First a look at the numbers:
March Grocery spending prior to my Spring break $304.20
Grocery Spending this week (Spring break $754.25
Total Grocery Spending for March $1058.45
Total Grocery Spending for February $175
Budget for Groceries $450 each month
One of the reasons that I continue to update and blog is that it proves accountability for me of some form. In addition, it allows me to glance back that years past and give a better perspective.
March 2018 Spending $726.27 March 2016 Spending $200
Now, let me explain at least part of the spending. I am enjoying a week long break from my job so I wanted to make sure I got lots of things in place to help the next 9-11 weeks go smoothly. We are entering a “busy” season for us, baseball 2-3 nights a week and then swimming for everyone starts in early May. My goal this week was to prepare ahead as many meals as possible which in the long run will save both time and money. I am actually ahead for the most part with this goal, I have already gotten 13 meals in the freezer with plans for at least 7 more before the week ends. So that is a total of 20 evening meals in addition to the 5 for this week. Just looking at that number I am averaging $42.33 a meal to feed 6 people. I also purchased 30 lunchables for the kids to take to school so that also reduces the amount.
Another way to look at my March spending is that I had $275 left in my grocery budget for February. I also purchased enough food that I don’t plan to spend much of my April budget for groceries either so if I leave $100 in the grocery budget for April then I am back to my monthly average of $450.
After looking at the numbers, overall I am very pleased with both the amount of spending and the amount of food that I have prepped ahead of time. I did way over spend this month but if I can control spending for the next couple of month I will definitely be back on track!
One of the ways that we attempt to cut out grocery budget is with the purchase of an entire cow. We purchased 890# of meat approximately one year ago. This works well for us especially since we have the freezer space for all this meat and some to spare. We have been enjoying beef several times a week but it has become really clear that we as a family do not like roast. I have tried several different versions and ways to make the roast with different taste and it still does not end up being all that great, with lots of left-overs. However, we like ground beef and eat it a hundred different ways with no complaint. Now here is how we are saving money today. I purchased last month on Amazon on a 60% off sale a grinder that attaches to my Kitchen Aid Mixer.
Last night, I set 3 roast out to unthaw and today, I cut the bones out of each of them and then ground them up with the grinder. I will admit it was a little bit of work to get this accomplished but less than 2 hours for the entire process. After grinding the hunks of roast into ground beef, I fried it up and tossed in the crockpot with taco seasoning and water. The remaining bones and meat that was attached I placed in a second crock pot and made beef broth that I will bag and freeze tomorrow.
I was able to take 3 meals that we would eat and not enjoy and turn into at least 7 meals that will be quick and easy to prep and at least 16 cups of beef broth. I am definitely calling this a win in the saving department!
The goal for this week is to make it till Friday when my Spring Break begins. We are definitely starting to see some holes in the pantry and freezers especially where our convenient foods are usually. On a positive note, we purchased a new grill on Friday of last week so we are definitely planning to use it a lot during the next fun and warm weeks of Spring! I will not be posting a menu plan for next week, I am going to fly by the seat of my pants and try to cook ahead so that should be interesting to say the least.
Breakfast- Saturday– bagels, Sunday-bagels (we slept late) Monday-bagels, breakfast burritos found in the bottom of the freezer. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday– Choice of eggs, oatmeal, grits, cereal, or toast.
Lunch–Saturday- Hamburgers and French Fries Sunday-Mexican with friends Monday– soup for everyone, Tuesday– Chicken salad lettuce wraps , Wednesday-Thursday and Friday- soup or sandwiches.
Dinner – Saturday- KFC bowls, these were planned for Friday but we ate Raman Noodles instead. Sunday- Gifted left over pizza Monday-Spaghetti and Meatballs Tuesday– Hot Dogs and Tator tots Wednesday–Pulled pork with corn and broccoli Thursday– Grilled Chicken and pasta salad Friday- Eating out for Haley’s Birthday
I am only one day late with this post and because the reason was the pictures from our kitchen, I don’t feel at all bad. Last week turned out to be very interesting as Kendall was sick, my mom was sick and I ended up spending a lot of time not feeling great. I did break down on Saturday and make a quick grocery store trip which push our grocery spending to $215 this month. Thankfully, I have also been able to organize and re-arrange the freezers and I feel much better about the amount of food we have on hand these days. We should easily make it until the end of the month before needing to grocery shop and we also have enough ground beef to last the rest of the year! We are continuing to use items on hand and even try some new ideas!
