Grocery Budget Makeover: Week 3 Update

One thing I have noticed throughout this challenge is that each family has experienced some stressful events over the past month. While stressful events happen to everyone, I think it serves as a good lesson to all of us when it comes to menu planning, shopping, and saving money. While we might plan a perfect week of meals, chances are, our week will not be perfect. There will be sick children, sick parents, unexpected travel, or even events like a death in the family or job loss.

The important thing is to have a plan, and be prepared to alter the plan if necessary. All of our families this month have done a great job menu planning, but they didn’t plan for the unexpected. A few times they have planned the meals so carefully they have run out of food. This has happened to me more than a few times! I think when planning a weekly menu it is always good to include a buffer meal or two and when shopping pick a few things just in case the week goes awry, because it will.

I know in my house we always have the ingredients for pizza, pasta, macaroni and cheese and tacos/burritos. Those are the go-to meals when things get crazy. They are easy to make and my older children are capable of making them. They are also liked by everyone in our family so if we need an emergency meal I almost always have something in the pantry.

Susan’s update

Budget Week 2: $150

Amount Spent: $95.20

Summary: This wasn’t a stellar week for me. While I spent well under my budget, we ran out of things before the end of the week. I resisted the urge to go back to the store & worked with what we had, which made for some interesting dinner combinations. Hoping for a better week next week!

My Advice: I think it is great Susan was able to get creative with her meals by the end of the week. I also think that since she works full time, running out of meals is probably not the best thing for her family. It will be hard to resist going out to eat when there is nothing planned for dinner. Like I mentioned above, I would encourage Susan to plan in a few extra meals each week so she doesn’t run out of food in the future.

Hawk’s Update

Budget Week 2: $115

Amount Spent: $100

Summary: I resolved to only go to the store ONCE this week… and I did. Only problem was I forgot a few things, but because I was being stubborn to only go once… I had to rework my menu. Either way that was the main problem.

I only found 2 coupons this week that actually worked for me.. so I feel like the 2.50 I spent on the paper was waste… Still trying to balance the couponing with the way we eat.

My advice: You all might remember that Hawk’s family doubled in size right before the challenge began. Hawk now has two young boys to take care of and is trying to keep the grocery budget under control.

My advice would be to write up the grocery list the night before you shop. I often quickly make my list right before I head to the store. This inevitably leads to me forgetting to put something on my list. When I make my list the night before I am able to look over it again the next day and figure out what I’m forgetting. I would also encourage Hawk to quit trying to use coupons for now. While I do believe coupons can save you money, I don’t think that coupons need to be Hawk’s focus. With two boys to feed and trying to change their eating habits Hawk needs to focus on creating meals the whole family will eat. Trying to match up sales with coupons is a bit much in their current situation. While I do believe down the road Hawk’s family can save money with coupons, I think for now they need to stick to the basics.

Lauren’s Update

Budget Week 2: $110

Amount Spent: $105.17

Summary: We actually don’t eat as much meat as it seems and this particular week because the lack of meat sales we had 5 meatless meals and everyone is sick of pasta and beans. We did good on our budget though.  I can’t wait to use the prices I have been gathering with my price book so I know when to really stock up on the meat sales!

My advice: I’ve been in Lauren’s same situation, I didn’t stock up when the prices were low and found myself not wanting to pay full price for certain foods. This is why a price book is so valuable. Although with prices on the rise I think people should only write in pencil in the price book! I can’t believe how fast prices are going up! I think the price book is going to really benefit Lauren so she knows when to stock up on meat and other food. While the weeks she stockpiles will be budget busters, she’ll make up for it during the following weeks as they eat through their stockpile.


  1. dgsandbjsmom says:

    I know for my family I do not menu plan I buy only by when the prices are the lowest and we eat what is in the house. Last week I came home with 9 lbs of bacon at half price, spaghetti sauce and ground beef. In November/December I bought several hundred cans of vegetables. One week I might come home with 10 packages of chicken breasts. My family gets to where they are praying for ground beef to come on sale so we can grill hamburgers.

  2. Amber S says:

    I only buy meat on sale, but I buy enough to last for a while, so I usually have a good variety of meat in the freezer. I menu plan based on what’s in the freezer, not what’s on sale for the week. I also menu plan for a month at a time, which helps keep variety in the menu. Side dishes and veggies are filled in based on what’s on sale, but my main dishes are determined by what I already have. Once you can build a stockpile, this can be a great way to keep costs low.

  3. I have had to be real careful this week as there’s a shortage this time around of money and I think I spent more than I should have on buying things. I did a bit of shopping yesterday and picked up some sourdough bread on discount rack. Glad I did as the potatoes I was going to use that night for dinner weren’t good looking at all. So there were 4 items in my cart instead of 3. I use coupons only if I use that particular item. Disappointing where there’s not something I would use. But that’s ok cuz we get the paper anyway. Happy Mother’s Day!

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