Meal Planning Part Two: The Budget

In Meal Planning Part One: Health and Nutrition we looked at the special health and nutrition needs of our family and friends in making our meal plans.  Today in Part Two we are going to be looking at The Budget.  Maybe you are able to go to the market and spend whatever you want on food, however most of us are not in that position.  Most of us have a limited amount to spend on food every week so we have to make every penny count.  After establishing how much money will be going to food, then I hit the ad's for the local markets to see what will be on sale that week.  Then I hit my coupon keeper to check out what coupons I can use with those items.

When my children were at home I planned my menu a month at a time and did my major marketing once a month.  I was able to buy in bulk and keep a well stocked pantry at all times, which saved money and time.  I always look at how long it takes to drive to the market, fuel to get there and how much time will I be there, I would just rather make that trip once a week or once a month which ever is best for your family, you will be amazed how much money and time you will save.  Even though the children are grown and no longer live here full time, I still keep a well stocked pantry and usually like to go to the market once a week, just to have fun and look at the new products.  In a small village like ours it can even be a social event as we always see friends that we stop and visit with.

I know that some people are really big coupon users, although I use coupons I only apply coupons to what I actually use, because I don't have the space in the cottage to store a general store type pantry. If you are going to buy something just because you have a coupon and then it sets on the shelf until it expires, I don't see the savings in that.

One place that we can really save on the food budget is planning our left overs and making sure that we use all of the food that has been prepared for that day. When we get into the actual planning of the menu we will take a look at leftovers and the different ways we can utilize them in our meal planning.  It is estimated that Americans throw away into the trash over $600.00 in food per person every year, that loss comes from poor planning or no planning at all.  Many American families eat out in fast food or chain restaurant's three to four times a week.  Compared to those families who cook at least six times a week the savings are tremendous to these families.

We have a very large vegetable and herb garden and grow the majority of our produce in the spring and summer months.  We can around 300 to 400 jars of produce and freeze  some of the produce.  We store potatoes and onions in a cold bin in the barn.  We buy our grass fed beef from a local producer and some of our dairy products from a local producer.  We go to the local farmers market to supplement the bulk that we don't have space to produce. People are really surprised when they see what can be produced in flower beds and simple pots on the porch or patio, even the kitchen window can be a great place for herbs.

I sure am glad that you could stop by and have this discussion with us today, I welcome any comments that you might have.  Next time we will be looking at planning the meal, so be sure and come back, hope to see you then.
Peace and Joy

Miz Helen
Miz Helen

Cookbook Author, Recipe Developer, Organic Gardner.


  1. I enjoyed reading your post, you shared some wonderful tips about budgeting and shopping.

    Have a great week!

  2. Hi Miz Helen,
    It sure is hard to keep food costs down these days. I find I'm always at the grocery store, as I have to teens still at home! We eat healthy meals and I try to buy fresh veggies and fruit and avoid processed foods. I do buy most items on sale-seasonal produce and I see the sales are cyclical for chicken, etc. I also get points for gas purchases-which saves me money. And, I charge my groceries and get a cash back bonus every month. I also shop on my way home from the gym, since I'm passing by-I'm not making an additional trip out.
    I'm curious what does a family of 4 spends a week on groceries?
    Great post, by the way! Looking forward to the next one.

  3. Having a family of six, with two being teenage boys, we go through a lot of food! I also do a menu for the week and only go to the grocery store once a week. I also found out that some of my stores do their inventory on Thursday night so there are a lot of things on sale Friday that has become my shopping day and I've gotten quite a few good deals this way. I also cook from scratch, buy in bulk, have a garden and can/freeze a lot of food too! It's all about planning :) Thanks for the great information Miz Helen, I look forward to reading more!

  4. You are so incredibly organized - so lucky to have that plentiful garden, too!


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Miz Helen