Show Me Your Basket! {Meal Planning Basics}

Summertime is here!!! We are chillaxing and playing and summer camping and sprinkling and swimming. For me, this lack of structure is stressful. I thrive on ordered days and schedules. One of the ways I maintain a level of control is to continue with my menu planning.

There are three reasons why I choose to shop this way:

  • I feel more at ease knowing that all my meals are laid out in a way that is most convenient for me.
  • I save money buy only buying specific ingredients that I need.
  • I only shop once every two weeks. 

I have a list of Basics in my head pretty much at all times. These are the things we need to get every. single. trip. This list doesn’t change unless my kids go on strike and decide they don’t like Whales anymore and will only eat Goldfish. Then we sub out and are good to go. 


Snacks: fruit on sale, carrots, celery, whales, pretzels, popcorn, cookies, Ritz, cheese sticks

Pantry Staples: chicken stock, bread, ham, cheese, cereal, eggs, half and half, rice, sugar

Every two weeks, I sit down and plan out meals for our family. They are mostly homemade, seldom totally from scratch, and generally healthy. But a mama needs the help of a frozen pizza every now and then. This is what our menu looks like for the upcoming two week period. When I ordered my planner, I had a “meals” section included, but prior to this, I had my own little monthly calendar and would use that to write in our meals. I add ingredients needed for these meals to our basic list and also take stock of my pantry and add in any additional staples that need refilling i.e. rice, sugar, flour, or chocolate chips.

This is what my list will look like for the grocery store this week. See that little 400 at the top right? That’s our bi-monthly grocery budget. I always shop solo so I can keep track of my spending. I am the lady at the grocery store who weighs out all her produce to calculate their final cost to subtract from her goal … and if I am underbudget, I’ll pickup ice cream for the kids and booze for mom and dad #motivation. This budget is the main reason for my setup. I can keep us on track and ensure we are spending our money wisely. If you are #nextlevel, you can take a look at the circulars when they come out on Tuesday, and plan your menu around that. I know that Super One generally has the best prices around, so it is my go-to store. And if we have been really great and under budget all month, we splurge on specialty meats at Nunu’s. 

Once a month, we shop at Sams. Most of the items we order online to be delivered to our door, but for the items that cannot be shipped, the Scan and Go app has been LIFE CHANGING. We order: diapers, pullups, wipes, paper towels, toilet paper, flushable wipes, feminine hygiene products, bandaids, laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, Dawn, batteries, coffee, trashbags each month or as needed (usually we only have to order t.p. like twice a year). I will go to Sams to get: vinegar, baking soda, berries, avocados, peanut butter crackers, oatmeal, milk, frozen chicken breasts, butter, and popsicles. We have a budget of $250 for our monthly Sams haul, so obviously we don’t buy all of these things every month. But coffee, diapers, pullups, and paper towels are on there EVERY month. 

Once a month, I’ll go to Fresh Market for their $2.99 Tuesday ground chuck special. I am pretty sure that they honor this pricing every day now, but I am so used to the Tuesday thing, it’s become a habit. I go once a month and buy 10 lbs of ground chuck. 

Here is what our menu and lists looked like for our last grocery trip.


And here is my basket from this week’s shopping trip! Even with a few extra treats for the official start of summer, we came in under budget! The clerk who rang me up complemented my cart-stacking skills. I was just excited we didn’t need our usual two carts!

[easy-image-collage id=7042]

I feel like we have this shopping thing basically mastered, but I am always looking for new tips and tricks. I have a friend from college who was the Coupon Queen, but that was a system I struggled to work.

Mamas of Acadiana … SHOW ME YOUR BASKET!

Sarah Keating
Sarah is a 30-something mom of four children under six and wife to her high-school sweetheart. She returned to Acadiana two years ago following her husband’s completion of medical school and residency in Shreveport. After the move, Sarah switched gears from full-time pediatric speech-language pathologist and working mom to full-time stay-at-home mom to her brood. Her current hobbies include “speech-therapizing” her children, re-reading the Outlander series, catching up on her Netflix queue after the kids go to bed, completing XHIT videos at naptime, and taking her medication every morning. She loves and respects the sacredness of motherhood, but sometimes you just have to let go and laugh it out. Motherhood has been the most humbling, and empowering journey she has experienced.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here