1) We don't receive WIC assistance any more
2) We are trying to eat healthier
3) We are participating in a Produce Co-op
4) Pinterest :)
5) School age children
6) I've started working
Here is what a typical week of shopping looks like:
Saturday the sale ads arrive in the mail. I look at what is for sale and see if we need to stock up. Then I make a menu based on what we have in the house and what is on sale.
Sunday after church I run into Aldi and possibly Super Target or Walmart. Our church is 1 mile from these saving not only 30 min driving each way, but gas $ as well!
Monday I run into the local grocery store to purchase items on sale in town we need. For example every 4-6 weeks they have an awesome sale on chicken breasts selling 3lb for under $5. I don't work Mondays, so after the groceries are put away I cook ahead a few things for the week.
**Produce Co-op is picked up or delivered 2 times a month. Every month or 2 I make a run to Trader Joe's
Here's a break down of the changes:
1) We don't receive WIC, so I need to purchase milk, eggs, cheese and produce which we once had subsidized. This has forced us to look hard at how much milk we were drinking and cut back, upping our water intake. One thing that has saved us: Aldi now has LACTAID and ALMOND MILK!!! :)
2) In an effort to eat healthier our eating has turned to mostly produce based eating. For example, tonight for dinner we had:
chicken sausages (Trader Joe's)
sweet potatoes (co-op)
steamed broccoli (co-op)
mac and cheese (on sale at local store)
3 produce options to 1 protein and 1 starch. This has allowed us to do a few things 1: more meatless meals, 2: less meat centered meals 3: smaller starch portions
In an effort to eat healthier a few things have been taken off the grocery list: 1: soda 2: ice cream (instead we eat these!) 3: pre-packaged breakfast bars (replaced with yogurt and fruit!)
3) Purchasing from the Co-op, Aldi and price matching Aldi produce at Walmart when necessary has made produce shopping incredibly reasonable. Always trying to purchase in season produce (like the HUGE seedless watermelon for $3.99 today) and purchasing frozen where needed has helped also. Trader Joe's sells tri colored peppers frozen for $1.69. The equivalent of about 3 or 4 peppers per bag. Peppers by us are at least 50 cents, at most a few dollars a piece.
4) Pinterest well, this one is pretty self explanatory :)
5) school aged children: due to the boys being lactose intolerant they are unable to purchase milk at school. They can purchase orange juice. While doing this our son noticed they serve deli sandwiches as an option for lunch that looks appetizing. So, for $1.75 including a drink, sandwich, side and fruit my son is happy to purchase a lunch and I am happy to not have to think about packing lunches and remembering to purchase lunch items!
6) Basically, now that I'm working, I haven't really had time to focus on coupons. This in addition to the fact that I have trouble printing coupons from my MAC has caused me to adjust a few things.
1) I shop at Aldi (which doesn't take coupons)
2) I make as much from scratch as possible (thank you Pinterest!)
3) I limit leftovers to dinners only (allowing one work night I don't need to cook)
4) During the week lunch is purchased at school (for US, cheaper then packing)
5) We have simplified our eating.
On average we have breakfast for dinner a few times a month and homemade pizza a few times a month, and then I have tried to have a variety with the rest of the meals. Chicken tacos is a popular favorite as well. Pinterest has broadened my cooking horizons as well and Tuna Melt Quesadillas were a HUGE hit last week!
Over all the budget hasn't changed much, I purchase from Market Day when I can since it is a HUGE fundraiser for our school, and it seems we are always in need of something extra that week like body soap, toothbrushes etc.
What I'm most happy about is that we have adjusted our menu to a much healthier menu and have not had to add in money. Additionally, working forces me to adjust our weekly schedule SIGNIFICANTLY, and yet by meal planning and then shopping I have actually steam lined the week allowing for less time to be spent on cooking and shopping.