Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Meal Planning Based on Grocery Ads

Wednesdays bring new grocery sales. I hope you are inspired to shop and cook from the sales this week! Read my Grocery Deals post to see this week's bargains.

I admit, I often use up all my energy snatching up deals. When time comes to turn bargain purchases into meals, my mind goes blank. I haphazardly throw random things together on the stove for dinner. What works best for me is keeping a stocked pantry and freezer so I can have the variety needed to create a menu. This method is rather impractical. It's better list the meals that would go with the sales as I write the sales in my notebook. While this method requires better organization, it is more time efficient and gives purpose to grocery shopping. How many times have you cleaned out your refrigerator and pantry to find food spoiled and forgotten? My goal is to quit that bad habit by simply taking the next thoughtful step.

For example, this week’s best grocery sales to price-match at Wal-Mart:
(Shop Saturday-Monday to price-match Greer’s 3-Day sale):
WD $1.29/lb grapes, buy 1 lb
WD $0.99/lb apples, buy 2 lb
PUB $1.66 strawberries, 16 oz (or 1 lb)
G $1.50 yellow onions, 3lb bag
G $1.68/lb ground beef (at least 3 lbs)
G $1.98 beef shoulder roast (about 2.5 lbs)
G $0.88/lb chicken portion (5lbs, split chicken breast?)
FW $1 Mahatma brown rice (-0.50 from 2.7 RP, buy 2)
FW $0.69/lb rutabaga, buy 1 lb
G $0.50/lb cabbage, buy 3 lbs
G $0.50 can of tomatoes, Great Value, 14.5 (buy 2)
Total for this example: $25

That’s 4 lbs of fruits, 6 lbs veggies, 8lbs of meat, 2 cans of tomatoes and 2lbs of rice. Yes, the variety is very slim. But I’m almost certain there’s plenty stocked in your pantry, freezer and fridge now to liven this assortment. After making a shopping list, some meal ideas are:

French Onion Soup- using beef broth and onions
Chicken Stew- rutabaga, cabbage, chicken and broth
Chicken and Rice- rice, onions, tomatoes, chicken
Beef Stirfry- cabbage strips, onions, beef
Beef Roast- onions, beef, tomatoes in crockpot
Roast Beef Sandwiches- just add bread and mayo
Rice & Sloppy Joes- crockpot ground beef and bbq sauce
Apple Patties- meatballs with minced apples, shape like sausage

These are only a few meal ideas. If you have bread, pasta, milk, and other staples already, you can really get away with buying the least amount possible. The goal would be to make sure you use up everything that you already have so that you can spend as little as possible. As the weeks go by, and your pantry and fridge gets emptied out, you wallet will still be full of cash because you spent the least possible amount of money at the store. Eating food you already have and curbing spending is a sure fired way to get frugal!

Here are nice menu planners from MoneySavingMom to get started!

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