Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How to shop like a Savage (Budget Style)

Maybe this is kind of a random post, but it's my blog and I can do what I want!

It seems like more people than I would expect have a tough time with grocery shopping. It's a "skill" I've had for a long time, so I guess I always took it for granted. Sure, everybody knows how to go to the store and pick stuff up and pay for it; some people even know how to cook! But, it seems that meal planning and shopping is more of an art than a science. Today, I'm going to outline my meal plan for the week and what I bought at the grocery store.

I usually spread my shopping between 2-3 stores: Shaws, Trader Joes, and Whole Paycheck. I spend the least amount of time at Whole Paycheck, because I just can't afford to pay $17.99/pound for organic apples. I buy all of my "big stuff" at Shaws/Stop and Shop just because of the pricing. Trader Joe's is where I head for a few small thing each week; I don't always love their produce and I don't think the pricing on their meat is competitive with the bigger stores.

Without further ado, here is what I bought at Shaw's this week:

4 Packages of Baby Spinach @ $2.99 each
1 Sweet Vidalia Onion @ $1.01
1 Red Pepper @ $2.54
5 Gala Apples @ $5.27
6 Bananas @ $1.95
1.83 pounds of ground beef @ $8.03 ($3 coupon too!)
4.79 pounds of pork cutlets @ $10.97
1 package of bacon @ $3.99
1 gallon of whole milk @ $4.29 (I have a little over 1/2 a gallon in the fridge already.)
2 dozen large brown eggs @ $4.58 (2.29 each)
3 Larabar's @ $1.79 each
1 can of organic pinto beans @ $1.29

Total = $58.25 (with a total of $12.81 in savings with my Shaw's card)

Later, I'll go to Trader Joe's and buy some packages of trail mix, cheese sticks, and chipotle hummus, as well. This will add another $10 or so to my total.

All of this food will translate into meals in this way: The eggs and bacon (plus ham I have in the fridge) will become up to 4 breakfasts (the eggs will be 4 meals, the bacon will last for 2). The Ground beef, onion, pepper and beans (plus garlic, sweet potato, and the aforementioned hummus) will get stir-fried and become a few lunches/post-workout meals. The pork and the baby spinach will get turned into 4 dinners for the week. The apples, bananas, Larabars, cheese sticks and trail mix will join some Metabolic Drive protein shakes (made with the whole milk) as "snacks" whenever needed during the week.

All in all, this is a really good week of shopping for me. The big win for this week is that I'll be eating a leafy green every night for dinner. This is one of those things that I know I'm supposed to do, but always have a tough time doing. If my choice is between spinach or more meat, I usually opt for more meat. So, for the grand total of about $70, I'm able to get 12-15 meals and snacks for the week. Keep in mind, my meals are twice the size of a normal person, and that my snacks usually get up to about 600+ calories.

Shopping isn't so hard; take a look at my list and see how you can tailor it for your needs. I try to keep my grocery shopping costs on the "low" side of things (I could easily spend at least a hundred bucks each week). If you're on a different kind of budget, you may have to alter a few things. I am, in no way, suggesting that my diet is perfect; but it's what works for me. Just make sure you're aware of the meals you NEED to eat each week, and you'll have a good idea of how much food you will really need to buy. Don't over-buy, either; everything I purchased is 100% going to get eaten.

Lastly, I'd be remiss if I didn't wish a happy Valentine's Day to everyone reading. While this may not be my favorite "holiday", it's a good time to tell someone you love them. Love is a rare and special thing, if you really feel that way about someone you should let them know. Even if you know they won't return the sentiment, I think it's always worth telling someone; what if you never got the chance again?

Have a great day everyone, make it a win! Go lift something heavy!

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