How We Budget for Groceries & Meal Plan for Our Family of Four

How We Budget for Groceries & Meal Plan for Our Family of Four



hey really so today I'm here to show you guys how we do our grocery budget and also how we meal plan now I am going to be going into the specifics of this but I'm not gonna delve really deep into how we decide what food we buy how we decide what food we're gonna eat and get into all that kind of personal specific stuff because that could really just be a video in and of itself that's not what I'm really here to talk about I show over on Instagram fairly regularly little snippets of me putting together our meal plan and our bi-weekly grocery list and stuff like that and you guys always have a ton of interest so I decided to just go ahead and make a dedicated video to it I've done different things all throughout my life when it comes to grocery shopping but I feel like now I've really gotten to a comfortable routine and I really like what I'm doing and it's working for our family so this is what I'm probably gonna be doing for the foreseeable future and obviously all this stuff is personal to me this is what our budget is this is what our finances allow some people probably spend a ton more on groceries some people probably spend a ton less on groceries some people probably only like to shop at specific stores some people you know everything so just try to keep that in mind that this is coming from a person who is just taken into account what works for her own family like I said we've done very many different things over the years when it was just mark and I and we both were working crazy jobs in crazy hours we would literally go to the grocery store and throw whatever into the cart and literally just make it work for the next two weeks until we got paid again that's our motto until we had children and we were like oh wait we should probably think this out a little bit more and then when we had two kids it was more about like sticking to a set budget every month and that's how things just kind of naturally progressed but with that being said we do shop at two places we shop at Walmart and we shop at Aldi now I live in a real small town place in Ohio in the Midwest I don't have Whole Foods Trader Joe's any of that fun stuff for you guys you know I have Giant Eagle Walmart and old in a couple of discount stores but I don't really frequent them because not all of them accept cards so for that reason we stick to Walmart and ot we used to shop at Giant Eagle when it was just the two of us but with trying to be as budget conscious as possible I find that easier to do at Walmart and ot than a giant eagle every two weeks we have a budget of $300 and that goes towards breakfast lunch and snacks for everybody in the family it also goes to about 12 to 13 dinners at least every two weeks there's a couple nights where we might eat at my mom's eat at my grandma's we might have family over we might order out something like that and if we're eating somewhere else as in someone else's house I don't have to worry about that but if we do eat out sometimes I try to fit in the budget if it's possible it just kind of depends if not that'll end up coming out of a another section of our budget and in case you're new to my channel or my videos our family it's my husband myself and our four year old and our three year old and I am also 32 weeks pregnant thought not that I require a ton more food but just so you know our family is growing but that's what we're doing right now so $300 for all of that plus also some household items we try to eat the best we can within our means we try to eat a balanced diet we also try to have our kids eat better than us my husband and I don't necessarily make the best choices food wise for ourselves but we would like to see our children do better than us so we try to instill that but at the same time we're not perfect by any means you're obviously gonna see that you know we're not eating sustainable homegrown non-gmo organic raw food 100% of the time or even probably part of the time but we try to do the best that we can within our budget within our means with what makes sense to us over this next part of the video you are gonna see intermittent overlay clips of me actually doing what I'm talking about I recorded myself doing as much as I could during the last time I went ahead did some grocery shopping which was just a few days ago so I tried to capture as much as I could on camera for you guys that made sense so that is gonna come in and out throughout me talking but the first thing that I did want to mention is that we are using the Walmart grocery pickup it has been working phenomenally for us so for that reason throughout the two weeks you know before I go grocery shopping I am adding stuff to the grocery pickup app so I don't forget it's stuff that we need you know if I see a toilet paper out I'll just add it real quick stuff like that and I'm constantly doing that throughout the week so that's also happening besides the meal planning and the budgeting and everything so with the meal planning I first kind of go and order I checked the list from the last two weeks see if we skipped any dinners I believe the last time I went grocery shopping we did there was a few nights because of my birthday people took us out to dinner and stuff like that they were super kind so for that reason we did not use all of the dinners or all the ingredients that we needed for those dinners so for that reason I'll write those down and then I'll go in our pantry see if there's anything that I could use to maybe make a dinner which there's typically not unless it's a dinner we didn't get to and then after that I go ahead and I ask my family what they would like for dinner and now keep in mind it's a three-year-old a four-year-old and also a grown man who likes to eat like a 16 year old boy so for that reason I get told things like SpaghettiOs and macaroni and cheese and chicken tenders and stuff like that but at the end of the day if my kids are willing to eat it I will make it because meal time is a battle in and of itself so I try to accommodate it sometimes not always just depending on what our budget is you know obviously some meals are more expensive to make that others I try to keep that in mind as well but I typically do try to give the girls whatever they tell me they actually want to eat and also my husband it also myself too because obviously I have meals that I prefer but I normally do need around three to four more meals that's where I tend to spend the longest amount of time with this to find a meal that is going to accommodate let's not take a ton of time and I also do not like to use my oven in the summertime we do not have central air we just have AC units around our house so for that reason turning on the oven is like inviting the Sun into our house it is excruciating and I hate doing it so for that reason I try to stick to my crock-pot stovetop or instant pot otherwise it's probably not gonna get made because I don't want to turn the oven on either way I do try to figure stuff out I'll flip through my recipe book I'll look at past meals that we've had I'll go on Pinterest I try not to do too many new recipes because honestly Pinterest can be kind of dodgy let's be honest I have ruined my fair share of dinners and then I'm so mad about it that we just go end up eating out anyways and it was a waste of money because we ended up eating out and I also wasted all the ingredients because a recipe didn't turn out good so I try to keep new recipes to a minimum I will also say if there's holidays like Father's Day Christmas Easter birthdays whatever where we're having meals at home or I have to take stuff to that holiday or whatever it might be that also goes into the budget so then after dinner I turn to everybody's breakfast lunch and snacks this again I just go to the girls and ask them what they would like I go to my husband and ask them what they would like I figure out what I would like for breakfast lunch and snacks I will also mention here that with the produce I try to grab things that are on sale I do like Aldi for most of my produce I don't buy too much at Walmart although Walmart kind of has a different selection for organic stuff so it can be nice Odia also normally has really great produce sales every single week so I try to at least utilize a couple of those and then I'll get a few things that aren't on sale but I always check the flyer so after the meal plan is laid out that's when I go through the household and see if I missed anything that didn't get added or stuff I didn't get told about I can't tell you how many times they be brushing their teeth with just water if I hadn't checked the toothpaste but I go ahead and I go around the house I try to check that stuff like I said our budget does include some household stuff I would even venture to say be me most of it but definitely not all so after I figure out the household stuff I will then go back to the meal plan and I will start writing down every single thing I'm gonna need I wrote I write down everything for the breakfast lunch dinner snacks individualized literally every single thing I'm going to need and then from that list I slowly start to add things to the Walmart grocery pickup app I'll make sure to cross it off the list so it doesn't get counted in with the oldies stuff or anything I do this so that I also know if something's completely out of stuff at Walmart I'm gonna have to try and find it out at Aldi so I will just leave it on the list for that and then after that I do have a master list of Oddi prices and before I started doing the Walmart grocery pickup I also had a list of Walmart prices as well and even towards the end there when I wasn't doing the grocery pickup I was still able to use my Walmart app because I would scan my receipts and I could easily go through there but I also did have a physical list like I do for Aldi these are things that I have bought in prices that I have written down I do typically start with my most recent receipt because I do have a lot of crossover between every two weeks there's a lot of staples that we just continually buy every single time so I'll start with the receipt to get the most current price off of those products but there are a lot of products that do come and go and fluctuate throughout every single grocery trip so for that reason if it's new or not on the list or whatever I make sure to go to the master list write it down and write down the price that I knew it for of course prices fluctuate but I have had this list for over a year now and I've only recently gone back and redid it and I found that nothing was more than 30 cents more expensive or cheaper so honestly it does fluctuate but not by a lot so with that master list I'll start going down the stuff that we need from Aldi and I'll start writing the price next to it I used to do this along with Walmart things as well but again the grocery pickup app does that all for me I don't have to worry about that anymore so once I get done with that I check the Walmart grocery app I'll write that number down somewhere on my paper to know what I'm gonna spend at Walmart and then I will go through and I will tally up all the prices from Aldi you will see that my prices are always rounded up to the nearest tenth of a cent and that is on purpose number one it just makes adding everything up easier and number two it also accounts for some of the tax that I run into every state in the United States is different on what they tax here in Ohio we don't get taxed on food but we get taxed on everything else so the food is not taxed and that is the genuine price of what you will pay however I do get a lot of household items so rounding up to the nearest tenth of a cent I find just to be easier to kind of account for that unpredictable tax obviously you can add up the tax and see exactly what you would spend on that but I'm not about that I'm not gonna take that step this is just something that I do to kind of account for it and like I said I do want to stay at 300 dollars now for the past several weeks I have also been adding stuff for our baby who's due in August so for that reason I do allow myself to go up to like three hundred and ten dollars because I'm buying snacks to hoard for when she's here I'm buying wipes diaper cream like just random stuff every just every grocery pickup order I'm adding a few things that she needs to kind of do things that way now I will say my method is not perfect however I find that doing this adding up my OD prices with the log that I have and also the grocery pick up order and them telling me what I'm going to spend I have never been more than ten dollars over or under and I think that's really big if I'm at a point in the budget that I'm not comfortable with and honestly it has to get to like 320 where I'm starting to sweat and I'm like okay something needs to come off I will go through and see if I added anything that maybe could wait another two weeks like a lot of times with some of the household items I'm just putting them in the cart because I'm thinking about it while I'm using it but when I actually think about it we're gonna be fine for another two weeks I just added it in because I happen to be in the moment so I go and see if there's anything that can be it and I will do that but as you can see this time I estimated that I would spend three hundred and fourteen dollars I was more than okay with that especially because that did also include some stuff like I said for the baby so I went ahead and I placed the Walmart grocery pick a border now that total stayed the same there was nothing out of stock and there was nothing that they substituted that was cheaper than what I bought so for that reason my total there was exactly the same now Aldi I actually spent less than what I predicted I only spent a hundred and four dollars so that brings us to two hundred and ten dollars so I was six dollars off but in a good way which is awesome but like I said this I feel like was a complete game changer when I started doing this it is tedious it does take me a couple of hours to do all of this but it has helped us tremendously when Mark and I ourselves would go grocery shopping we would spend $300 and we would spend it on stuff that wouldn't last for two weeks you know like and we would spend it on junk and I don't even think we were actually even really buying anything for the house I think that was a completely different shopping trip honestly but this way I know what I'm spending before I get to the store the Walmart grocery pick up also has helped a lot with like impulse buying it has worked super super well for us I'm gonna put a referral code down in the drop box for you guys to get $10 off your first order it also gives me $10 off of one of my orders so thank you if you use it but it's been huge because it saves me time grocery shopping used to take around two and a half hours for me not even counting the time that it takes me to get to the store and now it takes me like an hour hour and a half tops because they come out and they do everything for me it's just been working super well and like I said it does curb the impulse buying because I'm not actually going in the store however at Aldi it's still tempting they still obviously have like some of that fun new exciting seasonal stuff and you kind of want to get carried away but I'm trying to get better with that as well but knowing what I'm gonna spend beforehand also does help me keep me conscious that I want to stay really close to that number so it does kind of deter me even a naughty from impulse buying but it's just been a huge game-changer it's allowed us to be really consistent with our grocery budget like I said I know this is tedious I know it's time-consuming it's not gonna be for everybody but I do want to share it because you guys do have a lot of interest on Instagram when I show you pictures of me doing it I thought I would just make a video thoroughly explaining my method and take it or leave it I'm just trying to be helpful but I really love doing things this way my husband hates it he hates when I say things don't fit in the budget but you know what that's just kind of part of being financially responsible so we can't always have everything that we want it has to also make sense financially so yeah that is everything if I missed anything or if you have questions leave them down in the comments below I'll do my best to answer them but I hope you guys enjoyed the video and as always thanks for watching you

7 thoughts on “How We Budget for Groceries & Meal Plan for Our Family of Four

  • Thank you for making this video! I was sent a $10 off my first order from Walmart grocery pickup FROM Walmart, but since you get a credit as well, I'm going to use yours instead! We just moved to GA from HI, so all of this ordering online, delivery, pickup, etc. is very new, and hopefully it will save me time 🙂

  • I love love love this video. I have been trying to meal plan dinners, but breakfasts and lunches is something I have to work on planning out more. We are victims of grabbing fast food or ordering delivery if we're having too busy of a day. What do you do if you're having a terrible busy day and you're not able to cook dinner? I may try that Walmart pick up, and I like your idea of looking at your receipts and checking out how much each item was. I hope your third trimester with Ms. Lexi is both relaxing and exciting! ♡

  • I love your master list idea! I didn't think of that so I have been using the instacart app to get a guesstimate of what our Aldi trip is going to cost us.

  • YASS! Needed this so bad! Are you close to PA?! We also only have aldi, giant eagle n Walmart! Never hear anyone mention giant eagle but PA or Ohio….later you mentioned Ohio 😃

  • Love it Alia! We also budget the same amount for groceries but I am still going weekly for small trips and then doing a bigger haul once every 4-6 weeks at Sam’s club. I love your method for planning meals! I definitely need to get better at planning out our breakfast and snacks.

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