Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Planning, planning, planning- success once again (and still no dog food!)

I am honestly in shock, jaw dropping shock at the amount of people who viewed and shared my dog food post about how we meal plan and grocery shop.  It has inspired me to post once again about our every other week shopping trip. Yesterday was shopping day.  Honestly I'm impressed by how well we did since it has been 3 weeks since a big shopping trip. I did manage to sneak in a gallon of milk and some bananas while picking up cold medicine last week but that was it!  Yes our house had been plagued with some virus that has overstayed it's unwelcomed visit.  Of course it would happen to be me that it decided it like the best and has been with me for over a week.  Thankfully it's leaving!  And since I was feeling better this past weekend Mr. Bacon and I sat down with a cup of joe and discussed our meal plan.

This time the kids didn't want to stick around to discuss our upcoming meal plan, I guess there was some big construction of lego garages in process in the basement!  But before they headed to put on hard hats, we asked what meals they would like in the next two weeks.  What did our charming kids request?  You might be surprised to see for once tacos didn't make our meal plan list!  However the other usual requests that made their way were pizza, pancakes, and spaghetti.  I'm ok with that!

So what is our meal plan for the next two weeks?
Here is the dinner meal plan.  This went from Sunday October  16th- October 29th (yes we didn't grocery shop until Tuesday!)
Week 1:
*homemade pizza & garlic bread
*Muffin tin meals (a kid favorite on busy nights! Mr. Bacon, Bacon Bit and I had left over Chicken cordon blue that Mr. Bacon made the other night while I worked)
*Chicken and noodles, peas
*Nancy's Meatloaf, Baked potatoes, squash and corn
*Slow cooker country pork chops (pork, potatoes, and carrots)
*Lasagna, Salad, biscuits
*Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo, bread sticks

Week 2:
*Veggie beef soup and sandwiches
*Beef Stroganoff over Mashed potatoes, Mixed Veggies
*Chicken supreme and Normandy blend veggies
*Baked potato bar, Soup (leftover)
*Pancakes & Fresh fruit
*Ham and Hash brown bake, Green beans
*Spaghetti, Salad, & Garlic bread

Breakfasts standards:
muffins, eggs, pancakes, waffles, cereal, breakfast breads, toast

Lunches standards:
Leftovers, sandwiches, tuna, soup, hot dogs, homemade pizza

Snacks that I have planned:
Muffins, animal crackers (still working on that big tub we bought from Sam's Club!), homemade cookies, homemade granola bars, pudding, homemade yogurt, yogurt or pudding pops, fruit,

Sounds pretty good right?  Not too hard at all.  Like normal breakfast, lunch and snacks around here are pretty laid back.  It's more the dinner meals that I need to actually plan out.  So now that we have the food planned, it was time to make my handy list. I NEVER go shopping with out one! It would be way too dangerous if I did. Now since my last post Mr. Bacon and I have decided to increase our every two week grocery budget by $10.  That means we can spend up to $90 every 2 weeks on our everyday grocery needs.  Remember we set out $40 a month for food from Sam's Club (and shop there every 3 months, so we spend about $120). This pretty much buys our meat, pizza supplies, and frozen veggies.  So our monthly total for groceries for the 6 of us is now $220.

On to the shopping trip!

Ma Bacon's Shopping list with prices included:
Onion powder- $.50
seasoning salt-$1.68
egg noodles -$1.68
cream of chicken soup x 5-$5
cream of mushroom soup -$1
bacon -$3.98
sour cream-$1.50
shredded hash browns-$1.97
shredded cheese $4.64
spaghetti sauce-$1.33
hot dogs-$ .88
chicken deli lunch meat about 1# $5.10
1 dozen eggs-$1.68
2 packs margarine-$1.84
potatoes 10# $3.28
2# carrots-$1.12
onion x1-$.91
celery $1.28
apples- $3.68
2# bananas $1
grapes 2.5#- $4.20
squash -$3.83
milk x 2 gallons $5.34
2 loafs bread $3
1 box cereal- $2.32
2 frozen apple juice-$1.84
1 box pudding mix -$1.08
corned beef x2- $1.56
provolone sliced cheese-$3.38
almond milk $2.99
Creamer $1.99
total on list:  $76.96!

what we bought that was not on the list:
Mandarin oranges $1.66
Mini recess pieces (for granola bars) $1.88
pail of vanilla ice cream $5.98 (we are having a party for Little Miss Bacon's 6th birthday soon!)
hot dog buns $1.25

Grand Total for 2 weeks Groceries $87.73

Everything else we had in the house already for making the rest of our meals. Remember we picked up Ground beef, chicken breasts, and pork chops from Sam's Club.  And the ham for the hash brown bake I found left over from Easter yet!  Thank goodness I used my food saver, it looks as good as the day I packaged it!  I love shopping my pantry and freezer first! It saves us so much money and that food we bought actually gets used before it expires.

