2/3/2020 Weekly Meal Plan!

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgToday is my birthday, we will be redeeming a lot of my birthday freebies with this week. Little Girl and I will be enjoying a free lunch many times, as we can still share an entree.

My shopping week for this week was small:

  • Cheese
  • Avocados (Always on the shopping list)
  • Milk
  • Fresh Rolls (The local Food4Less makes incredible rolls and at .25/each, they are a tasty bargain)

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day: You may notice a lot of plant-based meals- We are not vegetarian (well, the big kid is, but the rest of us aren’t), but I am trying to get more veggies into our diet. I do a lot of cooking from scratch- I find it easier to get veggies and fruit into recipes that I can have 100% control over.

Breakfast: I’ve gone back to a protein shake or coffee with a scoop of protein powder and a few pumps of Sugar Free Syrup for me, and pancakes or something along those lines (Dave’s Killer Bagels are also a popular request for breakfast) for the kids (they love the Kodiak Cakes Mix).  I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular.

Lunches are leftovers, salads, or soups for me and Bitty. The big kid takes his lunch to school, but once in a while, I can convince him to buy his lunch. Usually on pizza day.

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For dinner, when we’ve got busy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked. We’ve got a bunch of stuff in the freezer, as I’ve been portioning out 2-3 adult-sized entree portions from several meals a week and freezing them for later meals.

  • Monday: Birthday Dinner (Not quite sure what this will entail)
  • Tuesday: Vegetable Soup- We’ve got a lot of little bits of veggies in the freezer and fridge- Time for soup!
  • Wednesday: Frozen Entrees
  • Thursday: Roasted Chicken and Veg
  • Friday:   Veggie Stir Fry & Brown Rice (We didn’t end up having this last week)
  • Saturday: Pizza
  • Sunday:  Leftover fiesta!

 

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

New Year, New Opportunities to Save!

file0001219719004.jpgFor years, I’ve been posting about printable coupons, highlighting some of my favorites at the beginning of each month. As the years go by, sometimes it’s harder to find printable coupons or any coupons that excite me.

Couponing rules have become restrictive in-store, combined with the terms and conditions on each coupon, making the tried and true couponing advice of old (gather a lot of the same coupon, wait for a sale and stockpile items that you eat or use frequently), no longer a solid way to save money.

So this year I’ve decided at the beginning of each month, I’ll be highlighting some of the money-saving apps I use and their new offers. Their offers change monthly, just like coupons. Most of the money-saving apps also offer bonuses or deals from time to time as well.

 Ibotta has a new year referral bonus going on right now. You’ll earn 100% of what your newly referred friends earn through the end of January. Ibotta also has online offers too. You can shop through the app to earn more cashback. I love that they have offers at stores like Joann’s. I can earn cashback for my craft addiction!

refer.pngFetch Rewards has a pretty sweet deal right now- Refer friends with your referral code (mine is ND2TB), You’ll get 4,000 points for each referral, and your friends get 2,000 when they snap their first receipt! (In order for you to qualify for the increased referral bonus, they must enter your referral code and complete a valid receipt now through 11:59 PM PT on 1/7/2020. After 11:59 PM PT on 1/7/2020, the referral bonus will expire)

Checkout 51 is sweetening the deal too- When you sign up here and scan in your first receipt, you’ll get a $5 bonus! If you are already a Checkout 51 user, refer your friends and you’ll earn $10 when a new user scans in their first receipt (and they still earn $5).  Everyone wins!

And I’m not completely discarding the notion that printable coupons aren’t useful. In fact, while working on this post I discovered a couple printable coupons that I would 100% use and printed them out:

Save $2.00 when you buy FIVE (5) Smart Ones Frozen Meals

I try to keep some of these on hand for lunches or nights when I’m too tired to whip up what I’ve meal planned for that night. They have vegetarian entrees too!

