This Week’s Menu: Spending Less On Food

Caprese Skillet Eggs

Caprese Skillet Eggs

One of our goals for 2017 is to reduce our monthly food spending so that we can add more to our savings account. We’ve been able to chop several hundred dollars off the $1000/month we budgeted for food when we first arrived on Kaua’i, but we’d like to take it down even more if we can. We’ll still be doing our once-a-month shop at Costco, and filling in with items from Big Save and the farmers’ market, but I’m going to be much more conscientious when I make up both our weekly menu and our monthly shopping lists.

One thing that we haven’t bought in a while that will be reappearing each month will be a Costco roast chicken. They are still just $4.99, and I can get at least three or four meals from one. We’re going shopping on Thursday this week, and will be having chicken for dinner that evening; leftovers will appear in a couple of other meals. We’ve also decided to have an egg meal one evening a week, on Sunday. Eggs are an affordable protein, and there are plenty of exciting and tasty meals we can plan around them.

Meiling leaves on Wednesday, so the amount of food I’ve been preparing will decrease some, but leftovers probably still won’t appear again on the menu until after WenYu goes back to school toward the end of the month.

Here’s what’s we’re having this week:

  • Tuesday (this evening): Farfalle with spinach, peppers, and ham; garlic bread
  • Wednesday: Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches; waffle fries; coleslaw
  • Thursday: Roast chicken; couscous; steamed green beans
  • Friday: Pepperoni pizza
  • Saturday: King Ranch casserole; salad
  • Sunday (New Year’s Day): Caprese Skillet Eggs with garlic toast; salad
  • Monday: Butternut squash ravioli with alfredo sauce; garlic bread; grilled zucchini

We’ll need to get zucchini, basil, cucumbers, green onions, and lettuce from the farmer’s market this week, so it will be a quick trip. Many of the things needed for this week’s meals we already have on hand, and the rest will get picked up at Costco and Big Save.

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5 thoughts on “This Week’s Menu: Spending Less On Food

  1. Joy Franks says:

    I always get hungry reading your weeks’ menu! Anyway, does that $1000 also include paper products, cleaning supplies, etc? Or do you have another budget line item for those things?

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    • Laura says:

      Thanks! I’ve always liked to cook, and try to provide the family with a nice variety of meals each week.

      We budgeted $1000 based on what we had read before we arrived, but it turned out we didn’t spend anywhere near that amount. It was closer to $800/month when we first arrived, but that was for five of us. The amount dropped again when Meiling moved back to the mainland, and we’ve gotten it down into the $550-$600 range over the past year or so. We do include paper and toiletries in our budget, except for toilet paper – that comes from Amazon, a big box every 5 months. A package of paper towels from Costco will last us for a year; so will a box of soap from Costco. A container of Costco brand laundry detergent lasts us four months; same for fabric softener. We buy shampoo, etc. at Walmart – prices are the same or less than we paid in Portland!

      I shop completely differently now than I did back on the mainland. There, I made a menu and then made my list from that. Here we buy more basic ingredients, and then I check the pantry, freezer and fridge each week and make my menu from what we have on hand, and pick up produce for the week at the farmers’ market. The biggest trick we learned here for keeping our budget under control is to stay as far away as possible from prepared/produced foods as we can.

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      • Joy Franks says:

        I budget $1800 a month for our mastercard which pays for everything. Rewards are earmarked for the gal that saves the animals of Kauai. I give a monthly contribution to her. That $1800 covers food, paper supplies, a stray prescription and stuff from Amazon. Food has averaged $876 a month but discovering Big Save has already brought it down to less than $600 a month. I’ve been under budget on the mastercard these last few months. A few furniture pieces did go over budget so we ended up with an average of $2423 a month. I can tell we’ll be able to hold that figure to $1800 a month from now on. I have to clarify, I shouldn’t use the word budget but instead “target”. I try to aim for that amount but get what we want. We don’t want much anymore!

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      • Laura says:

        Shopping at Big Save is already making a positive impact on our food budget.

        We won’t be able to emulate your lifestyle until we get all the girls launched. But it’s coming! Brett and I want and need less and less every year (well, except when it comes to travel 😉 ).

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  2. Libby says:

    Reducing my food budget is also one of my goals for 2017. To that end, I used some of my Christmas gift money and bought a set up to grow mircro-greens. I love them on salads, but a VERY small container costs $5+.

    Since the Costco roasted chickens are such a deal, I’m wondering if you could buy two each month and freeze one when you get home to eat later in the month.

    My favorite eggs dinner is cheese souffle! But forgeddabout it with the calories 🙂

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