Monday, January 14, 2013

Meal Plan Monday with NO COUPONS 1/14

I went to the store yesterday with no coupons and having not looked at the ads.  A lot of people think keeping your grocery bill low involves 'too much work'.  Time spent matching ads to current coupons, clipping coupons, making a meal plan to match those ad/coupons and then hours in the grocery store finding those particular items. 

Yes, couponing can take some time.  I won't lie.  When I'm REALLY couponing, visiting multiple stores and really making the most of my coupons and the sales that week, it can take hours (usually I take this time after the kids have gone to bed and when Hubs-To-Be has gotten a new video game he wants to play).  I find the pros out-weigh the cons.  I will say I am not as intense about it as when I first started, but I've never been extreme.

Regardless, I went yesterday, on a mission to see how I'd do with no coupons.  I bought mostly store brand items, which I do often anyway.  Sometimes, with couponing, though, you can get the name brand products for the same price or cheaper.  But my mission was simply to see if those of you who aren't into the idea of couponing could still 'do it'.  I'm happy to report that even the cashier (who was unaware of my experiment) said 'Wow, that's pretty good, for a whole cart worth of stuff! Nice.' when he saw the total.  I left with everything I need for this week , plus more (5 boxes of cereal should last me more than a week, but really, with these kids, who knows!?) :) for $66.51. 

Here are some highlights: 5 boxes of cereal (Kellogs, Quaker, 2 Life and Rice Krispsies) 1.88/each
Cans of green beans, peas, corn (Libby's Brand) .75 each
Store Brand Pie Crust 2 packs- .99 each (I grabbed 2)
Bananas .38/lb
Potato Salad and Cole Slaw- 16oz .99/each (I got these for a side for this weeks meal plan, usually I'd just make potatos salad from a bag of potatoes, but I know not everyone has time for that).
Dole Salad Bags- 2/$5 (I got a salad mix and spinach)
Pillsbury Cookie Dough Large- .99
Dozen Eggs- .99/each (I got 2)
Salami- .99/each (I got 2)

I also got a rotisserie chicken, snack foods, veggies, sour cream, yogurt, those squeezies for baby, tortillas and taco shells, hamburger buns, bread, beans, english muffins, Kraft cheese, tortilla chips, ranch dressing, milk (not on sale so I only grabbed one- I'll need another before the week is over I'm sure but spending $3/gallon was painful) and more.

Conclusion: It can be done.  I went in with no idea what was on sale and no coupons.  I did have my meal plan and a budget.  A week's plus worth of food for $66.51.  Not too shaby.  I will say meat wasn't on great sale, so it's a good thing I've stocked up (although the rotisserie chicken could last me 3 meals).

Easy Chicken Casserole
This week for dinner we'll have:
Hearty Salad
Easy Chicken Casserole
BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with Cole Slaw and Potato Salad
Taco Salad
Carne Asada (with tortillas and veggies)
Talapia Tex Mex Tacos

Lunch served with side/snack: bean burritos, peanut butter sandwiches, turkey and cheese sandwiches, soup

Breakfast: eggs and toast, pancakes (remember my Rainbow Pancakes?), banana muffins, and cereal.

Rainbow Pancakes
Snacks: saltines with peanut butter, pretzels, bananas, grapes, graham crackers and carrots.

Do you coupon? Meal Plan? Budget?  What's your strategy when it comes to grocery shopping? I'd love to know!

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