Save 35¢ On Any California Dairy Product That Carries The Real California Milk Seal

For us CA peeps, this coupon is super useful!

Save $1.00 on any ONE (1) package of Green Giant® Veggie Tots, Riced Veggies, Mashed Cauliflower, Roasted Veggies, Harvest Protein Bowls, or Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Those Veggie Tots- So tasty!

Talk Back: How do you plan on saving money this year?

MyPoints: Earn Points with Ease While Grocery Shopping!

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I’ve been a member of MyPoints for Eight Years! I just found out yesterday that MyPoints has a point-earning opportunity while we grocery shop!

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It’s super simple:

Add Deals to Your List: With hundreds of exclusive deals to add to your list from your favorite stores, keep your cash for when it counts.

Shop In-Store: Purchase products from Your Shopping List (at eligible stores) to earn Points. Act quickly before offers expire!

 

Upload Your Receipt & Earn Points: By purchasing select items and submitting your receipt, shopping is simplified.

These deals are only good at select stores, so check on each offer before adding it to ensure that you can redeem it at a store near you.  Here is an example of one of the offers:

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Each offer has it’s own terms, including at which stores the offer is valid. While this won’t replace my use of any of my other apps, it is a nice addition.

10 Tips to Stay on Budget for Groceries

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I frequently get skeptical looks, the side eye, or people thinking I’m starving my kids when I tell them that our grocery budget is $80/week.

It takes a lot of work, but it is doable. I cook a lot from scratch- it’s healthy, cheap, and I can control what goes into each dish (hidden veggies, fruit, less sugar, etc.). I can make a cheese pizza at home for less than $4, and that is enough pizza for the kids for two meals!

Here are a few of our family tactics to stay on budget:

  1. CASH! Go to the bank/ATM and get your grocery money out of the bank every week. This is a great way to start. I get $80 out of the ATM each Saturday for the upcoming weeks’ groceries.
  2. Inventory your Fridge, Freezer, and Pantry. Bonus- You’ll also find stuff that needs to be thrown out or donated. If you are looking for kitchen inventory printables, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.
  3. Menu Plan. Start by using what you’ve got on-hand. Eat food that’s on sale or in season. We eat a lot of strawberries in the summer because they are cheap!
  4. Make a grocery list. Stick to the list Don’t be afraid to substitute brands, or make changes based on what is on sale, or any in-store markdowns you find.
  5. Don’t be afraid to go to more than one store. I’m not saying run all over town, but going to two stores is OK. In our area, there are a 99 Cents Only store and a Grocery Outlet in the same shopping Center. I hit up both each week. Then, on the way home, I stop at Food4Less and buy milk (cheapest in town!), eggs, and bread (if 99 Cents Only doesn’t have the high protein bread we like).
  6. Eat Less Meat. Not only does it save money, but it’s better for the environment.
  7. Take advantage of local resources. There are a few food co-ops in our area. Additionally, there are free produce distributions too. A couple of my friends and I split a co-op lot twice a month. It comes out to less than $20 per person, and we get all kinds of cool stuff. A quick google search can help you find both in your area.  In the summer, we take advantage of Kid’s free lunches too.
  8. Coupon and/or use money-saving apps.  My complete list of apps can be found here. Right now my favorite apps are Fetch Rewards and Ibotta.  I love that I can use Fetch at any store. It helps because I shop a lot of Grocery Outlet and 99 Cents Only.
  9. Speaking of which… Don’t forget to check out stores like 99 Cents Only. There are all kinds of great bargains. Here is my list of 10 Great Buys at 99 Cents Only!
  10. Be Flexible. Some weeks you will go over budget. It happens. Sometimes you need to stock up on staples, or your family wants to eat something that isn’t on sale. Sometimes you really want to order a pizza and wings. That’s OK! Frugality is a journey, it’s not a punishment or a life of austerity and suffering. You can still live a fun, full life while being frugal.

Talk Back: Share a few of your families tips for staying on budget?