One of my main responsibilities in the Hart household is planning our meals and grocery shopping. I thought I’d share with you my methods and maybe they will be something that you can use in your own kitchen!
1. Give yourself a budget
I shop every two weeks and I usually spend about 125-150$ for 2 people. It is on the higher end if it’s a week where I am replenishing our toilet paper and paper towel supply. Once you figure out what works for you, stick to it.
2. Figure out what meals you will make from now until you go grocery shopping again.
This part has been kind of trial and error for me as a fairly new wife. Sometimes the meals I make are a total bust, and sometimes they are amazing! If you want some husband approved recipes, here is a list of several that Jason has loved!
Beef Stroganoff (ground beef, 1 sm. container sour cream, 1 can cream of mushroom soup, mushrooms and onions if desired. Serve over shell noodles)
Beef Stew (meat, potatoes, onions, peas, carrots, tomatos, mushrooms in a crockpot for 4 -6 hours).
Tilapia Fish Tacos (I usually only follow the recipe for the tilapia. For the toppings I use mango, tomato, & sour cream)
Meatless Chili (1 can of: kidneys, black, pinto, & great northern beans. 1 can of corn, 1 can of diced tomatoes, sprinkle of chili powder, basil, and cumin – crockpot or stove)
Kung Pao Chicken (This is a basic recipe. We like cashews instead of peanuts, and I add baby corn & bamboo shoots.)
Tip 1: Don’t plan meals for a specific day because your plans may change. You’ll be disappointed if you’ve planned to make a certain meal and suddenly your other half wants to eat out. Instead, just make a list of all the meals you have planned out and cross them off each time you make one. This way you can make whatever you feel like having and you know you’ll have the ingredients for that meal in the kitchen.
Tip 2: Rollover any meals you didn’t eat on your last trip to this week and eat them first.
Tip 3: Always think about what you already have on hand when planning a meal, and also what you don’t have. If a meal calls for four or five different spices that you don’t have, you’ll end up spending a lot of money on spices if you want to make that specific meal.
3. Make up a grocery list based on your meals
When I first started out, I used this printable grocery list to help me out with my shopping in the store. If you’d rather write out your grocery list, the same principles apply. Try to separate your groceries based on where they are in the store. This way you can go from one section of the store to another without having to backtrack.
Go through your menu for the week one meal at a time and write down or highlight on your printable grocery list the things that you need for that meal. For instance, if I’m making shrimp scampi I need 1/2 pound of shrimp, white wine, parsley, garlic, and butter.
Tip 1: Think about the items you already have in stock. In this case I have garlic, butter, parsley, and cooking wine on hand so all I need is the shrimp!
Tip 2: Remember to add the amount of items you need if you have more than one meal that calls for it.
4. Finally, add the essentials to your list.
Milk, eggs, and bread don’t really need to be planned for but we use them all the time. Don’t go to all the trouble meal-planning and forget the simple things!
5. When Shopping…
- Limit yourself on impulse buys! I try to give myself one “fun” buy like a dessert for the week.
- Compare prices between brands! Don’t just buy the first one you see.
- On the other hand, don’t always buy the cheapest priced item. If dairy products, bread, or meats are marked down it’s usually because they are about to expire. Unless you plan to use them right away, it will save you money in the long run to buy the regularly priced item.
Hopefully this is helpful to anyone who is new at cooking/shopping!