That wasn't a bad shopping trip. Especially since we lasted three weeks since our last one.  I think having everyone in the house sick for a week helped our budget. No one felt like eating much, but I'd rather buy groceries than have everyone sick!  I'm actually having fun doing the grocery shopping/ meal planning posts. I have a feeling they will continue more often in my future!  I will be posting some recipes from a few of the meals on the menu plan too so please check back for those!


  1. we got hit with a nasty bug over here too-it's way to early in the season to be dealing with this already ugh!

  2. I am so jealous of your grocery budget. I am convinced that part of the reason though that mine is higher is because both my kids are allergic to dairy, one to eggs. So no throwing together any cheesy dish. But we have adapted some of your recipes to work for us. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Ugh, me too. I have one that can have no gluten and no dairy. I'm trying so hard to knock down our grocery bill!!

    2. Great job for publishing such a beneficial web site. Your web log isn’t only useful but it is additionally really creative too. There tend to be not many people who can certainly write not so simple posts that artistically. Continue the nice writing can i feed my dog bacon

  3. I am so impressed with your grocery budgeting!! but your produce and milk are sooooo cheap. A gallon of store brand milk is $4.50 here and produce is just ridiculously expensive. I probably spend $30-40 alone on produce a week and I really only buy apples, bananas, grapes, spinach and carrots. We have started eliminatimg most of the processed foods in our house as we are trying to stay away from food dyes and certain preservatives for Dash and my grocery bill has gone down a lot!

  4. Yes if you have special diet needs and where you live will not allow you to save as much on groceries. But hopefully with meal planning, making a list, and shopping your pantry and freezer are steps that can help you cut back on how much is spent. I am very thankful that MN is a lower cost of living state, it helps us out a lot with our budget.

  5. A friend just referred me to your blog. I have to say that I am now a HUGE fan. We are trying to cut our grocery budget too. Thanks to your website, I am hopeful that I can do it. So just a big thank you for typing this all out. It is so helpful. You mention that you get your bulk from Sam's club. Where do you do your regular grocery shopping?

  6. Thanks for stopping by Cathy! I hope you have found some helpful things to lower your grocery budget. We mainly shop at walmart due to living in a small town and without a long drive that is all we have aviable to us. We make a trip about every 3mths to sams club to stock up on things like meat and frozen items. I do shop farmers markets in the summer time along with growing our own.

  7. Hi Miss Bacon!! I too was referred by a friend, and am loving ur posts! I love the meal planning but I have a question.. you say that you shop at Sam's every 3 months if I remember correctly and you only spend $40.00? Or is it $112.00 for 3 months? And may I ask how many pounds of these meats ur buying? I would love to shop at Sam's!! On my blog which is about 95% healthy meals (every once in a while I find a recipe that I just HAVE to share) so I know how u feel about trying to save money for the fruits and veggies.. its hard! Thank you for taking the time to explain all of this and I look forward too your next shopping trip!! ( I think I might mention your blog in my next blog post too)!!!!

    1. I'm glad you found your way to my blog! We do make a sams club trip about every 3 months. We budget $120 for this trip. (since I posted this we have had to adjust our budgets slightly due to rising food costs, we now allow $140 for the trip). What we buy depends on what we still have in our freezer. We always check before we go. But typically we buy 3-6lb bags of frozen chicken breasts, 25lbs of ground burger/turkey, 2-3 whole chickens, a roast or steaks or what ever else they might have on sale. We like to get there early when they have marked down some of the meats! We do buy a few bags of frozen veggies and some things to make pizza too. That's about it. We stay out of most their asles because that's where we find we use to impulse buy and go over our budget. I'm going to work hard at saving/documenting everything for August and doing another grocery shopping budget trip! I'd love to check out your blog too!

