Aldi Experiment and meal plan

I've decided to make a change. Our tiny little town has very few shopping options and the main one is Wal-Mart. Up until this point, well since having 2 kids anyway LOL, I've done 90% of my grocery shopping there bc it's easier. But I've noticed I'm spending way over my budget every single week. Aldi is nice and so much cheaper but it's so far away that it's never been convenient for every week shopping. But now there's a new one on an easier side of town. It's still 30 minutes away but with the new location is much more convenient as far as traffic goes. So once a week I make my meal plan and grocery list and off I go! I've done this for 3 weeks and the difference it's already made is amazing. I get most of my groceries from there and then go across the road to Food Lion to get my meats and I'm done. Generally I've been shopping on Monday so I meal plan from Monday-Sunday. HOWEVER up until this experiment I haven't meal planned for the weekends and we just eat out on Friday and Saturday. I'm trying to cut back on that so I'm making a point to plan for the weekends now.

So here's what I bought this week and our meal plan. Some of the things on this menu are freezer or pantry items as well.

Monday- Hot Ham & Cheese, Hashbrowns, Chocolate Pudding with cool whip (4yo's request)
Tuesday- Roast, Potatoes, Carrots
Wednesday- Sloppy Joes, Mac & Cheese
Thursday- Fried Chicken tenders, potato salad, green beans
Friday- Quesadillas
Saturday- Hamburger Rice a Roni
Sunday- *out of town*

Aldi- Total $45.47- $5 coupon= $41.43
Chicken Tenderloins 5.49
Whole Milk 1.96
Whipped Topping .69
20ct Tortillas 1.79
Onion soup mix .69
4lb sugar 1.39
Vegetable oil 1.49
2 cans of pumpkin .79ea
2 boxes mac & cheese .25ea
1 box mac & cheese .95
Block cheese 1.49
Sliced swiss cheese 1.49
Sliced ham 2.39
Pickles .95
Chocolate syrup 1.39
Shredded cheese 1.69
2 boxes Rice a Roni mix .69
Peanut bars 1.39
Gummy snacks 2.99
Fruit rounds 1.09
Peanut butter 1.25
PB Cookies (knock off Girl Scout cookies that were amazing!) 1.39
2pks Hamburger buns .65ea
2lb carrots .85
Red apples 2.69
10lb potatoes 3.49
Bread .83
Pretzels .89

Food Lion- I screwed up my budget here, but still stayed under my limit. $30.62
2- 12pk can pepsi 3.33ea
12pk coke 3.66
Fritos 3.29
Doritos 3.49
FL brand Chex mix 1.49
2 Chef Boyardee .88ea
FL brand chips 1.49
3 Slush puppies .50ea
Ground beef 3.51
Ground beef 3.35


Supper time

No matter your season of life we all have one thing in common. Food. The most stressful time of the day for most moms is when it comes time to feed our beloved families. It doesn't matter what is going in Mom's day, those kiddos still need to be fed. There are various ways of dealing with this. Meal planning for the whole week, once a month cooking, stopping at the grocery store on the way home for work, or trying to throw something together at the last minute from whatever odd bits and pieces are in the freezer and pantry because you haven't felt like going to the grocery store in 3 weeks. And it's often the question that is asked the most often "What's for dinner?". In fact as I'm sitting here writing this my husband asked that very question. I don't have an answer today. I used to be so good at meal planning and actually sticking to it. As life has gone on I've gotten away from the strict plan and have a more casual plan. Unfortunately that plan doesn't work for us. We end getting take out way too often or I'm stuck scrambling to make something work at the end of the day. Granted the arrival of the Instant Pot has made those last minute scrambles much easier now that I no longer have to worry about if I have anything thawed or not. But it's time to get back on track. It's time to make meal time simple again and have fun with food.

So what's the point of all this? What's the plan? How are we going to make meal planning simple?

Well that's easy! Have you ever really thought about what you cook for supper? Chances are its the same meals over and over. It's not a bad thing, we know what our families like, what is easy, and what works. So why stray from that? Let's make that work in our favor.

The first step takes time. You will start with recording your meals for 2 weeks. Print a blank calendar for your current month, use a piece of notebook paper, or even your family calendar. Every night for 2 weeks jot down what you had for supper. Or if you have a great memory you could just go back over the last 2 weeks and write down what you had and just use that. Personally I do not LOL

Now when your 2 weeks are over, take some time and sit down with your list of meals. Were they all well received? Were they all easy for mom (or whoever cooks in your home)? Mark out any nights that were take out and replace those meals with other family favorites that may not have made the list.

Are you satisfied with the 14 meals you have left? Don't make it complicated. There's no need to replace a night you had hot dogs with pot roast because you'll set yourself up to fail. There's nothing wrong with hot dogs for supper if that works for your family.
Once you have your list, that's it. You're done. There is your meal plan for the next 2 weeks. And the 2 weeks after that, and the 2 weeks after that.

Tack this list somewhere in the kitchen you'll see it. Now you'll know at a glance what is for supper. But don't be afraid to move meals around. Maybe a night you have spaghetti written down, you're home all day and want to fix something more elaborate from the list. Go for it. Do what works for you. This list is just a guide line.

But not only does this make meal planning easier, it makes grocery shopping easier. If you see something on sale that goes along with one of your meals you'll quickly know how many you need to stock up on until it goes on sale again.

Give it a try. See if it works for you.

Until next time. <3