My husband’s paycheck has been very inconsistent lately and since we live solely off of his income, it makes a monthly budget very difficult to accomplish. We tend to make weekly budgets instead, as well as a monthly budget. Although the monthly budget tends to be more of a guideline, whereas the weekly budget reflects our reality.
Recently, our grocery allowance has declined drastically. As a mom, it breaks my heart to hear my young children cry for more food to eat when I’m not sure if there is any more food in the house left for them to eat. No mother wants to be in a situation like that. Please understand, God has never allowed my family to go without a meal and for that I truly am thankful, as I know first hand how serious true poverty is. That does not mean that there are weeks where it is not a struggle to put food on the table. That just simply means that I have never struggled to the extreme that others have. I have never known true despair, I have only witnessed it in the lives of others. With that being said, I would still prefer not to struggle.
That my friend, is where both creative and strategic menu planning comes into play. I have outlined for you a copy of my most recent shopping list and the cost per item, as well as a list of items I already had on hand in my pantry. You will see for yourself that I have created not only enough dinners to last a week but that I have also included lunches. It is also important to note that I bought enough chicken to set some aside and freeze.
Dinner 1) Fajitas and Rice
Dinner 2) Frozen Pizza
Dinner 3) Meatless Spaghetti, Bread, Side Salad
Dinner 4) Buffalo Chicken Tenders, Mac and Cheese, Roasted Broccoli
Dinner 5) Breakfast
Dinner 6) Oven Baked Chicken, Twice Baked Potatoes
Dinner 7) Chicken Fried Rice
Lunch 1) Turkey and Cheese on Crackers with Watermelon
Lunch 2)Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches with Orange Slices, String Cheese
Lunch 3) Chicken Rings, Peas and Carrots
Lunch 4) Grilled Cheese with Watermelon
Lunch 5) Grilled Chicken Salad
Lunch 6) Leftovers
Lunch 7) Peanut Butter on Crackers, String Cheese, Peas and Carrots
Items We Had On Hand
A Sleeve of Crackers
Half a bag of Frozen Peas and Carrots
You can see from that list of items I had on hand that nothing was too extravagant.Most items such as the peanut butter, and bisquick actually go pretty far.
Items I Bought
Rising Crust Pizza 3.89
Chicken Rings 3.99
String Cheese 2.79
Shredded Cheese 2.99
Iceburg Lettuce .99
Mesquite Turkey 2.29
Tomato Sauce .25
Tomato Sauce .25
Tomato Sauce .25
American Cheese Singles 1.79
Chewy Granola Bars 1.79
10lb Russet Potato Bag 3.49
Thin Spaghetti 1.49
Honey Wheat Bread 1.29
Seedless Watermelon 2.99
3-Ply Facial Tissues 1.19 *Non-Food Item*
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast 5.63
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast 6.98
Boneless SkinlessChicken Breast 6.82
*Non-Food Item* – 1.19
Grand Total $51.54
I know the description on my chicken breast was very generic and because of that I’ve included a picture to show you exactly what I bought.
Also, I did something with my chicken that I suggest every working mother working do. Go ahead and cut up your meat just like you would for the night that you would be cooking it. Then place it in a ziplock bag and write the name of the corresponding dinner onto the bag. So for instance, this week I made a recipe that called for chicken four nights, therefore I had four ziplock bags with chicken in each one. One for each meal. This really helps cut back on your prep time in the kitchen during your work week and it won’t sacrifice the taste of your meal like some precooked meats would do.
I used my two larger packs of chicken first and because of this I was able to freeze some meat in the third pack for next week’s menu. Hopefully you will be just as blessed.
As a final word of encouragement, I am terrible with coupons so no coupons were used.
Did you like this cheap grocery list for 4? If so, check out more from Lauren at FrugalMommas.com