As a family of five, we have learned the art of meal planning over the last several years. Not only does it save us stress and relieves us of the “What will we eat tonight?” question; it saves money! We do all of our grocery shopping on Saturdays at our local Aldi or Lidl, grabbing the extra items at other stores as needed. Planning out each meal down to the ingredient has helped us be more intentional, buy things our family will actually eat, and not waste food. All that to say, we somehow still end up with extra food in our cabinets that needs a purpose. Enter: Monthly cabinet clean-out.
Monthly cabinet clean-out: An origin story
Confession: I am not our family cook. I could keep us all alive with tasty enough food if needed, but this is my husband’s area of expertise. Another confession: I don’t enjoy eating a lot of leftovers. But I think every family reaches the point in the week where they open the fridge and think: Wow we have a lot of food we could eat. We have this issue with our cabinets. We noticed over time that our cabinets were bursting with food we hadn’t planned for. Things like extra rice, mac and cheese, pasta, canned sauces, and pancake mix were taking up a lot of space, and we kept buying more without realizing we already had these items.
Our new favorite way to save money on groceries
That is when my husband decided that our last week of the month (when we were getting close to hitting our grocery budget), would be a cabinet cleanout. This means that at the beginning of the week, we do our best to plan our meals using frozen and cabinet items that we already have, rather than a full grocery trip. We still go to the store that week for perishables like yogurt, milk, and fruit, but for the most part, we use what we have. As a hater of leftovers, I have to say this method gives me major leftover vibes. But over time, it has helped me appreciate the money we save. It also gives me great joy to clear out the cabinets and create a tidier looking space.
October monthly cabinet clean-out
To give you an idea of what this looks like in our house, see our meal plan for October’s last week of the month below.
Monday: Orange chicken (frozen), rice, broccoli
Tuesday: Pancakes, eggs, and frozen/canned fruit
Wednesday: Spaghetti (we went to the store for ground beef only)
Thursday: Roast (frozen from a previous purchase) & boxed mac & cheese
Friday: Leftovers–Admittedly this is where I roll my eyes (leftovers of leftovers) but I can appreciate the method.
I hope this monthly cabinet cleanout tip was helpful! How do you save money on groceries? Share in the comments!