Menu Planning Meets Monthly Shopping

If you've read my blog for any length of time I am sure that you have heard me prattle on and on about how we work on a monthly grocery shopping system.  I love it.  LOVE it!  We've done this for years now but now that God has blessed us with a deep freezer I am loving it even more.  

The gist of it is that we live in a city surrounded by Amish land so once a month we drive around to smaller country shops run by cute amish families and stock up on groceries...some are salvage stores, some are local butcher shops, some are dented can type places.  There I can fill my fridge and freezer with some real beauties of bargains!  Seriously, we pray before (as) we go...that God will bless us with what we need.  That God will provide for us (and our budget!) through these trips.  And he always does.  But buying in bulk sometimes eludes me from meal planning.  I generally find myself buying general types of ingredients and then later on trying to piece together what I have to make meals.  It seems to work super, fabulously well the first part of the month but leaves me with large gaps of missing ingredients for recipes the last part of the month.  


The farthest away place we go takes about 45 minutes on the interstate, so it does take some time and gas, but if you are getting a lot like we do then it is definitely worth the trip.  Here are some of my all time favorite finds: 

5 pounds of Starbucks whole bean coffee for $14.97

King Arthur Organic Whole Wheat flour, 5 pounds, for $1.99

Fage case of 12 blueberry yogurts for $1.99

32 ounces of Chobani vanilla yogurt for $0.50 

And the list goes on and on!  

Well anyway, I love my bargains but my problem has been the difference that falls between shopping at these places and my meal plans.  For example, I've made a menu plan with something like clam chowder, but when I get to my said bargain stores, I can't find any of the ingredients I need.  So then I buy some of the ingredients, get home and discover though that I don't have


of the I am forced to shop our local grocery store where I pay two to three times more than I should on ingredients, thus cutting into my savings.  

So this week, rather than be daring and inventive with my meal planning, I decided to stick with meals containing ingredients I already have on hand or what I know, know, know is at our discount stores.  This way I will be able to plan good food ahead of time so I can be on top of my menus and save lots of money.  

To get ideas for meals I asked my dear friends on facebook, am perusing pinterest, and am going through the stack of magazines I have on hand.  I am going through to plan what I am going to serve for the entire month...breakfast, lunch, and dinner for every day of the month.  With only 28 days in February I figure this is a good month to start my new system :)  

Wish me luck as I tackle menu planning.  And I'd love to know if any of you have any pointers for planning meals or maybe some of you have some amazing recipes to share :)  

Look for my next post as I list what I am planning on making :)