Like many out there, I live on a budget, and often from paycheck to paycheck. It’s easy to see that you can save money by cooking at home, but that often takes quite a bit of leg work and most of us don’t have that kind of time.
To be truly efficient in the kitchen one must be dedicated. I’ve realized over the years that in order to live a less stressful life, I need to be more organized. While I was working full-time I struggled with things like meal planning and shopping on a budget. To be consistent with that is difficult so I looked for short cuts.
Meal plans are great, and I love the idea of going onto a website and finding it all in one place, but then the question becomes where do I buy all of the stuff and how much is it going to cost? Sometimes they say ‘budget’, but that is only if you have a fully stocked cupboard. While many of them are directed to American Consumers and might not apply to us up here, I’ve yet to find one that I could use and that featured recipes my family would enjoy.
So I’ve decided to create my own meal plan, partly to help me stay organized, but also to offer anyone out there, a map through a really handy cook book. One that features real, simple, tasty food for those of us who might not have a huge food budget.
With my meal plan you will get a shopping list of all the things you should need. I might leave out small things like salt, ketchup etc, as those are items that we stock up on.
Take some time to go through the front section of the cook book regarding your pantry. Before a shop it’s a good idea to pull out or check out what you have so that you’re not spending money you don’t need to, but also to ensure that nothing can be thrown out and to remind yourself of what you need to use before it goes bad.
Every time I go into my fridge and see vegetables going bad or throwing out left overs I hear my mother say something about the starving children in Africa in the back of my mind. I hate to waste food, and if at all possible we use left overs some way, some how.
The shopping list contains most of the items you will need to create 3 meals per day for 3-4 people. The prices you will see are current prices from The Real Canadian Superstore. I find that this is the most efficient place for me to shop, the prices are near to the best you will find and for most of their products the quality is decent, if not quite good.
I did a poll once on my Facebook asking where people liked to shop. The consensus was that Superstore was great for dry, canned, hygiene and household products, while Save-on-Foods was cheaper for pharmacy items and had a better quality meat selection. Safeway had the best service etc, etc.
I choose to do the bulk of my shopping at Superstore to save myself both time and effort. If the meat is not the greatest quality, I’ll opt for a roast that I can season and shred for sandwiches or ground beef I can turn into a chili or stew. Use what’s available and in your price range and play with spices. See our Tools of the Trade section for more on spice racks.
The only exception to my Superstore purchases would be my vegetables. I like to support my local economy and find that most local, family run green grocers have a great selection of fruits and vegetables that are locally grown and very inexpensive. For $25.00 I can purchase the fruits and vegetables that we will need for a 14 day period. I would greatly suggest sourcing one out in your area, this will reduce your budget, support your town and give you great tasting seasonal greens for your meals.