Breakfast- Saturday– BLT biscuits, Sunday-Bagels Monday Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday– Choice of eggs, oatmeal, grits, cereal, or toast.
Lunch–Saturday- Pizza Sunday-Meatball vegetable soup (new and something we will repeat) Monday– Sandwich for kids and left-overs for me Tuesday– Soup , Wednesday-Thursday and Friday- Chicken nuggets and chicken salad wrap with leftover soup at least one day. We are out of uncrustables so the kids are having to think about lunches a little bit more.
Dinner – Saturday-Gravy and biscuits and grits Sunday–Left-overs Monday-Salisbury steak Tuesday– Soft Tacos Wednesday–Sweet Hawaiian beef (new) Thursday– Spaghetti and meatballs Friday- KFC bowls
The focus of the month of March, is to use what we have and keep grocery spending to a bare minimum until the last week of the month. I did go out and check to make sure that we have all the ingredients to complete our meal plan for the month. I am going to only post by the week because we still need some flexibility to change plans as our taste and needs change. We are also using a lot of pre-made meals this month in order to be able to clean out and re-organize the freezer in anticipation of restocking most of the meals.
Breakfast- Saturday– Sausage egg and cheese bagels, Sunday-Matt and Zach; Men’s Breakfast and Sheila and Kendall enjoy a meal out. Lily is at a youth retreat. Monday Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday– Choice of eggs, oatmeal, grits, cereal, or toast.
Lunch–Saturday- Homemade Cheeseburger Pizza Sunday-Grilled Cheese sandwiches Monday– Left-overs for everyone, Tuesday– Soup , Wednesday-Thursday and Friday- uncrustables for the kids. I have a salad for one day and left-overs.
Dinner – Saturday-Left-overs (yes we have cleaned out most of the fridge at this point. Sunday–Instapot Potato Soup Monday-Breakfast casserole Tuesday– Chicken Enchiladas Wednesday–Chicken pot pie Thursday– Pepper Steak Friday- quick tortellini pasta
Planning ahead is a way to always save money. If I know that I have a plan, I am less likely to decide and make random choices. I am definitely planning ahead for the Spring. I can not begin to explain how much I am looking forward to warm days. First, it gets me so much closer to the end of the school year and my summer off with lots of fun filled activities. Next, I am also looking forward to my week of Spring Break at the end of March. Let’s talk about what my plans are starting to look like.
Both Kendall and Zach will be in school during my Spring break which means I should have some extra time to doing not only shopping for food but also some extra time for meal preparation as well. We are currently eating out of the pantry and freezer in order to make more room for prepared meals. I will be make a huge trip to Costco during my week off to purchase items to make at least 30 meals to place in the freezer. This should provide us with enough “prepared” meal to make the months of April and May pass smoothly even with all the end of year activities, baseball and chorus. My current plans include:
· 2 baked ziti- One for an evening meal and one for the freezer.
· 5lbs of taco meat in the crockpot for our Mexican meals
· A pot of sloppy joes. We have been enjoying at least one meal of sloppy joes a month.
· 2 chicken pies and 2 chicken pot pies
· 3 meals of chicken enchiladas- one for an evening meal and the other two for the freezers. · 6 bags of chicken breast ready to grill.
· I am also hoping to try out some more of the freezer meals I have been finding online.
A more long range goal is to plan and prepare ahead at least 60 meals during the summer to use for the school year!
Moving to the garden. I am so excited to have the extra time to devote to the garden this year. Last year was a bust overall but I am wondering if most of the issue is the amount of time and energy that was put in the garden. To reduce the overall expense of the garden, I am planning to use gift cards earned through Swagbucks to pay for most of improvements in addition to all of the plants that I want to use. My goal is to have at least $100 to spend on the purchase of plants during the first week of May. I have purchased both cucumber and squash seeds and will be starting these during my Spring break. I will need to purchase one additional bag of dirt to use for starting these plants. I have already purchased one bag of organic fertilizer and will be purchasing at least 5 more to spread in the garden. Between the dirt and fertilizer I am hoping to spend less than $50. My overall goal is to also fund as much of these purchases with gift cards as well. I will also need to spend several hours if no more in the garden spreading the fertilizer and replacing some of the strings that separate all the squares as well. Prior to moving forward with these plans I also need to make a master plan for planting for the year.
My other goals/ plans during Spring break include an appointment to get my hair colored and a trip to the nail salon for a pedicure and manicure.
