I'm happy to say that menu planning seems to be getting easier by the week, and this week we were finally able to shop according to one. I'd estimated about 60 dollars for groceries that would get us about 8 meals besides the three or four we still have at home. Our grocery total came to about $45, and for that we also got puppy food, juice to drink, and a few snacky things to keep us from going to the grocery store spur of the moment.
I've started hitting three stores in the area: Aldi, Dillons, and Hy-Vee. Hy-Vee is the newest, and since it got here, I've noticed prices dropping in the other stores. Before going shopping, I make my list based on three things: limited ingredient recipes that look good to me, sales at Dillons, and sales at Hy-Vee. I price everything out (I made a spreadsheet and everything) and then when I go shopping, I hit Aldi first to see what they have that can beat the sale prices at the other places.
This week was awesome. I was able to get over 75% of my grocery list at Aldi. Eggs were on sale at Hy-Vee for 99 cents, but Aldi had them for 50 cents per dozen. Flour was 99 cents at Hy-Vee, 89 cents at Aldi. A bunch of other things were on sale for a few cents cheaper at Aldi, and even though it was only a few cents here and there, it added up.
Hy-Vee did, however, yield us an excellent deal on pork chops. They had thick cut boneless loin chops 88 cents each at the butcher counter. Because Jon and I both prefer thin cut, he asked them to slice the thick ones in half, giving us four thin but nicely sized chops. The price came to $1.76, which was great, but then the guy at the meat counter gave him a dollar off coupon on any fresh pork product. So we got four pork chops for 76 cents. After we got home, I realized we had another one of those dollar off coupons and I'm tempted to go back and get those again. The chops freeze well and that will be either another dinner option or something for next week.
Who knew that a deal on pork chops could give me warm fuzzies?