I'm on unpaid medical leave from my bank job. I use SNAP benefits to help pay for groceries. My boyfriend buys the rest, and we pool our money for groceries. These are some thoughts from seeing some posts.
First, I'll share what I planned for and what I bought this week Currently, this is my meal plan Monday Sweet and Sour Stir Fry
Wednesday Samosas w/ white rice
Thursday Mini shepherd's pie
Friday Tuna cakes w/ white rice
This is a list of what I purchased at the grocery store, Big Y. I got a big discount on milk since we had a "coin" that gives us extra discounts on certain items (like a loyalty program)
Fat Free Milk ($1.88), Large eggs ($2.15), Cream cheese ($1.50)
Fillo dough ($4.39), Mixed frozen veggies ($2.50), Raspberry sherbet ($1.67), green peas ($1.50), ice cream sandwiches ($2.88)
Yellow cake box ($1.25), chocolate frosting ($1.59), tuna (2 cans for $2.50), chicken ramen (2 for $0.50). pepsi cola ($1.34), pineapple chunks in syrup from the discounted grocery area (2 for $0.64), oatmeal ($2.99), whole wheat bread ($2.50), bagels (buy one get one free: $2.49)
Chicken sausages ($3.99)
Bananas ($1.65), granny smith apples ($2.57), scallions ($0.99), ginger root ($0.76), jalepenos (2 for $0.84), 2lb bag red potatoes ($4.99), strawberries ($1.99), mint ($1.99)
Looking through there's many things we could have not splurged on (such as the chocolate cake, the pepsi and ice cream sandwiches), but everyone's entitled to have something nice once in a while.
A few things:
1) Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan. I can't say it enough! Okay, I can, and that's it, but seriously do this. Go through your cupboards and see what's going on in there. I clean out my fridge and freezer every week to make sure everything is usable and start with proteins.
2) Rice! Oh my God rice. Yeah, I could have gotten healthier rice but I already had a bag of jasmine rice so I used that. I always have a bag at the house. Leftover proteins are easier to have as a meal over rice or with a rice side. It helps with not having to figure out two new sides each meal.
3) EAT before you go. I know you've heard this before, but man those grocery store owners are bastards. The bakery smells right next to where I'm going to buy my produce? You play a dangerous game, grocery store.
4) Take a list. I keep a text file open all week to jot them down when I think of them (vs. losing a piece of paper) and then e-mail it to myself. I also think of the snacks and other things I'll need and put them on there. Make sure you don't forget cat litter, paper goods, etc. Grocery stores usually put toilet paper on sale one week, and then paper towels the next so if you don't see a deal, just wait!
5) Cut down on the drinking. Not just alcohol (Andrew and I don't drink), but soda! I budget myself one bottle each week. I'm a hardcore caffeine addict, and it's been difficult but try to cut back and see how it goes. I'm drinking much more tea and enjoying it immensely. It's also a good drink for meals since I have to wait to drink it and sip it slowly.
So to conclude my rant, seriously think about your groceries. Go through them and think about what you DO need, what you're BUYING and what you can do without. I keep my receipts each week to look over them and make sure I don't overspend. Review it, and really see where your money is going!