We’re back with another $100 Bucks to Chuck- the blog series that helps you make smart decisions for your budget and maximize your savings.
I started to notice a trend during my routine grocery store run, the 6 items in my cart cost $50 or more. How’d that happen? I didn’t even buy any real food. My shopping habits were not budget friendly, I’d spend at least $50 just grabbing a few things that I couldn’t make a real meal out of.
Honestly, I’ve always had a shaky relationship with the grocery store. It’s so intimidating. There are countless options, and it’s like stepping into a time warp, “What day is it?” Then there are the Mom Pros who shoot me dirty looks as I pick up pre-made pasta sauce. Don’t judge me lady, we can’t all be contestants on Chopped. But now I’m learning the ropes and those side eyes have some merit to them, you can save major bucks by making your own sauce with fresh veggies (it’s healthier too!). So this week’s $100 Bucks is dedicated to the grocery- store-phob.
This week we’ll take $100 to spend on groceries for one month. We’ll outline a grocery list for one week along with a few meal ideas, the budget is $25. It’s going to be a challenge, grocery store prices aren’t getting any lower. But with focused planning and a few adjustments to your diet, you can do this too! We’ll get started with a grocery list. Planning before you hit the store is key to staying on budget and not picking up those extra items you don’t need.
Week 1: $25
- Chicken Breasts – 1lb @ 2.99/lb
- 2 bags of Spinach – $4.00
- Onion – $0.79
- Small Tomato – $0.59
- Green beans – $0.69
- Broccoli – $1.39
- 2 Greek Yogurt – $1
- Frozen Fruit – $3.32
- Almond Milk– $3.00
- Cheese– $2.00
- Pasta – $0.89
- Black Beans – $0.79
- Oats – $2.00
- Tortillas – $2.00
We’re over by $0.56 which is ok for 2 reasons. 1. We haven’t used our shoppers discount card that most grocery stores carry. 2. A couple of these items we’ll use longer than a week, like the pasta and oats.
Breakfast: Green Smoothie
Spinach, Mixed Berries, Almond Milk, Yogurt
Yummy and good for you! Breakfast is one of the hardest meals of the day for me. Between getting ready for work and waiting around for Charlotte, the Shih Tzu, in the mornings a quick breakfast is key. This smoothie recipe is quick and easy, gives me energy, and I can take it with me on my commute to Republic.
Another breakfast idea: Soak your oats in almond milk over night in a container with a sealable lid add fruit or peanut butter.
Lunch: Chicken Pasta
Chicken breast, Pasta, Almond Milk, Cheese, Onion, Broccoli
I’ve learned to make my own pasta sauce! Take that Mom Pro!
The recipe: In a skillet over medium-low heat, add 1 Tbsp of olive oil and garlic. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper and stir frequently, until the garlic is softened. Stir in flour or a thickener once that’s smooth add 2 cups of almond milk (do this slowly to avoid clumps) Bring this to a simmer then add parmesan cheese and another pinch of salt and pepper.
Voila you just made sauce! This meal is pretty quick and easy, also delicious. Make this pasta dish the night before and carry with you to work the next day. The seasoning will be perfect by the time you’re ready for lunch.
Another lunch idea: Leftover chicken over spinach salad with tomato and onion. Make you own salad dressing with olive oil, lemon juice, and seasoning.
Dinner: Breaded Chicken in Cheese Sauce with Spinach
Chicken breast, Cheese, Spinach, Almond Milk
The internet is your friend. There are tons of great recipes I found this one on the AllRecipes app and tweaked it a bit. I added a little curry and impressed myself, so good. When you’re cooking dinner every night you should have some leftovers. Don’t let those go to waste. Either pack a portion for lunch the next day or create a new meal.
Another dinner idea: Leftover chicken quesadillas. Take your tortillas, cheese, onion, spinach and make quesadillas. Serve them with a side of black beans.
This challenge wasn’t as bad as I thought. With preparation and creativity you can eat some pretty tasty meals on $25 a week. There are tons of resources available to help you find great deals and budget as well. I recommend The Real Savvy Saver, you can find coupons and discounts on all types of items. I especially enjoy the “Tips” section, here you’re taught how to find deals for yourself and get the most value of out your bucks.
4 Tips to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half:
- Do it Yourself: don’t buy pre-cut veggies you’ll save by putting in some extra work and cutting everything up yourself.
- Find Protein Alternatives: Meats are a high price item, learn to eat less meat and find affordable protein alternatives (like black beans). Add in other flavorful veggie and fruits to your meals.
- Repurpose Leftovers: Take your chicken from the night before and put it over a salad, make a sandwich, add it to pasta.
- Prepare! Your grocery list should always include sale items, know which grocery stores have the best prices and when they are having big promotions and discounts.
Helpful Coupon Apps: