I was going so strong with our budget and meal plan and then I decided to do a two week meal plan…
The initial idea was as a result of re-reading Ashley’s post about shopping for two weeks and saving money. I figured that while I haven’t always been successful at two week meal plans and shopping that I would take on the challenge and see if I could indeed save money. The second motivator was that I needed to make a Trader Joe’s trip and since I try to only go there every 4-6 weeks it would be the perfect timing.
Here is how that entire plan failed:
Fail 1. Well my trip to Trader Joe’s had me going off my list and picking up extras that I hadn’t planned on.
Fail 2. I decided to go shopping at Fred Meyer first thing on Saturday morning so that I could have my shopping out the way and we could just enjoy the weekend. Plus we had no food for lunch. Well that was a TERRIBLE idea as nothing was restocked and I ended up having to make a lot of substitutions.
Fail 3. Due to Fail #2 I wasn’t was well stocked with fruits and veggies as we normally are and that resulted in us going out to eat twice this past week – both times for lunch.
Fail 4. I ended up going over budget for these two weeks.
Fail 5. I ended up doing a lot of extra grocery shopping because of our lack of produce from Fred Meyer.
Fail 6. We ended up eating out more in the last 10 days than we had in the previous three weeks.
Fail 7. I didn’t follow all of Ashley’s suggestions/”rules” to really make two weeks work.
Fred Meyer: $46.53
Bob’s Red Mill: $15
Trader Joe’s: $86.47
PSU Farmers Market: $16
Whole Foods: $31.84 + $35
Plus I might still need to pick up a few more things before the weekend.
What I Learned
Two week grocery/meal plans give me anxiety. Seriously. I felt so anxious shopping the first week because I knew I would still need to pick up some produce the second week that I just didn’t want to go over budget. In the end I ended up abandoning my meal plan all together and this week we are just winging it based on the few items I picked up at Whole Foods and the Farmers Market and what we had leftover.
Trips to Trader Joe’s need to happen more frequently and be more focused so I don’t pick up non-essentials. That being said I need to leave a few empty spots on my grocery list so I can pick up “treat”/non-list items without going over budget.
I really enjoy writing meal plans each week and doing my shopping each week. There is something therapeutic to me about going through this process. I also seem to save more money, although only time will tell with that one.
While Ashley had some good points two week meal plans/shopping trips are not for me. However, regardless of whether you shop once per week or once per month her tips apply so check out her post.