate? How do you plan for irregular schedules and one-off events?