Ideas and inspiration for efficient living.

Menu planning challenge – Results

on April 6, 2012

Eight weeks ago, I challenged myself to follow a set meal plan and stay within budget for my grocery shopping for the first time in months. You can read about it here.

The results are in! For the first half, I went over my February monthly budget, simply because I started after the first week (so I just followed my plan for the remaining 3 weeks). I wasn’t very successful, but I expected the second month to be better, because a lot of the way I shopped changed.

For the second half of the challenge, I only went over by 13$. It think that is excellent! We have plenty of food and the menu is varied enough that we don’t get bored.

One major money saver I have found is to make one trip at the beginning of the month to buy non-perishable items at the cheapest grocery store I know. This is the only store I shop at that carries all kinds of junk and convenience foods, so the fact that I only go once a month saves me the “extras” that I ended up buying on impulse before.

I started buying more organic produce, such as apples, pears, bananas and lettuce. They are usually the same price as conventional, so they didn’t impact my budget.

I switched from canned to dry beans, they are at least 4 times cheaper.

Instead of buying fresh-baked white French bread to eat with soup, I make my own in my bread machine and make it with whole-wheat. It’s time I put my bread machine to good use!

I make dessert less often, usually no more than once a week, so I am saving on sugar, even though I wasn’t using that much already. We eat dried fruits or applesauce instead and no one minds!

I picked up my first order of organic beef this week. I ordered 1/2 beef with family, so we got a good price per pound and the cost is about equivalent to the meat I buy at the conventional butcher.

I’m also about to join an organic coop, and I will save on everything organic from flour to dried fruit. I can’t wait for a spot to open so I can join!

I’m saving time on my weekly menu planning. My lists are already made, so I look at my pantry and write down what is missing.

I think all the time I put in planning in January/February was worth it, both financially and time-wise. Because of the coop, I’ll be able to afford more organic because it will cost the same as conventional.

I’m pretty happy about the changes our family is making. It’s not perfect yet, but it’s already better!

What are you doing right now to move toward healthier and thriftier eating? 


2 responses to “Menu planning challenge – Results

  1. Becki says:

    I calculated that canned beans are actually more expensive than meat, when you look at the cost per 100g of protein. I wrote about it here: http://foodallergiesonice.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/tuesday-tips-dried-beans/

    Dried beans are the way to go!

  2. wellrunlife says:

    That’s very interesting about the canned beans vs meat! Thanks for sharing Becki!

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