A Week in Our Pantry – Receipts + Meal Plan

As I mentioned in my past two monthly budget recaps, our grocery expenses are a little out of control. Our average monthly grocery expense since moving to Alabama has been way too high for 2 adults and 2 toddlers. Yes, there’s the Celiac’s disease which attributes to why EVERYTHING has to be gluten-free. And I’m all about about supporting local businesses and buying organic. But I felt that it has to be possible to eat gluten-free, organic, healthy, hearty foods without spending over $1000/month. So this past week I decided to be very conscious of our food spending, eliminately anything that seemed wasteful or unnecessary. I was going to put a limit on our spending for the week, but I’m more interested in what GF + organic really costs when you’re living comfortably, not subsisting off of paltry meals. I NEVER want to not look forward to things I’m eating. Food is sustainance, but food is also fun!

I normally have a big weekly grocery run on Friday mornings so Thursday evening was spent looking at recipes and putting together my grocery list. I CANNOT go to the grocery store without a list. If I realize I need to pick up a couple things while I’m out, I’ll text my husband to ask if he needs anything and I’ll sit in the parking lot, typing up a list in my phone’s Notes applications until I am satisfied with the list’s contents. I’ve also spent some time mindlessly pushing the lifesaving monstrasity that is the two-seat carts at SuperTarget around the store while I search for my cart’s  contents in the Cartwheel app before heading to the registry. I would say it gives me anxiety to not be prepared for a shopping trip, but I am always disappointed in myself if I forget something or miss out on a coupon.

Okay, back to the grocery run! I only purchased enough to make it through seven days of meals. Here’s my receipt:


Pretty much everything on this receipt is grocery purchases, minus the two packs of 3M Command strips totaling $12.35. So a grand total of $131.21, almost $11 of which is tax. As I look over the receipt, I already notice that some of purchases would have been a lot cheaper if purchased at other locations. Spices could have been purchased in bulk for much cheaper at Whole Foods and vegetable broth is normally no more than $1.50/32 fl oz at Sprouts. You live and you learn.

Here’s the run down of our meals from the week:

Friday, December 4th
Breakfast  – The babies had 8 oz of milk and 2/3 cup of GF Cheerios each. Ryan also had a bowl of Cheerios, and I had a chai latte (all previous purchases)

Lunch -2 bananas each for the babies. Minestrone soup + GF biscuit for me. Leftovers from last night’s dinner for Ryan (all previous purchases)

Dinner – GF pasta with butternut squash sauce (all previous purchases)

Saturday, December 5th
Breakfast – 8 oz milk + Cheerios/baby. Another chai latte for me and Ryan had a mocha (all previous purchases)

Lunch – herbed egg cups and roasted potatoes (all previous purchases). bananas for the babies.

Dinner – chorizo burgers on GF buns with lettuce and cheese + waffle fries. spinach, kale, sweet potato (previous purchase) for the babies

Sunday, December 6th
Breakfast – milk + Cheerios (previous purchase) for the babies. Ryan and I ended up just having coffee and bacon because the GF pancakes were horrible and could not be salvaged. Pro tip – don’t try to mess with a good GF pancake mix by adding oatmeal 😦

Lunch – bananas for the babies. PF Chang’s take out for Ryan & I (we had earned a free entree from previous purchases so the cost was discounted)

Dinner – leftovers from PF Chang’s. more sweet potatoes for the babies

Monday, December 7th
Breakfast – milk + Cheerios for the babies & Ryan. meal replacement shake for me

Lunch – baked, spiced apples for the babies.

Dinner – chicken & spinach pizza with the neighbors

Tuesday, December 8th
Breakfast – milk + Cheerios for the babies & Ryan. meal replacement shake for me

Lunch – baked, spiced apples for the babies. leftovers for Ryan

Dinner – green chile enchiladas (delivered dinner to my MOM group member beforehand)

Wednesday, December 9th
Breakfast – milk + Cheerios for the babies. meal replacement shake for me & Ryan

Lunch -baked, spiced pears for the babies. leftovers for Ryan. deli chicken & veggie sandwich for me

Dinner – quinoa broth bowl (Panera copycat recipe)

Thursday, December 10th
Breakfast – milk + Cheerios for the babies. oatmeal with spiced pears for me.

Lunch – baked spiced pears for the babies. leftovers for Ryan.

Dinner – butternut squash mac n cheese & broccoli

As noted, there are many ingredients used that we already had in the pantry, fridge, and freezer that were not part of the most recent grocery run. Obviously, this skews the overall cost per week, but as I continue to closely monitor the grocery purchases, I’ll get a better estimate of normal monthly costs.

I feel this week was a great success seeing as that our total cost for the family + 2 meals for others was much lower than the normal $225+ per week we’ve been spending on food. There wasn’t a ton of variety, but I honestly prefer to keeping our breakfasts and lunches the same while rotating tried-and-true recipes for dinner.

Since this meal plan was from earlier in the month, I haven’t been logging our meals, but I have been keeping all the receipts so I can compare the items purchased at the end of the month. We’ve continued to keep food costs really low, and with only 11 days left in the month (7 of which will be spent visiting family), I’m optimistic our food bill will be much, much lower than past months.

Have you every closely monitored your meals and purchases in this manner? What lessons did you learn from this exercise; I would love to hear from you. Thanks for reading!

xoxo Lauren





*** Note – This meal plan is not an example of a recommended dietary plan for others. It is just a log of what my family at in one week. I am not  a doctor, nutritionist, dietician, or anyone in the health & wellness community, and I cannot confirm if these meals are healthy ***


2 thoughts on “A Week in Our Pantry – Receipts + Meal Plan

  1. The biggest problem I have with groceries is buying bogo items. All. The. Time. Even if I’ve never used them before, I get them because they are bogo. I know it’s good to always have some staples on hand but I was probably spending an extra $50 on things I didn’t need in the near future. Now I will only buy a staple if it’s on sale and I only have 1-2 of it left. I’ve also gotten better about repurposing leftovers. Most recently, I used leftover cheese polenta and added eggs /jalapeños to it for “potato” pancakes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Those potato pancakes sound good! I know what you mean about the BOGO – it will definitely suck you in. I thought I was saving money by stocking up on sales and staples. But now that I’m shopping ONLY for what we’ll need in the next week, I’ve basically cut my grocery bill in half. And somehow we’re not starving. We’re actually enjoying our meals more now! And I haven’t had to throw away an ounce of anything!


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