Tag Archives: food & financial diet

Menu Plan & Grocery Round Up: 12/13-12/19

This week we finally saw a decrease in our grocery spending resulting from our monthly menu planning experiment. Our total was $51! That’s about $9 less than what we typically spend.

Because we bought many items earlier in the month, our list was pretty short this week. We also didn’t need to get any meat for this week’s meals, because we already had it. Even though we weren’t spending more than normal in the beginning of the month, our advance planning helped us spend less this week.

This is only one week, so I don’t have enough information to know for sure if monthly menu planning will be cheaper in the long run, but I’m certainly feeling encouraged enough to try it again in January. Most importantly, it made menu planning and grocery shopping a lot less stressful on the weekends. For that reason alone, I liked it.

Here’s this week’s menu plan (my final full week before our holiday vacation!):

Saturday: Chicken wraps and oven fries
Sunday: Steak fajitas
Monday: Dinner party with friends — we’re bringing chocolate chip cookies for dessert.
Tuesday: Bacon wrapped chicken (We’re using Monterey jack instead of blue cheese and omitting the pecans to reduce the cost of this recipe.)
Wednesday: Chicken noodle soup
Thursday: Broccoli chicken stir fry
Friday: Black bean quesadillas

Looking over this menu, it actually looks a lot more expensive than my typical menu plans. That’s why I’m so excited that we spent less than normal this week. Without monthly menu planning, this menu would have cost a lot more.

I hope you had a successful week at the grocery store!

Visit OrgJunkie for more menu plans.

Menu Plan & Grocery Round Up: 12/6-12/12

I’m just going to come out and say it: I love monthly menu planning. Shopping this week was so simple. We already knew what we needed, and even bought some of it last week. That freed up some of our budget to spend on sale items to use in coming weeks. I think we might continue planning monthly instead of weekly from now on.

Our spending isn’t lower (we still spent about $55 this week which is pretty average for us), but planning for the month has saved us a lot of time and hassle.

As you may remember from my post’s last weekend, this month we’re on a food & financial diet. Monthly menu planning is part of that, but we’re also trying to eat healthier without spending more money.

Here’s our menu plan for the week:

Saturday: Sandwiches
Sunday: Grilled tilapia fillets and squash
Monday: Chicken and rice soup
Tuesday: Grilled chicken salad
Wednesday: Garlic chicken with broccoli and cheddar
Thursday: Chicken wraps
Friday: Bean and cheese burritos (recipe below)

Bean and Cheese burritos (from the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook)

8-inch tortillas
1 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp. cooking oil
16 oz. fat-free refried beans
Shredded lowfat cheese
Shredded lettuce

Saute onion in oil until tender. Add refried beans. Heat through. Fill warmed tortillas with 1/4 cup beans, and cheese. Roll up and bake in 350-degree oven about 10 minutes until heated through. Serve with lettuce and salsa.

Check out OrgJunkie for more menu plans.

Menu Plan Monday & Grocery Round Up: 11/29-12/5

As part of my Holiday Food & Financial Diet this month, we spent Sunday morning planning out three and a half weeks worth of meals to last us until we leave for Christmas. These menu plans were especially tough because I’m also putting some restrictions on my diet to ward off holiday weight gain and hopefully cancel out the damage I’ve already done.

We originally planned to reduce meat consumption, but I’m also limiting my wheat and carbs consumption (to an extent) for the next three weeks. Trying to come up with vegetarian meals with pasta and bread off limits was pretty much impossible. So we planned a pretty chicken-heavy meal rotation with a few healthy carb-heavy meals (like red beans and rice) and lots of soups for the next three weeks.

Chicken wasn’t on sale this week, but we have enough in the freezer for this week’s meals. We’re crossing our fingers that it will go on sale next week so we can buy enough to carry us through the month. (Cross your fingers for me!)

This week’s total was $52. That total isn’t necessarily true to what we spent for this week alone, though. Because we already have meals planned for the next three weeks, we picked up several sale items that we know we’ll need in the near future.

Here’s the first installment of our December meal plan:

Saturday: Thanksgiving leftovers
Sunday: Turkey sandwiches
Monday: Chicken fajita tortilla soup
Tuesday: Chef’s salad
Wednesday: Red beans & rice
Thursday: Vegetarian chili
Friday: Grilled chicken wraps

I hope you’ll come back for week two of my month-long menu plan!

Now head over to OrgJunkie for more menu plans.

Introducing the “Holiday Food & Financial Diet”!

Photo by rwhitlock

I don’t know about you, but the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are a dangerous time for my waistline and my bank account. The holiday spirit tempts me to overspend on entertainment and gifts, and the holiday parties and meals tempt me to eat and eat unhealthy foods.

This has been a weekend of gluttony, and with our trip home for the holidays coming up in a scant 24 days, I’m looking ahead to another week of overeating, overspending, and expensive travel. This year, I want to nip it in the bud. I don’t have the will power to resist on the holidays themselves, but the least I can do is control myself in the weeks in between.

So how are we controlling our diet and spending in the next few weeks?

1. We’re reducing our consumption of meat.

We have a couple steaks and a few chicken breasts in our freezer. We’ve decided to pick up some extra chicken breasts to last us through the month, and then ration our consumption for the next few weeks. This will not only reduce the amount of meat we’re eating and buying — it will also ensure that we’re not leaving a freezer full of meat when we head out of town for Christmas.

2. We’re trying month-long menu planning.

I typically only menu plan on a week by week basis. This month, we’re going to try planning out our meals for the next three weeks in one fell swoop. This will allow us to maximize purchases, ration our meat consumption throughout the month, and clear out the pantry before our trip.

3. We’re cutting our entertainment spending and staying home instead.

With our big trip back to Indiana coming up, we’ve decided a few weekends at home won’t hurt us. This will not only free up some extra money for travel and gifts, but it will reduce the temptation to overeat at a restaurant or splurge on movie theater popcorn.

We’ve cut our usual $50 for entertainment out of the budget. Typically this goes to the occasional movie or meal out. This month we’ll stay home on the weekends, utilize the library, and revisit some movies we haven’t watched in ages.

4. We set a budget of $50 each to shop for each other — and we’re sticking to it.

Both of us were willing to give up receiving gifts from the other, but neither of us wanted to give up the fun of shopping for the other. Finding that perfect gift for the person you love most is so much fun. The trick is to avoid the temptation to go overboard. Last year, we were limited to $50 each, and we had a lot of fun finding small, practical but thoughtful gifts to put under our tree. We decided to maintain the tradition. Nothing big or flashy, just small tokens.

5. We kept our Christmas shopping list short.

It can be so tempting to shop for anyone and everyone in your family this time of year. I firmly reminded myself that the people I love who love me will understand that we’re not in a place financially where we can buy flashy gifts for our extended family. We used an Amazon gift card I received through MyPoints to shop for our nieces and nephews who are 5 and under, and we’re putting together gift baskets for immediate family.

I’ll revisit this topic throughout the month to let you know how I’m doing. I hope you’ll join in, too! The holidays themselves may throw off your financial and fitness goals, but if we can control ourselves for a few weeks in between it might not be so bad!

If you’re planning on joining in, please leave a comment and let me know how you’re cutting back for the next three weeks!