    2. Hi again! Thank you for your reply and all of the info! My room mate and I were discussing your meal and shopping strategy plans and have decided that we are going to try it too! "we" are a family of 4 with 2 girls ages 8 and 9 and it would really help us save some money. And please, go ahead and visit my blog - it's - Hope to see you there!

  8. I just have one question . Now you said you worked as well , do you work 40 hrs. a week or more . I'm assuming just part time and that you do alot of baking ; stocking up on home made yogerts , waffles etc. My daughter has four kids and she spends a fortune on feeding them , would love to help her out ...............

    1. Kim- Thanks for stopping by! I do work, but it is only part time so I am able to do other things to help our budget like preparing the snacks and making yogurt. However on our busy days I still sneak things in like a crock pot meal so we have a hot dinner waiting for us and we avoid eating out temptations!

  9. I would love to see the savings that you see! I am guessing you must do quite a bit of freezing meats and other foods. I noticed that spaghetti, salad and garlic bread are at the end of the menu. How do you keep salad fresh that long? Or other fruits or vegetables? I shop weekly because it seems that so many things go bad by the end of the week. I do freeze meat and bread. Any tips?

    1. Honestly looking back I think I switched my weeks around (week 1/week 2). No lettuce wouldn't last that long. However I have found a nice trick that helps make it last is wash and cut it, place it in mason jars and with my food saver I seal the jar. (I have bought the jar attachment so I can do this) and I have made lettuce last over a week that way! It's great for making lunches for work too. As for fruits, we eat more fruits that can go bad the first week (berries, bananas, riper fruits) and ones that last longer the 2nd week like apples and oragnes. However I have found if I buy unripe fruit I can get it to last into the 2nd week by placing it in the fridge. In summer I sometimes buy a watermelon and don't cut it until the 2nd week. In winter we also rely on our canned fruits that I make when fruit is in season (canned peaches, pears, applesauce ect). For veggies, we might eat up things like cucumbers the first week but carrots and celery will last though the 2nd week so those are lunch staples and snacks then. It does take some work to figure out what fresh produce will last and how long. Once I have figured that out I can plan my menu that way. But many times even at a store they can sit on the shelves for a while. I hope that helps. Planning seems like a pain at first, but once you get used to it, it's easy. I find we can meal plan and make out my grocery list within an hour on a Sat. while I enjoy my coffee!

  10. My husband and I were just talking about meal planning to help increase our savings and to make deciding what to cook easier. I was glad to find you through Pinterest today.
    I also shop every 2 weeks and find it does help me to budget.
    I had one big questions looking at your lists? How do you go 2 weeks with only 2 gallons of milk with 4 children?!?!? We have 3 and I buy 4 gallons on my big trip and pick up at least 1 gallon between them.

    1. We are not big milk drinkers at our house. We do get plenty of our good stuff from yogurt, cheese and veggies but milk was never a big thing at our homes. The kids get 1-2 cups a day and that is all the more they want. Between meals they get water. Thanks for stopping by!

  11. I am also curious as to how you manage milk,, fresh fruit such as bananas, etc

  12. I've found if I make sure to buy fruit on sale, make sure it's firm and store in the fridge that I can get 3 weeks out of peaches, pears, nectarines, plums and sometimes grapes. Apples and oranges will last about a month in the fridge.
    I stock up on canned fruit in juice when I can get it cheap to eat when I can't get a deal on fresh. I have also taken a tip from my mother in law and made fruit salad using part fresh and part canned.

  13. I'm so happy I found this blog!!! We are a family of 5 living on one persons income. 4 adults and one toddler. I can't wait to start a meal plan and start saving money. Luckily we have a stock pile of frozen veggies and frozen chicken to help out. Aldi is a life saver! 89cents for bread, 30cents for yogurt, and 99cents for frozen veggies. Also, milk is really cheap by me (northwestern suburb of Chicago) I usually pay $1.79 a gallon, even at Walmart. Thanks for the idea!!! :)

  14. I wanted to comment in on one thing I haven't seen on here yet. The store shelf labels, they usually have a space where they put the cost per ounce. I find that especially when things come in different sizes it takes a while to figure out which one is the better deal for the price. The per ounce cost makes it easy and you'd be amazed the actual savings you can have just by that. :)

  15. I have a question... Where is the shampoo, conditioner, soap and laundry detergent. Where do you buy them? and how often and much do you spend on them

    1. Hi Kay- Great question! We have a seperate 'other' fund for things like meds, paper products, shampoo, toiletries, ect. We don't use them up very fast. We make sure to teach the kids how you only need a little to go a long way! We do buy them usually with groceries. I do keep seperate money out for those and then divide it up when we get home as to what is left in each budget envelope. You can read more on how we budget and our categories on my post here
      Thanks for stopping by!