Heading toward the end of the month, I want to focus on a couple of things. First, I have spent less than $100 on groceries during the month of February! This balances out for $800 I spent in January. I have a week of break at the end of March and I will be doing lots of re-stocking which means probably a fair amount of expense. My goal over the next 4 weeks is to only buy “needs” For example, today I am stopping by Aldi to grab some cucumbers and tomato for salad and taco Tuesday and some cabbage to make a slaw. Second we are increasing our schedule with baseball practice 2 days a week until games start and then it will be one or two games a week with practice on Saturdays. Finally after eating out for several meals this weekend we NEED to clean out some left-overs.
Breakfast- Saturday– Bacon and egg salad sandwhiches Sunday-Sausage cresent rolls (frozen mix) and orange rolls Monday- Kids and Matt had left-over cinnamon rolls from IKEA and I had pesto eggs. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday– Choice of left-over baked oatmeal, eggs, oatmeal, grits, cereal,or toast.
Lunch–Saturday-Egg Rolls Sunday-Wednesday Monday– Left-overs for everyone Tuesday– Chicken salad wrap for me Kendall and Zach have chicken nuggets , Wednesday-Thursday and Friday- uncrustables for the kids. I have a salad for one day and left-overs.
Dinner – Saturday-Ladies Banquet and pizza for the boys. Sunday–Chinese Monday-Shepherd pie (we had oyster stew on Friday) . Tuesday– Soft tacos Wednesday–Left-overs including choice of meat and veggies to clean out fridge. Thursday– KFC bowls Friday- Shrimp fettuccine alfredo
You will notice lots of easy and quick meals on the menu this week. I still want to busy week we have scheduled I am saving most of the experiments for the weekend. I did make some changes to this weeks plan because we ended up eating left-overs on Friday night and I will be in a meeting until late on Tuesday night. I am planning to grind up a shoulder roast to use as the meat in the shepherds pie. I will also probably make extra mashed potatoes for the freezer and to use in the shephards pie on Friday.
Breakfast- Saturday– Biscuits- Sunday-Bacon omlet Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday– Choice of any available left-overs, oatmeal, grits, cereal, toast or eggos waffles. Wednesday- baked oatmeal either peanut butter/chocolate chip or strawberries and cream to use up the heavy cream at the house.
Lunch–Saturday-Crock pot mac and cheese Sunday-Mexician Monday– Potato soup for kids and chicken stew for me. Tuesday– hummus and dip for me , Kendall and Zach had egg salad sandwiches , Wednesday-Thursday and Friday- uncrustables for the kids. I have a salad for one day and left-overs.
Dinner – Saturday-Arby’s Sunday–Left-overs Monday-Rice Kieblsa . Tuesday– Cheese quesidila and mexican rice Wednesday–Chicken pie Thursday– sloppy joes and FF. Friday- Shephard pie
We were VERY successful eating up the junk food Sunday left-overs this past week. I did not post a menu plan but did talk about some of them over here. The focus of this week is to try out some new recipes. I found a bunch of new to me crockpot recipes that include a shopping list. After looking at most of it, I realized that I would only have to buy the meat for most of these. I did want to do a taste test before stocking the freezer with these items. I also realized that some are just as easy to prepare the morning of or the night before. So far all three have been good but I will most likely only repeat two, the Mexican chill and Honey Sesame Chicken.
Breakfast- Saturday– Pancakes- with leftovers for several additional mornings this week. Sunday-I made an egg frittata with lots of veggies for me and biscuits for the kids and Matt. . Monday- Left-over egg frittata (the kids tasted mine on Sunday and wanted to finish it on Monday). Tuesday, Thursday, Friday– Choice of any available left-overs, oatmeal, grits, cereal, toast or eggos waffles. Wednesday- baked oatmeal of some form.
Lunch–Saturday-Olive Garden (special treat) Sunday-Cranberry Roast with mixed veggies. Monday– Potato soup for kids and a can of soup for me. Tuesday– hummus and dip for me , Kendall and Zach had egg salad sandwiches , Wednesday-Thursday and Friday- uncrustables for the kids. I have a salad for one day and left-overs.
Dinner – Saturday-Mexican Chill with cornbread topping. Sunday–Oddles of noodles soup (yeap it was that good of a day) Monday-Honey Sesame chicken with egg rolls and rice. Tuesday– Taco pasta Wednesday– Baked Ziti Thursday– Hamburgers and FF. Friday – left-overs or rice kielbasa depending on what the fridge looks like.
Do you have a favorite crockpot recipe for me to try?