Summer is one of the most chaotic times for meal planning. It’s the only few months I really loosen up on meal planning because there is usually so much going on.
We are only a few weeks into summer break around here, and I’ve decided I have got to get back to meal planning this summer. We have so much meat in the freezer that there is no reason not to meal plan.
Well, I can make plenty of reasons this summer, but I really do want to keep my grocery budget in check.
It’s all about habits, and once you start changing your habits week after week, it becomes second nature.
I did a pretty big grocery haul last week at Tops Markets and plan to only fill in this week with items like Milk, creamer, bananas, and cheese.
I will keep an eye on rebate apps like Ibotta for snacks that are a good deal to stock up on. As long as I have the money in the budget; otherwise, if it’s a tight week, skip the snacks even if they are a good deal.
Right now, we have blackberries and strawberries coming from the garden, so that is the fruit the kids will eat.
Keep in mind for our meat- we raised and butchered three of our own lambs last year, my husband got three deer, we raised and butchered 12 of our own chickens, and we bought 1/4 cow. So when I say I have meat, I really do.
This week I just had to fill in. I like to do bigger grocery trips every 2-3 weeks. Then I’ll grab items like milk, half and half, cheese, and any coupon deals in between. That is what this week is, and I thought I would share it with you.
This is for the third week in July. Even if you are reading this post on when the Ibotta deals have expired, meal ideas are still helpful for planning what to eat this week.
This trip was from Target. I got the Good Culture Lactose Free Whole milk free in my Ibotta app. The Two Good and Dannon Light and Fit had a $2.25 back Ibotta offers each.
It made my total at Target $16.96 before any discounts.
Then I got 5% back with my Target debit card saved me $.85, and then I got back $8.99 from Ibotta.
My total spent at Target was $7.12. Like paying $1.78 per item.
That was going to be it, and I wanted it to be BUT then of course Ibotta put MORE yogurt deals in my account and the ones for my daughter’s favorite.
Here is the trip at Walmart.
Once there, I decided to grab lunch meat and bread; my homemade loaf didn’t turn out great this last time, and it’s been hot, and the kids are complaining, so I grabbed bread and ham. I wanted to make a couple of cheesecake pies, so I grabbed cream cheese at Aldi.
My daughter loves the light and fit apple pie, and they never come in a four-pack, so I took advantage of the Ibotta offer. When you buy 10, you get $4 back. The Kraft Mayo was free after the Ibotta offer—the cereal we just wanted. And I’ve been splurging on Raisin Nut Bran. I’m on a kick, and I almost don’t care that it’s $4.98 a box… 🙂 I did get 50 Fetch points for the Raisin bran.
Total at Walmart before discounts: $40.50
I got back $8.98 from Ibotta.
Total spent for the week: $38.64
Tips to Lower Your Grocery Bill This Week
For veggies and fruits, shop what is in season. This is the time you’ll get the best price. Check for U Pick farms as they offer a great deal, and it’s fresh and local! To find out what’s in season each month, check out this post.
To get meat for a deal, ask your local grocery store what day they mark their meat down. Then use it that day or freeze it. Check the Flashfood app to see if you can get discounted foods and meats. This app can be a HUGE saver if its available in your area.
Here’s the menu:
Main Dish: Ground Beef Tacos with homemade guacamole
- Ground beef is a great start for the week, and tacos are always a hit. Fill crunchy taco shells with seasoned ground beef, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream, and cheese. Top it off with some homemade guacamole. ( I still have frozen chunks of avocado I bought at Aldi two months ago!)
Side Dish: Sweet Corn Salad
- A fresh and vibrant sweet corn salad adds a pop of color and nutrients to this meal. Toss cooked corn kernels with diced bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and a simple lime dressing.
Main Dish: Grilled Chicken Caesar Wraps
- Marinate chicken breasts for at least 15 minutes in a simple mix of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Grill them, slice them thinly, and toss them with romaine lettuce and Caesar dressing. Wrap it all in a tortilla for a quick, easy dinner.
Side Dish: Steamed Broccoli
- Lightly steamed broccoli makes a nutritious and kid-friendly side. Sprinkle with a little bit of grated cheese to make it extra appealing. I find Aldi to have the best price on fresh broccoli- but you can use frozen too. I’ll be steaming this in my Ninja Foodi. I try to use it as much as possible when it’s hot out.
Main Dish: Lamb Meatballs with Marinara Sauce
- Make meatballs using ground lamb and serve them with a homemade marinara sauce over whole-grain spaghetti. This is a fun and tasty twist on traditional spaghetti and meatballs.
Side Dish: Roasted Zucchini and Carrots
- Roast zucchini and carrots in the Ninja Foodi with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. It’s an easy, hands-off side dish that pairs well with the meatballs.
Main Dish: Chicken Fried Rice
- Use leftover grilled chicken from Day 2 to make quick and healthy fried rice. Add peas, carrots, and scrambled eggs for a balanced one-pan meal .( I try to use eggs in a dish at least once a week because we have 12 hens and still have so many eggs after giving a couple of dozen away each week.)
Side Dish: Cucumber Salad
- A light cucumber salad with a vinegar-based dressing will complement the rich flavors of the fried rice nicely. This is the salad recipe I always make.
Main Dish: Beef and Vegetable Stir-Fry
- Make a quick stir-fry with the remaining ground beef and any leftover vegetables from the week. Serve over rice for a complete meal. Making rice in your pressure cooker or Ninja makes it sticky every time. It’s super easy and tastes delicious.
Side Dish: Steamed Mixed Veggies
- And by steamed I mean I’m using a microwave mixed veggies I bought at Aldi a few weeks ago. I love these in the summer- less heat on the stove the better in this 1850s farmhouse!
Remember, these meals are flexible! Feel free to substitute different vegetables based on what you have on hand or what’s on sale. Happy cooking!