  16. Soo excited to find your blog. Loving it!!
    I did want to throw out a thought about working full time and cooking. I used to teach a class (and work.. lol) on meal planning. One thing we did was to start doubling recipes, doubling prep... for example, I make 7-8 lasagnas at a time. I get a couple Costco cans of diced tomatoes (abt $3 each) i wld crock pot a simple marinara.. Costco bag o'cheese, my dollar store always carried "no cook" noodles, saute some meat, ricotta,veggies, line up containers and pump them out. It is a work around on budget, we doubled our budget first month to stock up and ever other night I wld make multiples. In one month, I had a huge stockpile and wld end up purchasing WAY less dinners, and in 6 months had pulled the initial investment (xtra $$ 1st month). Just one trick for cutting time after work... thaw night before, throw in oven or crock pot. I LOVE this blog as we are now focusing on Lowering the budget, but even working full time, with 2 toddlers "the bacon family" concept is great, it takes a good sit down and planning to save time and money in the end (sorry soo long)

  17. Thanks for sharing your frugal ways. I am amazed how little you spend. My son is gluten-intolerant, so we can't have any pasta or bread (unless I get specialist stuff for him). So that wipes out several of your dinners for us. Also we drink more milk than your family. I wish food was cheaper! But this year I canned a lot, and we got a bulk freezer, so it's nice to have food on hand when we need it. Meal planning is definitely the way to go.

    1. Ma Bacon, I leaped with joy when I found your blog!!! We have a family of five- two adults, two active 15 year-olds (think football, and very competitive fencing) and a two-yr-old. I have been struggling to get our budget under control. You provided some very good advice like shopping in your pantry first! I don't know how many times I have purchased things that I already have on hand. One of the biggest challenges I face is cost of dairy and fruit. We live in NYC where milk is $4.75, butter $4.78, and bread is about $2.99. I am fortunate because we have a car, but with gas prices at $4.28 per gallon, I have to determine if it is worth it to drive to the store with the sale or just stay local. I am excited to try this plan. I know my Mr. Bacon would love it if I could lower our food budget. I cook every meal, and most often from scratch, save the Please keep posting menu ideas! Thank you for sharing!!

  18. I appreciate that you are giving tips without couponing. I love to clip coupons when I can, but I certainly don't have 20 hours a week to dedicate to it like some of those thirifty gals on TLC! Thank you for the tips. I am looking forward to seeing how far we can stretch our budget!

  19. My family and I decided to cut way back on our monthly grocery budget (from $700 to $300). In researching how others have done it, we came across your blog. You seem to have some good advice and tasty recipes, so we thought this was a good place to start. Our first trip to the grocery store resulted in about $150 purchase for just one weeks worth of meals. Now, this included some spices and baking staples that we didn't have in the pantry and will only be on the list periodically as they run out. Taking those items into account, we really spent about $90-100. Of course, there were no coupons used and (per my old habits) I probably purchased a bit more than necessary and some name brands at that. I just wanted to leave a comment about this because I know some people say that it is "impossible" to feed a larger family for so little and actually eat well. I'm here to say that it is possible and with a bit more work we will be within our budget. All you beginners should realize that it may take some couponing, or shopping for deals, but it entirely possible. You may spend a bit more to start, but it is very easy to get to your target budget and stay there.

