A Sample Week of Meal Plans and Grocery Budgeting

Jul 23, 2020 | Budgeting

Each Thursday I look at my family’s calendar and plot out what I’ll make each night for dinner. Here’s a peek into how that process goes each week:

Take Inventory and Restock

The first step is to go to the pantry and fridge and see what we’re either out of or running low on. This week is a cursed week in which we are almost out of dog food, cat food AND cat litter, so my first step is to add those to my list. There just went $40 of this week’s grocery budget…

We are almost out of Little Bites muffins, which the kid eats daily for breakfast. We are also low on fresh fruit, so I add strawberries, bananas and pineapple to the list. My kids aren’t big veggie eaters, but they will eat a lot of fresh fruit so I try to keep plenty of choices available throughout the week. I also need more heavy cream (I use it in my coffee to keep carbs low) and someone has been snacking on the semi-sweet chocolate chips and the jar looks almost empty.

Make Dinner Plans

Next I browse my recipe books (Pioneer Woman is one of my favorites) and Pinterest boards for dinner inspirations for the week. This shopping trip will cover from Friday to Thursday, so here’s my plan:

  • Friday:
    Chicken Wild Rice Soup for me (no one else will eat soup so I make a batch and freeze servings for later)
    Hawaiian Chicken and Rice for the family (chicken tenderloins in a teriyaki style marinade, served with pineapple and jasmine rice)
  • Saturday:
    Pizza mushroom caps for me (portobello mushroom caps filled with pizza sauce, mozzarella and pepperoni)
    Pizza bar for the family (refrigerated pizza crust with individual pizzas they can top as they want – usually pepperoni)
  • Sunday:
    Takeout night – budget $30
  • Monday:
    Chicken and broccoli (for me) an pasta (for the family)
  • Tuesday:
    Pork tenderloin and potatoes (for the family) and asparagus (for me)
  • Wednesday:
    Chick Fil A night – budget $20
  • Thursday:
    Cheesesteaks and fries (for the family) and all the cheesesteak fillings on portobello mushroom caps for me

Plan for Breakfast and Lunch

We rely heavily on prepackaged foods for breakfast. Namely protein bars and Pop Tarts. I have a cup of coffee flavored with a tablespoon of Ovaltine and a splash of heavy cream to last me to lunch. For lunches I pack leftovers for my husband. The kids also eat a lot of leftovers for lunch while they are at home. Once they start going back to school I’ll need to start planning out lunch box fodder.

Tally Up!

After plugging in all the ingredients into my Walmart app, the total comes to $130.90. Now I could submit the order for pickup, but I prefer to use the cart as a shopping list and get my food in store. Why? It is literally the only time all week that I have alone time. My husband works from home on Fridays during this pandemic so I can schedule all the errands best done without kids. Grocery shopping is one of them.

Now our weekly grocery budget is $175, but my goal is to get right at $150 each week. This week we will go over both, and I blame our animals. LOL But really, $130 at the grocery store plus $50 in takeout puts us at $180 for the week. I may skip getting a bag of frozen chicken breasts. It is $10 and I technically don’t need it this week, so that would be a good place to trim.