Money-Saving Menu Plan

By following these "real food" money-saving tips, MomSpeaker Trina O'Boyle is able to keep her average weekly grocery bill at $150 and prepare meals for her family at least six out of seven nights between shopping trips.

Make a menu plan

When making a menu plan, you are not going into the grocery store and just picking up all sorts of foods off the shelves. When you menu plan you are getting only the foods you need for the week (and are less likely to have foods go bad because you didn’t use them).

Use foods you already have

Before you begin menu planning, look through your pantry, fridge and freezer to see what you already have. When doing this, you not only save money on food but you use those fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go bad.

Leftover night

We always have a leftover night later on in the week. By doing this, I don’t need to cook one night and we get rid of those extra meals just sitting in the fridge. It saves money because you only need to plan six meals instead of seven for that week. The kids like this night too, because they get to pick what they want to eat from the leftovers.

Buy bulk meat

When buying your meat in bulk you have to put out a lot of money at once, but you save in the long run. Buying organic meats at the grocery store is much more expensive then buying from a local farmer. Here is a great website for you to find a local organic farm in your area. If you live in the Philadelphia area you can go to Philly Cow Share – they have done all the work for you by finding the best farms in our area, and they even deliver your meat to your door.

Buy staple items online

Who doesn’t like to shop online? It’s convenient and saves you time and money. When you join the Amazon Subscribe and Save service you can save up to 30 percent on items you run through the quickest, like detergent, toilet paper, diapers and even organic snacks.

Clean out the freezer

Have a week that you just eat those freezer meals that have been sitting in there for months. Get rid of all those soups, casseroles, chili, lasagna, etc., that you made big batches of and put half of it in the freezer for another meal. It’s great to do this at least every three months so those foods are not left in the freezer for many, many months.

Use the Dirty Dozen/Clean 15 Guide

I make sure I stay up to date with the dirty dozen/clean 15 list of foods with the most and least pesticide residue, provided by EWG. By doing this I can save money by purchasing the dirty dozen produce organic and the clean 15 conventional. If you are unfamiliar with this list, it's up there on the right.

Trina O'Boyle is a Drexel Hill, PA mom of two boys. This post is adapted from her blog, O'Boy Organic.

Categories: MomSpeak