Last week I talked about attempting to keep my “food snob” status on just $50 a week. I am happy to report that week 1 of the new grocery budget was successful. I spent a total of $53 and was able to make it work for all meals and snacks from Sunday to Saturday! I thought I would feel deprived, but not really! I mean, sure, it would have been nice to have a few extra things on hand throughout the week, but it was DO-able and I didn’t have to sacrifice my health! PHEW!
These are a few of the things I learned from this past week:
- You don’t have to make NEW and exciting recipes every night of the week. Although I love me some variety, having a few of the same meals for lunch or dinner saves you lots of dough!
- Dried beans. Cheap, versatile, and EASY.
- Pasta. I’ve never been a big fan, but when you literally have NOTHING else to eat at the end of the week, pasta sauce, noodles, and peas come together quite nicely.
- Homemade bread. I’ve made 10 loaves of bread and 2 pizza crusts from a big bag of organic flour I bought when it was on sale for $5.99. The bread might not last as long, but it’s still a great way to have fresh bread without spending $3-6 a loaf! These French loaves are SUPER easy to make.
- Fresh produce. When you don’t have the “extras;” chips, crackers, cookies, sodas, etc., it really isn’t as expensive to keep lots of produce in the house! Although most fruit isn’t on sale right now, lots of winter veggies are! I spent just about half my bill on produce and it was well worth it!
- Plan ahead. Last week I didn’t spend very much time in the pre-planning stage. This week, I felt more prepared for my grocery shop. I began planning my attack last Wednesday. This may sound crazy, but it’s NOT!! With several days to compile a grocery list, I was better able to piece together EXACTLY what we would need and be better equipped to avoid impulse buys. This is how I managed to be UNDER budget in week 2!!
Yesterday I left the grocery store (Mustard Seed Market, a health food store similar to Whole Foods, only WAY better), spending a total of $31.35!! This is what I picked up!!
I originally planned to pick up a spaghetti squash for a new recipe I wanted to try, but it was $6 ($1.99/lb). I just couldn’t justify it! I will just have to come up with something else to eat! Sometimes, you have to improvise.
I spend good money on cheese because I believe that with the good stuff, a little goes a LONG way! This Kerrygold, grass-fed cheese ran me $4.59. In my opinion, it’s worth every. single. penny.
I am on a weekly mailer for Mustard Seed Market. In the mailer, you get a coupon for ONE free item each week. This week happened to be vegetable broth. What did I do? Included a new recipe including this FREE ingredient! I also picked up their coupon booklet, which they give for FREE at the front of their store, and found $1 off of nut butter (which I needed) and a $1 off organic butter (which I also needed). SCORE! Although I DO typically buy grass-fed Kerrygold butter…you can’t beat a coupon!
All of these things combined (and baby wipes) totaled $51.35. BUT, lucky for us, this week’s GROUPON was spend $10 and get a $20 GROUPON toward Mustard Seed Market! I bought one, Brandon bought one on another credit card, and my brother picked one up for us too! You can only use one at a time, but that’s $10 off for the next 3 weeks! NICE!
So, even though I paid $31.35 at the market today, I really spent $41.35, since I paid $10 for the GROUPON. Make sense?
Still, UNDER BUDGET!! Crazy! Happy. Girl.
This week’s menu is going to look something like this:
- Sunday: Potato Soup (I will have a recipe up tomorrow…AMAZING) and homemade bread.
- Monday: Potato Soup leftovers and salad greens.
- Tuesday/Wednesday: Supposed to be spaghetti squash gratin. Must improvise. Pinto bean, corn, rice OR potato, and enchilada sauce concoction with veggies.
- Thursday: Salmon cakes, roasted potatoes, and salad (will share the recipe…super easy, quick, and tasty)!
- Friday: Dinner at a friend’s house (probably pizza).
- Saturday: In-laws house.
- Breakfasts: our usual oatmeal concoctions.
- Lunches: Leftovers, salads, PB, tuna, etc.