Monthly Meal Planning & Shopping

We used to shop weekly, then we went to biweekly and now we do monthly grocery shopping.  We do make a trip to the local store whenever we need bananas or salad but everything else is bought once a month at Aldi and Kroger.  I made a meal plan for 4 weeks and then I went through the recipes and made a list and checked it with what we had on hand.  Here was the menu for this 4-week period, which is January 18th - February 14th.

I like to do a big casserole on Saturday and have the leftovers (L/O) on Sunday.  Fridays are pizza days, frozen or homemade.  I like to have a Mexican night on Tuesdays and then a meatless night once a week, either vegetarian meal or breakfast for dinner meal.  We only eat red meat once a week, unless we have a kielbasa meal.  On days we have appointments that may keep us out for a few hours, I don't plan a meal to cook; we eat out.  It is just less stress for me that way!  A lot of the meals are very easy, instant pot meals.

For breakfast and lunches we do oatmeal, burritos, PB bread, protein bars, quesadillas, tacos and whatever else we crave depending upon the month.  Snacks are fruits, vegetables, string cheese, nuts/seeds, PB, homemade muffins/breads/cakes, tortilla chips, bean dip, etc.

We spend $360 a month on groceries, mostly all food but I do buy some non-food items like paper plates, ziplock bags, hand soap and napkins.  Soap, shampoo, toilet paper and all those type toiletry items and vitamins/supplements, we have a separate budget for called our "necessities", and it doesn't come out of the $360 we spend on groceries.