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In this week’s Vegan Meal Plan for Two, I spent $47.75 to purchase everything I’d need to cook 5 vegan dinners, bake Almond Flour Banana Muffins for breakfast, plus make 2 freezer meals for future dinners. Read on to see what I make, where I shopped and what I had to purchase.

Collage of 4 dinner recipes.

Meal Planning FAQs

Why weekly meal planning?

Last year, in 2022, we spent much more on food than we would have liked. We could blame it on inflation, busy work schedules, moving, sickness, stress, etc., but the truth is we got lazy and unorganized. It was not a priority. Eating out when you’re tired and want a break is SO easy, but it adds up to hundreds, if not thousands of unnecessary spending every month.

So this year I am sharing the amount I spend every week on groceries to help me stay on track and hopefully inspire you to do the same!

What are you saving money for?

Our 2023 goal is to keep our food expenses (including restaurants and coffee out!) under $500 a month.

By the end of the month, if I am still under budget, I will stock up on our Vegan Pantry Staples at bulk prices to help us save even more money throughout the year.

Our savings will go towards paying down our mortgage. We have a personal goal of being mortgage-free by 40! What would you do with that extra money back in your pocket this year?

Does sticking to a grocery budget really make a difference?

The short answer: OH MY GOODNESS, YES!

The long answer: In 2016, I graduated from a private university with $70,000 in student loan debt. I didn’t realize just how much money I had borrowed until I graduated and received notice that my minimum payment would be over $1,000 a month (not including interest!).

It felt like my options in life became non-existent because every penny I made had to go to debt and bills. I immediately started researching how to get out of debt FAST.

The #1 thing that always came up was weekly meal planning and being frugal at the grocery store. We can’t easily change the amount we owe on fixed expenses like our rent, mortgage, car, etc, but we have a LOT of control over what we spend at the grocery store every week.

To this day, I attribute my ability to pay off my $70,000 of student loan debt in just 27 months to shopping smart at the grocery store every week. It doesn’t feel like it, but small savings every week add up to a LOT OF MONEY over time.

Even with rising grocery prices and inflation, the cheapest way to feed your family every week is by eating at home and meal planning intentionally.

You’ll be surprised how much you can make a difference in your finances just by taking 30 minutes or so to plan ahead each week and shop smart.

What is the Home-Cooked Roots Meal Planning Method?

If you’re new, check out my post, Vegan Meal Planning for the Week Made Easy. In a nutshell, I follow this meal planning formula:

Sunday – Slow Cooker
Monday – Make Two and Freeze 1
Tuesday – Something that takes 20 minutes or less to prep
Wednesday – Slow Cooker
Thursday – Leftovers
Friday – Freezer Meal (something I previously made and froze)
Saturday – Free Choice (cook, eat out, or leftovers)

This gives me structure to help me plan quickly, but still gives me flexibility to make foods and flavors that sound good. We also always eat leftovers for lunch.

Again, check out the Vegan Meal Planning for the Week Made Easy post for in-depth details to help you make this system work for you.

How do I cut down my grocery bill?

First, choose recipes based on what’s already in your pantry! The goal is to have your pantry list be longer than your grocery list. This means you meal plan by shopping your pantry, fridge, and freezer first to prevent food waste, save money, and shop with intention.

Second, sign up for cash back apps like Ibotta. They regularly offer cash back on products you’re likely already purchasing every week. I earn about $50 cash back every month without even trying! Sign up with my code WVSUIJG to earn $10 cash back on your first receipt submission!

This Week’s Dinners

Breakfast

My Weekly Spending Breakdown

I purchased everything from Walmart Grocery Pickup. For reference, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. These groceries may cost more or less for you based on your area.

I also ALWAYS check Ibotta for deals on what I need before shopping.

What I Already Had:

Produce (Fresh or Frozen)
Garlic
Sweet potatoes
Lemon
Limes
Green onions
Shallots

Fridge/Freezer
Spinach (freezer)
Green beans (freezer)
Vegan cream cheese (I’m making my own from scratch this week!)
Sour cream

Shelf Stable
Avocado Oil
Vegetable broth
Peanut butter
Chickpeas
Chopped peanuts
Rice
Red lentils
Full-fat coconut milk
Almond butter
Rice vinegar
Coconut sugar
Pinto beans
Black beans
Kidney beans
Salsa
Tamari/soy sauce
Maple syrup
Liquid smoke

Spices
Curry powder
Cumin
Chili powder
Salt
Turmeric
Coriander
Garam masala
Black pepper
Paprika
Garlic powder
Oregano
Taco seasoning
Nutritional yeast

What I Bought:

For Dinners
Avocados ($3.38)
Grande burrito flour tortillas, 8 count ($3.88)
Organic romaine lettuce hearts, 3 pack ($3.46)
4 oz. can diced green chiles ($0.78)
15 oz. can organic lentils ($1.16)
2 (15 oz.) cans organic corn ($3.16)
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes ($0.88)
6 oz. organic tomato paste ($0.96)
Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce ($1.58)
Fresh poblano pepper ($0.20)
Red onion ($0.78)
Organic super firm tofu ($2.98)
4 serrano peppers ($1.58)
Fresh ginger ($0.90)
Cilantro ($0.88)
Bell pepper ($1.38)
2 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes ($2.72)
3 lbs yellow onions ($1.58)

For Breakfast and Snacks
Bananas ($1.70)
Dave’s Killer Bread ($5.98)
36 oz Organic coconut flour ($7.83)


Total Spent: $47.75

Back stock Purchases:

Cashews ($18.00)

Eating Out:

This week we went to a friend’s house for a potluck and purchased $21.72 groceries to make sides and appetizers to bring with us.

Total Spent this Week:


Groceries: $47.75
Back stock: $18.00
Eating Out: $21.72

Total: $87.47

See you next week for next week’s meal plan! Comment below with what you’re cooking this week!

More Meal Planning Resources You May Find Helpful

12 Dirt Cheap Weeknight Dinners ebook page.
12 Dirt Cheap Weeknight Dinners ebook cover.

Wallet-Friendly Recipes & Smart Shopping Tips in Your Inbox

Plus get a free cookbook with 12 Dirt Cheap Dinner Ideas that’ll cost you $2 or less per serving.

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2 Comments

  1. Judy Gulliver says:

    Following you on this. We keep our food purchases within a budget, but I’m always looking for new ways to achieve that goal. We’re retired (20+ years), and have been plant-based for almost 8 years. Conquered some pain problems and both of us feel so good.
    I create a weekly menu plan on Monday. Tuesday I check our food stock and make out a grocery list. Wednesday I doublecheck Monday’s and Tuesday’s work so we can shop on Thursday. I primarily shop the produce and bulk, with my husband being the expert on canned, packaged and cold/frozen items. We’re in and out within 30 minutes, sticking to the list! I see several items on your list this week which will be on mine next!! Thanks so much.

    1. Thank you, Judy! Your meal planning ways sound great and very smart! Sticking to the list is key.

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