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Grocery shopping & Meal Plans Lock Rss

How do you do it?

DH gets paid monthly and so twice a month we do a big shop, I go to the fruit & veg markets weekly and seem to be at the local shop every other day for this and that... drives me nuts how much we spend on food but I think alot could be saved if I planned better. Just hurts my brain how to do it LOL.

Do you use a spreadsheet or something or just go through the cupboard... whats your secrets all you good planners??
We recently moved out into the middle of nowhere and our nearest Woolies is 1.5 hours away, so I've just had to start doing this too.

Basically I keep a white board on the fridge - any basic staples (flour, sugar, herbs an spices etc) get written on here if they run out or look low.

Then once a fortnight we all sit down and the family tells me what they want to eat for dinner for 2 weeks, and I write a list based on what I need to cook 14 meals (meat, meal bases, anything out of the ordinary etc).

I buy as much milk as I can at Woolies when I go, usually about 15L and that just gets us through, I may need a couple of L at the general store. We have a bakery about 30 mins away and I stock up on bread if I drive the kids up to school, and put it in the freezer.

We have a fruit an veg truck come through town once a week and I buy from him, as I can't buy enough to last 2 weeks from Woolies as we either a) eat it all or b) it goes yuk.

Overall I spend roughly $600 a fortnight on food, that's brekky lunch and dinner for 5 people and I think that's ok. But I love being so organised now, I can't believe I never did this before! I used to be down the shop every day or 2 just for dinner stuff and I think I spent so much more money doing it like that. It's nice to get up in the morning, and go ok that's what we're having and not have to go to the shop to buy the ingredients.
I make a weekly dinner menu and then write down everything I need for the meals that isn't already in the cupboard or fridge so I only have to pop out to get milk and bread during the week.
I sit down with my cookbook every Sunday night and make the list. I found that it has really saved on how much food we waste or food that goes off! I also read about a lady that has a spreadsheet listing all the meals she makes so she can just scan down it to work out what she's going to make that week.
I HATE 'popping' out to grab just a few things, it drives me nuts lol.

Thanks for the replies... I really want to get on top of this, hate wasting food and money. Has anyone else got any planning advice??
Okay, here goes!! We do ours fortnightly. $300 for food. We do a menu plan for 14 dinners and just write that on a piece of paper. So we shop for all of the ingredients for those 14 meals (usually actually about 12 or 13 cause we have takeaway/go out) plus anything needed for lunches, household stuff etc. So on the day we shop we buy fruit and any veg we need for that week. That is usually about $200-250 depending on washing powder, toilet paper and the like. The extra money left over from the $300 goes into a specific food envelope and is used for any fruit and veg the next week, and then there is a bit left over still which we use for niceties such as fresh bread and deli stuff for lunch on the weekend, or something to eat if we go to the markets or something!!!

I find if we don't stick to some kind of plan we can spend sooooooo much money on food.

P.S We also have an 'entertainment envelope' which is $100 a fortnight which we use to go out for dinner/lunch/breaky or something such as the movies. But we mainly use it eating out smile

I usually like to plan for one chicken dish, mince dish, vegie dish, fish dish and one soup dish. I always make fish fingers or frozen crumbed fish fillets with steamed veg for an easy Friday night dinner smile

I'm starting to be motivated to be a better grocery shopper! Keep the ideas coming.
I go shopping weekly, Sunday, as DD#1 is at school mon,tues,wed so I have heaps for her lunch box and that is were my organizing ends LOL!

I buy a few lots of meat, heaps of fuit and veg, heaps of dairy (yogurt, cheese etc) and what ever we have run out of (tissues, toilet paper etc) and then whatever else looks good... usually spend about $300 a week but only go back for a loaf of bread and some milk through the week...

I dont think the $ amount is too crazy as we eat REALLY well and I find the healthier options more expensive but maybe if I was organized I'd save some $ and not waste at end of week!

DD#1- 2004, DD#2 -2006, DD#3 -23/10/08.

I shop fortnightly and use 5 weeks of planned meals (shop 1 I use List 1 and 2; shop 2 I use list 3 and 4; shop 3 I use List 5 and 1 etc) so that its not always the same meals paired up together in a fortnight as it rotates through. We have 2 mince meals, 1 sausage, 1 pork, 1 chicken, 1 fish and 1 lamb or steak meal each week, although they aren't in a specific order.

Each shopping day, I sit down and write out everything I need for each meal and then I go to my pantry/fridge/freezer and cross off items that I already have in the house so that I'm not doubling up on unnecessary ingredients. I then just shop for what I need to get to make up my meals.

I have a Thursday night and a Sunday night meal that are "quick meals" - take about 15 - 30 min to prep as DH goes out on a Thursday night for one of his hobbies and I need to be able to get dinner done easily and Sunday is a day when we are often out visiting so don't have lots of time to organise dinner.

One thing I found that works well for our family (there's the two of us + DD aged 2 atm) is that I try to cook several meals each week that feed 6 so that there is enough for me to make up a second meal to freeze. That way the next time the meal comes around, I don't need to buy the ingredients to make it, I just use the frozen one. This also comes in handy when I've got a week with expensive bills to pay as then I just throw out my meal roster for the fortnight and work out how many meals I can make using ones I've already got frozen.

Something my in laws do (although it takes a while to set up) is they have made up a list on the computer of every item they ever need to buy at the shops (from the grocery section, doesn't include things like meat and veg) with everything grouped into the isles they are located in at their store. As they use something they mark it on their list and then when they do their next shop they just automatically replace anything they've used that week so that they always have a supply of all their ingredients at home. They just add on to the list the meat/veg that they need for the week. My fil told me it took them about 2-3 months to get the list fully organised and I just don't have the patience to do that lol but it certainly works for them.

We get paid monthly too. It took 3 years but we finally worked out a way that works for us.

We used to also go to the local shop every other day for little things.

Now we meal plan for a fortnight every Saturday together. We are also flexible with it in the way we switch Tuesdays with Thursdays etc. From the meal plan we do a shopping list.

We bulk buy a lot of our meat so we have the months worth in the first week. Then every Saturday we walk to the local fruit and vege market and stock up on those things.

We take money out of the bank on the first day of every month and then that is all we have to spend on food for the month. We became more aware of how much we were spending when the last week came and we had not enough left!

By using cash I feel it forced us to plan and be organised.
Worked well for us, not so well for my sister. She'd look at her account when she ran out and said I can afford more so used the card, whereas we stick to our monthly amount no extra dipping.
Thank you so much to everyone who replied, you have given me lots of good ideas smile
I just sat down to do a weekly meal planner and hence how I ended up in this thread...

Basically because DH works away ,2 weeks and home for 1, I am constantly buying too much food for me to get through while he is away, which ends up being thrown out, and am digusted at how much money and food I waste just by not being organized when I go shopping. Also half the time I dont even take a shopping list so end up doubling up on stuff cos I cant remember whats already in the fridge.

I have just made a weekly template on excel and am just planning dinner's at this stage. So this week I am planning around what is already in my freezer and pantry, and then when thats gone I will plan again and shop to the plan... I am really excited about how much money we will actually save by sticking to the plan. Cant wait to go grocery shopping next time!! grin

The only thing that might throw a spanner in the works is that people often 'drop in' the week DH is home and end up staying for dinner (like almost every night, grrrr) so might have to buy meat in bulk and divvy it up in freezer bags so that I have some extra for when this happens!

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