Filling the Fridge

I made my first shopping trip for a month long supply of groceries, and it was a huge success!

We were spending an average of $115-150/week on groceries. (That’s $500+ a month.) Last week, I spent $219 for the entire month, giving us 29 meals! This doesn’t include small meals like sandwiches, etc. I am so proud of myself! (My saving came just in time because we got a $350 bill from the dentist. Ugh!) What’s even more exciting is that my goal was to spend under $400, and I was praying to not go over $600. When the clerk said $219, I almost jumped up and down!

Here’s how I did it:
I’ll start by saying I didn’t go coupon crazy or anything like that. I applaud people who can get groceries for next to nothing, but I simply don’t have that time or patience. I did load a few coupons to my Brookshires Loyalty Card for things I was already buying, but they only saved me a few dollars. (You should definitely get the app for your phone if you’re a Brookshires shopper.)

Preparing for the shopping trip took waaaay longer than I imagined. I went through 10 different cookbooks, searched online, and created a list of meals we’d like to have this month. This took quite a bit of time. It’s surprisingly hard to think about what you’d like to eat for the next 30 days!

I typed up all the recipes in a new “Petrus Family Recipes” file. (I’m still in shock that Matt & I are “The Petrus Family”…weird!) This seemed a little redundant, but I decided it would be best to have all of the recipes in one location, rather than having to dig around for them. This way, we can add and take away, creating a file of our favorites.

Then, I went through each recipe and made a list of all the ingredients I needed. I shopped our pantry to see what I already had, and made a list using tally marks for the rest. I stole this idea from a blog I read, and it worked great. (I’ll do better at remembering where I saw things and giving people proper credit…I’m new to this blogging thing.) Basically, you just write down the things you need and put tally marks next to them as you come across more of that item in another recipe. Genius! I ended up rewriting my list to be sure it was nice and neat. I also put it in order of departments, which made it much easier when I was at the store.

Next, I looked at the Brookshires sale paper. (Probably should have done this first.) I love Brookshires because it’s always nice, clean, and fully stocked. I don’t have time to shop around, so we’ll be saving on whatever they’re putting on sale. (I just won’t drive across town to save .50 on flour.) This week was a great week for my first big trip…so much great stuff was on sale! I adjusted my menu a tad to include some sale items and headed out! All in all, I probably spent 8 hours preparing…maybe a little more. I expect it to go faster as I get more experience.

The big sales at Brookshires really played in to my huge savings. Chicken was buy one, get one for a penny. Most of my menu was new chicken dishes, so this worked perfectly! There were several other things I needed that were on this promotion too, so we lucked out!

I’m also so very proud of my ground beef purchase, so much so that I have to blog about it! I needed 10 pounds of ground beef, and the bulk packages weren’t really that good of a deal. As I’m picking out my chicken, the meat market lady puts out some big packages of hamburger meat that caught my eye. They had been marked to half price for quick sale because they went out of date that day. This was perfect because I was planning to brown and freeze all the hamburger meat when I got home anyway! I ended up paying $20 for ground beef that I was going to have to pay $40 for. As silly as it sounds, I couldn’t wait for Matt to get off work so I could tell him about my steal. Between this and the buy one, get one for a penny sales, we really saved some money this month!

All in all, I’m pretty proud of my shopping trip. Doing my homework and preparing ahead of time, really made a huge difference. So far, I’ve only noticed a few small things that I forgot. Not too bad for my first time! I’m really hoping that having a month worth of groceries in the house and a clear plan will save us some valuable time and money. Guess we will see!

For those interested, I’ll post about my cooking/freezing adventure very soon. There’s lot going on in the Petrus household!

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear them!

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