This week let’s talk about our single biggest expenses food. Yes we spend more on food than our mortgage some months. I have really been focusing on reducing this expense this year. Last year we averaged of $631.51 a month. We have been under budget ever single month so far this year. I thought I would share so of the ways I am making this work.
One of the things that has been going in my favor is that last year, I was able to completely stock our pantry and freezers. I have been very deliberate about keeping a running list of items we are low on or in need of. The Alexa and it’s app make this so easy for me. At least once a month, if not every 2 weeks, I am heading to a grocery store to pick up these items. This week I had a total of 9 items on my list. I also picked up bread and bagels and lots of vegetables. Total spent $53. Our total for the month is currently at $164. I am not planning a trip to Costco this month so I should be able to keep things very low. I am trying to only buy things on the list and greatly reduced items that I know we can use within the next month.
We spent several hours a couple of months ago cleaning out and organizing our freezers in the building. I discovered that we had an abundance of pork items. This freezer is currently very full so I don’t need to any any items to it even very heavily discounted things. I know I paid less for most items even last year than what they are currently. Not buying meat is one of the huge ways that I have been able to reduce our spending. My plan is to use what meat we have for the remainder of the year with the idea we may buy a cow next spring. Next up on the agenda is to clean out our house freezers. We have lots of items that have gotten lost in these freezers. This week it took 3 people to find a pack of hot dogs. But they were found and are on the meal plan for the week.
We have high hopes and plans for our garden this year! We had a huge expense when we update the garden beds. In total including dirt we spent around $1500. Our goal is to grown and eat enough to even our the expense. I had purchased several packets of seed and attempted to grow cucumbers, squash, zucchini, snap peas and green beads from these packets. So far the results are still out. I have somethings growing but not as well as I had hoped. The past two years, I have purchased tomatoes from a local greenhouse. This year I purchased a flat 36 plants for $30 compared to Lowes and what I have paid it the past this is a HUGE savings. I also have started 8 pepper plants in the garden. I usually buy most of my plants from Lowes. The average price is $3.50 a pot which for I get one pepper or tomato plant and maybe 4 squash or cucumber plants. Today we headed to the local farmer’s market where I spent $3.75 on on 10 cucumber plants. (Mine are not near as green or as big). We also spent $3.00 at the local nursery for 2 watermelon and 2 cantaloupe plants. These are half the price of a single plant at Lowes.
We also purchased 2 tomatoes, a squash and a zucchini from the farmer’s market. We spent $5.00 to feed all 5 of us lunch of tomato sandwiches and saluted zucchini and squash.
After a year of eating school lunches, everyone is burn out and decided to return to packing our own. Matt and I still have a lunch allowance but I am finding that I prefer to eat from home most days and use the money for dinners or ball games. I stocked up (10 boxes) of Suddenly Pasta salad last summer at $1 a box. I checked the current price and $2.35 is shocking. We made 2 boxes of pasta salad, added 3 cups of shredded chicken along with the remainder of a cucumber and tomatoes from lunch. For around $3 we have enough for 10 lunch meals.
This week I was also able to find reduced prices on broccoli, blueberries and cucumbers at Aldi. So I made a pot of broccoli soup for dinner. Looking for discounts is the best way to save money but you have to use the food or it is still over spending.
Did you save money this week?