I am extra excited about this week’s meal plan because I paid just under $25 to buy groceries to make 5 vegan meals plus supplement this week’s freezer meals with a few delicious sides. I also found some KILLER deals on Ibotta this week and was able to save over $18! Keep reading to see what I’m making, what I bought, and where I shopped.
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!
This year, our goal is to keep our food expenses (including restaurants and coffee out!) under $500 a month. Our January challenge in particular is to not eat out!
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. I also check Ibotta throughout the month to see if there are any products I can stock up on for at an additional discount.
My 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, freezer meal 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.
This Week’s Dinners
Slow Cook Sunday
Today I am testing a Vegan Chicken Pot Pie slow cooker recipe for the blog, but if you’re looking for another easy vegan slow cooker recipe to try, I love this veggie packed vegan minestrone soup recipe.
Make Two Monday
I LOVE all of Caitlin’s dump and bake recipes. If you haven’t, you must check out her growing collection. Each one is fabulous and so easy to make. I regularly make her recipes on “20 Minute Tuesdays,” too!
20 Minute Tuesday
Slow Cooker Wednesday
Never tried this recipe before but it’s made with minimal ingredients and is very affordable.
If It’s Thursday (If it’s in the fridge, it’s for dinner 😉)
This is leftovers day in our house. You can either eat leftovers from recipes earlier in the week or make yourself something with what we have.
We LOVE this recipe at our house. I know it by heart and can throw it in the Instant Pot in 5 minutes or less. Last year I doubled the recipe a few times, so I have a few servings in the freezer. I’ll defrost it on Wednesday and simply reheat it to serve as tacos!
Serving with a side of:
I am using 3 cups of my homemade Vegetarian Refried Beans that I had in the freezer in place of the canned refried beans. Store-bought canned refried beans are SO STINKIN’ EXPENSIVE I refuse to pay 😅. Otherwise following her recipe to a T!
Another freezer recipe this week because I want to clear out the freezer a bit! I have similar kidney bean burgers I made last year in the freezer. I actually stuffed them with my Melty Vegan Cheese and they are DELICIOUS! Serving them up on homemade vegan burger buns with a side of my homemade sweet potato fries! My husband is going to be excited about this one.
What I Already Had in the Pantry
A big part of shopping frugally every week is choosing 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.
Below are ingredients I need for this week’s recipes that were already in my pantry:
Produce (Fresh or Frozen)
- Russet potatoes
- Lemon juice
- Lime juice
- Jalapeno/Serrano pepper
- Sweet potatoes
- Chili powder
- Ground cumin
- Cayenne pepper
- Garlic powder
- Dulse flakes
- Ground coriander
- Chives (I always buy dried!)
- Frozen mixed vegetables
- Plant-based milk (I always make my own from scratch)
- Soy curls (I buy in bulk and keep in my freezer!)
- Vegan butter
- Vegan mayonnaise
- All purpose flour
- Vegetable broth
- Nutritional yeast
- 1 can artichoke hearts
- White rice
- Hearts of palm
- Agave nectar
What I Bought
I purchased everything from Walmart Grocery Pickup and Grocery Outlet. For reference, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. These groceries may cost more or less for you based on your area.
- 2 (8 count) cans Pillsbury Grands! Southern Homestyle Honey Butter Biscuits ($0.99) BOGO special at Grocery Outlet this week and they are accidentally vegan!
- 59 oz Silk Next Milk – Whole Milk ($0.60 after Ibotta cash back rebate – yes you read that correctly!) using this instead of canned coconut milk because it is WAY CHEAPER on special this week and will work fine
- 1 lb White beans ($1.28) I’m cooking them from scratch to save money
- 1 can artichoke hearts ($1.98)
- 2 (12 oz) bags frozen spinach ($2.00)
- Tri-color coleslaw ($1.98)
- Cilantro ($0.88)
- 3 lbs organic Yukon gold potatoes ($4.98)
- 2 cans corn ($3.16)
- Romaine lettuce ($3.46)
- Tomatoes ($1.98)
- Red onion ($0.78)
- Instant Yeast 3-pack ($0.86)
For Breakfast and Snacks
- N/A – we have plenty leftover this week to make oatmeal, smoothies, toast, etc.!
I found 2 more great deals on Ibotta this week and stocked up on them at low prices for future savings. If you haven’t heard of Ibotta, it’s an app that will give you cash back on various weekly deals. It’s completely free to sign up and has no gimmicks or special catches. It’s super easy to use (and that’s coming from someone that has no interest in clipping coupons!).
- 16 oz Hemp Hearts ($5.97) originally $10.97 but there is $5.00 cash back coupon this week
- 5 packs Lightlife original tempeh ($7.40) originally $3.48 each, but $2.00 cash back this week making each $1.48 for a total savings of $10.00! (All 5 of these are going in the freezer!)
Total Spent on this Week’s Meal Plan: $24.93
Total Spent on Backstock Purchases: $13.37
See you back here next week for a new meal plan. Comment below with what you’re cooking this week.