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Breakfast, lunch, and my grocery budget

img_01081One of the most common questions I get has to do with my breakfast and lunch plans. Since I only post my dinner plans, readers often wonder if I’m including breakfast and lunch expenses in my budget and they ask what we eat for those meals. I’ve responded to this question pretty often in the comments, but not everyone reads the comments and so the question keeps getting asked(which doesn’t really bother me…I love comments and emails, so keep ’em coming!). However, I thought it would make my life easier if I wrote a post about this, and then when someone asks, I can just link them to this post. I’ll also probably link to this post each week when I post my menu.

First, my grocery budget is all inclusive. The $80-$100 a week covers ALL the food that the six of us eat(breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and beverages), and also our toiletries, paper products, and cleaning supplies. We hardly ever eat out(although my husband occasionally goes to lunch with co-workers), so I’m usually grocery shopping for 7 breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.

As for the second part of the question, I don’t generally plan our breakfast and lunches because they’re pretty predictable and also because I tend to decide at least some of them on the spur of the moment(for instance, at lunch I often scan the fridge for leftovers, and I can’t plan that sort of thing).

Breakfast is usually cold cereal for my husband. He eats before everyone else because he has to leave early for work, so I don’t really have time to cook anything for him. The kids and I also eat cold cereal(purchased on sale with coupons), but we also eat bagels(Panera donates day-old bread to my church), muffins, and hot cereals. Everyone but me usually drinks a small glass of orange juice with whatever we’re eating. And depending on the time of year, we have fruit at breakfast(this is more common in the summertime when I have melons and strawberries around more often).

Lunch for my husband is almost always leftovers. I’m so blessed to have a husband who happily eats leftovers…leftovers are about the cheapest lunch available, and eating them is a great way to avoid wasting food.

I don’t love to eat leftovers at lunch, but I do if it’s necessary. Depending on the type of leftover, the kids will sometimes eat leftovers at lunch as well. A normal lunch for them, though, consists of fruit and yogurt smoothies(made from homemade yogurt, frozen fruit, bananas, and sometimes spinach), and bread(usually leftover from the night before), topped with whatever they want(peanut butter, jam, honey, etc). If we eat yogurt in a bowl instead of in a smoothie, we will sometimes have fruit with lunch(the smoothies have fruit in them, so I don’t really feel it’s necessary to serve fruit in addition to those).

Oh, and at lunch the kids and I drink either yogurt smoothies or water, and in my husband’s lunch I usually pack a bottle of iced tea(which, of course, is poured from a gallon container in a single-serve Snapple bottle which we use over and over again. Individual bottles of iced tea are ridiculously expensive.).

So, that’s our very unexciting lunch and breakfast routine. Hopefully our breakfasts will get a little more interesting as I work on reducing our dependence on breakfast cereal. And who knows…I might find that I need to plan breakfast meals once I start to cook them more, so it’s possible that they will start showing up on my menu plans. For now, though, I’m likely going to stick with just planning my dinner meals. That’s just what works for me, though…iIf you find that it works better to plan your breakfasts and lunches along with your dinners, go for it.

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Friday 11th of December 2009

Hi Kristen,

Just stumbled on your blog and am totally inspired to start baking! I just wanted to make a suggestion for breakfast that we have started to do around here. When I make pancakes or waffles, I double or triple the batch. I then cook them and immediately put the extras on a cookie sheet in the freezer. After a short time, I remove them from the cookie sheet and put them in a ziplock bag. We then have "frozen waffles" or "pancakes" on hand for mornings. We simply pop them in the toaster and they taste just as good as fresh ones, are much cheaper than buy "Eggos", and they save me from having to clean the waffle maker constantly ( a dreaded chore)!

The Frugal Girl » Monday Q&A-Breakfast, Lunch, and Cheap Entertainment

Monday 4th of May 2009

[...] 2. For a really short second Q&A, I wanted to mention that Mona asked a question I’ve answered before, about what we eat for breakfast and lunch. I don’t typically plan those meals out, so I don’t include them in my menu plans. I wrote a post a while back about what we do eat, though, and you can find that here. [...]

The Frugal Girl » Grocery Spending and Menu Plan-1.31

Saturday 31st of January 2009

[...] Here’s the food plan for this week(as a reminder, lunches and breakfasts are not included here, but are included in my grocery spending/budget.  A post about that is here.) [...]


Sunday 25th of January 2009

Hi Kirsten, We usually have cereal for breakfast - being OLD I have All Bran and wheaties and some of the cereal mix that my wife makes. This mix consists of all kinds of chopped nuts, chopped dried fruits, oat flakes and a whole bunch of "good stuff". On to that we put Yogurt (From the big quart size cups 'coz it's cheaper that way.) Sometimes we have bagels with cream cheese - bagels from Costco, they are quite reasonable, we get the whole wheat kind with raisins in. We also make a smoothy with whatever we have, maybe a banana and an orange - we use a Vita Mix which is a sort of high powered liquidizer, I can put in a whole apple and it liquidizes the whole thing - skin, seeds, the lot, there is not a sign of any skin or anything it is all pure liquid (You have to put in some water or it is too thick to drink) During the summer our smoothy contains whatever I find in the garden - I might add a few strawberries, especially the ones that are not 'perfect' or some raspberries, or we might have a vegetable smoothy with vegetables from the garden. It is also a great way to use up those less than appetizing looking veg that may be a bit 'past it' ,cut out the bad bits and liquidize the rest. A lot of tomato juice this way in the summer.


Tuesday 13th of January 2009

My youngest will not eat cereal so I make panckase or french bread and freeze. It is cheaper than cereal for the most part.

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