  20. We are a family of 7 (ages 12,10,7,and 5 year old twins)and a loveable dog, and we usually manage to keep our grocery bill at about $250/month, which does include non grocery household items (it does not include the dogfood, which is usually $30 a month). I always love good tips and recipes to help us out! We do a lot of shopping at aldi, but I am going to check out the walmart pricematching policy to see if I can get most of that in one trip. We are considering a membership to the brand new costco nearby,too. Thanks for all of the tips and recipes-very encouraging to hear others making it work on a budget. To note for our $250 budget, my hubby hunts and his family processes the meat themselves, so that cuts WAY down on the cost of meat. The only time we buy burgers is when my family comes over for a grill out (they do not like venison). We also have a large garden and freeze or can veggies for the winter....we just planted a blueberry tree, and 2 apple trees to keep us going now that we have 2 preteens that love fruit. Our biggest expenses are chicken(I try to buy local free range), milk and cereal, but I may take your advice and make some more waffles and such instead of eating cereal so often, as cereal is usually pretty loaded with sugar. anyway, I'm rambling, and I need to be making my list for next week's shopping trip. Great job on here, Ma Bacon!

  21. I am so excited to find your blog! I actually started at the other one you had posted first (I think it was August's shopping list). I still don't understand how you can buy chicken, steak, shrimp, etc. for such a low price. We NEVER have steak or shrimp around here, because we can't afford it! I spent $172 on groceries last week and we are already out. It's only me, my husband, and my 17 yr. old. Now I'm sitting here hungry because we're out of food and we have $30 bucks to our name!! Trying to figure out how to get the most out of it since it's about another week til payday. I don't have any of the things you have on your list, so it would cost me way more. I need someone to go with me to the store and SHOW me how to do it lol. Anyway, I will keep trying, you are my inspiration!

  22. I was searching Pinterest and came across this wonderful blog!!! We are a family of three, need to lose weight and save money..I can't wait to get started!!!

  23. I came across your blog today on Pinterest and it has given me the motivation to get back into menu planning again. We are a household of 6 (4 adults and 2 children) and menu planning is such a great tool. I have started making a lot of our stuff homemade and trying to cut out as much processed stuff as possible too. We do go to Sam's probably every 3 months like you, and spend around $120 also. We don't buy a lot of meat from Sam's (I tend to stock up when it is at my stock-up price locally). We bought a chest freezer last fall and that helps a lot too.

    I would have to say my favorite grocery budget trick is the bread outlet store. I visit one every 4-6 weeks and stock up on 10-15 loaves of bread, buns, and bagels. The one I go to carries Sarah Lee products, so the same bread and buns that are close to $3+ at our local grocery stores, and even Walmart are .80-$1.00 at the outlet store. We can easily go through a loaf a day if we are eating sandwiches or cinnamon toast for breakfast. We are also lucky to have a national chicken manufacturer about 35-40 mins away from here so we visit there every few months too.

    We also have a garden this year which is new to us and I am freezing as much stuff as I can and I am learning to can also. I have started shopping more at Aldi's and less at Walmart too. It is closer for one, and for two, their prices on basics are a lot better than Walmart. Plus, I also love they have the double kids seats on the top so if I have to take both toddlers by myself (2 and 3 year old) I can put them both up there and be done with it! We have tried many of their generic items and have only found one thing that we wouldn't buy again (their version of skinny cow ice cream sandwiches). Even their mac and cheese is good and I am a Kraft girl all the way, and it is like .40 a box.

    As far as household stuff, we still have one in diapers so that is usually $20-$30 a month for her plus wipes. She will be potty training soon so that helps a lot. Please keep up the good work and post some new menu lists! I just started my own blog, and I would love for you to check it out.

  24. I know I am late coming to the conversation but I just found your blog via Pinterest. I am fascinated with your blog. After losing my husband not long ago after a long illness I find myself selling my home and moving to a new city. I am also on a quest to save dollars wherever I can! I don't know if you're till answering comments/questions to this particular blog post but if you were starting from scratch (an empty pantry, frig and freezer) what are the main staples you would purchase in bulk? How do you get a pantry started for one?

    I am finding it particularly wasteful cooking for one person and, as someone else mentioned above, what I often plan for for a Thursday dinner is sometimes not what I am in the mood for when Thursday rolls around. But I stick to it. I just find it isn't particularly satisfying.

    Thanks for a wonderful blog and for being a great inspiration!

  25. okay please help me . we have a family of 5. Help me start this fresh as if I had no pantry which I don't. Please help me.

  26. thank you so much for takeing the time to post this for us!

  27. Cheese, cheese, pizza with cheese and more cheese. So tell me, what's your laxative budget like? Surely your family is clogged up. And by clogged I mean colon and arteries. Let's see that savings when you're pushing up daisies.

  28. Very good article interesting and useful

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