Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Week #8- The Over Budget Grocery Shopping

Do you ever have one of those weeks where you feel like all the time you spend budgeting, couponing, etc is a complete and utter waste of time.  In total I spend hours each week sorting, clipping, and organizing coupons, checking the coupon websites, making my list, and adding and subtracting every way possible to keep everything within my tiny $30 budget.  I consider this part of my job of being a stay at home mom, making my husbands paycheck go as far as possible.  However this past week many things happened that made me feel like it was a waste, at least for this week.  So I don't have a $30 shopping trip to show you because I did what I never do, I went into the store with no list and didn't even keep a running tally of what I was buying.  I didn't go crazy throwing everything that looked good in my cart, cuz I just can't do that, but I ended up going $15 over  budget.

You see when I go to the grocery store I have a list with the prices, the coupons, the price after coupons, the total amount spent, and how many of each item I need to buy, and usually my total amount spent is within pennies of my $30 budget.  Meaning I spend every last dime with no room for adding last minute items.  My husband used to be really bad about coming with me and adding multiple items to my cart, things he "needed" but forgot to tell me about.  He's gotten much better now after me complaining  explaining how I do my list and how important it is to stay on budget.  Now instead of just putting things in the cart he points to things that are on sale (I've taught him well) and makes sure I see them, knowing he wants me to buy them.  Normally I just say "yea I saw that" and go on with what's on my list.  This shopping trip, because of the week I was having, I said screw it.  When he pointed at the Tyson chicken tenders that were on sale for $3.99, instead of saying my usual, I said nothing and just put them in the cart.  When the Gordon's fish fillets were right next to them, again I said nothing and put them in the cart.  I rarely buy frozen items like this because I would rather spend my budget on chicken breast, ground beef, or pork loin that will last longer.  I bought ice cream, which I don't think I've bought in about a year (it was only $1.50 with a coupon but I would normally pass it up anyway).  I have no menu plan for this week because again I've felt like my efforts are lost.

I've been doing a $30 grocery budget for about 3 years now, and I consider myself pretty good at making sure we have everything we need including meat, fresh fruit, veggies, and enough food for 7 dinners, lunches, and breakfasts.  There have been few times where I have went over budget by more than a couple dollars and I pride myself on that.  I know plenty of people who say they have a $100 budget and spend $120 or more during the week without batting an eye.  I'm just not like that, our budget doesn't allow it and normally I'm ok with it but when you have one of those moments where you feel like your the only one giving this budget your all, you figure what's the point?

That's where I'm at today.  I'm in a mood, and not a great one.  No worries because I know me and I know this coming week will be back to normal with the usual hours spent clipping, organizing, and making lists to stick to my $30.  I guess maybe everyone needs a break sometimes.  Maybe every one needs to get out of the norm for a day or so to get rejuvenated.

If not this is what I'm going to tell myself to make me feel better.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Week #7- Grocery Shopping

This past week I was a little disappointed with the lack of sales to combine with coupons, and meat sales, there were like zilch! Meijer did have a pretty good sale on their fresh produce so I decided to focus on that this week.  I love the summer for the produce sales and I try to stock up on what I can to freeze for the winter months when I would have to pay $5 for a pint of blueberries rather than the $1.50, I pay now.
I only had $24.50 to work with this week because I bought my weekly milk and dozen eggs last week at amazing prices.

4 Old Orchard frozen juices- $1.00 each
2 Heinz ketchup pouches $0.97 used a $0.55 coupon that doubled to $0.97 making them FREE
1 Sunny D- $1.00
1 Hawaiian Punch Aloha Morning $2.39 used a $1.00 coupon = $1.39
2 Chobani Greek yogurt $1.00 used a $0.30 coupon that doubled to $0.60 making  them $0.40 each
1 Meijer brand canned tuna- $0.79
2 blue bonnet margarine quarters $0.75 each
1 French baguette $1.00
1 head of lettuce $0.99
3 Roma Tomatoes @ $1.29/lb= $1.10
Fresh Green beans @ $0.77/lb=$1.29
Green seedless grapes @ $0.89/lb= $2.08
8 ears of sweet corn= $2.00
1 large container of Meijer brand Quick Oats (not pictured cuz I forgot) $2.29
TOTAL: $20.23
This week has been a bit busy which is why this post is about 4 days late, and to beat it all I'm still not actually done grocery shopping and it's now going on Wednesday.  As the total shows I still have about $4 leftover, which I had intentions of buying bread, garlic, and shredded cheese with.  However since it's mid week and I'm beginning to wonder when I'm going to get to the store, this leftover budget will roll to this coming Friday's shopping trip if needed.
Since the menu plan for this week is off  the top of my head and not really planned (I have good reason trust me, just can't discuss it yet) I decided not to post one.  I did however use the French bread above to make some delish Italian garlic croutons, and we have had salad for multiple meals and snacks using them.  I froze 5 ears of corn for future use since I love stocking up on the fresh veggies in the summer to have that same flavor in the winter.  I also blanched and froze all the fresh green beans I purchased for future use when canned isn't on sale and I have none in my cabinet.
The fresh produce in my favorite part of summer grocery shopping!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Pioneer Woman's Tomato Soup

I am in love with this tomato soup.  I will never eat a can of Campbell's again nor will I make any other kind from scratch, Pioneer Woman has ruined me for all other tomato soups.  I don't use the Sherry she calls for because I never have alcohol in our house and I don't see the point in going out and buying some for one recipe.  I promise you will not miss it if you choose not to use it.

I don't normally have fresh herbs on hand, as I'm sure most of you out there don't, so I have used dried parsley and dried basil and the flavor is still there.  I don't measure mine but I probably put in about 1T parsley and 1-2t basil.
I have made this many times with the diced tomato but I guess I'm too used to canned tomato soup that is smooth, no chewing involved, and I think I prefer it that way as does my husband.  So this time I put in a 28oz can of crushed tomatoes instead of the diced and I love it twice as much, if that's possible.
My mom made fun at me for cooking a hot tomato soup when it's nearly 100 degrees outside but this soup is THAT good!  It's all year round good!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Menu Plan Week #6

I'm slowly starting to get back into the "cooking" around our house.  After being on vacation it seems to take a week or so to get back into the swing of things, not to mention other things going on but I'm ready for some good home cooked meals.

1. Homemade Tomato, Basil, and Mushroom pizza
2. Pioneer Woman's Tomato Soup (by far the best tomato soup I have ever tasted!) and grilled cheese
3. BBQ ribs, corn bread, mashed potatoes, and fresh peaches (my mom has a peach tree that started producing mass quantities of peaches so I hit the jackpot and started peeling slicing and freezing them)
4. Jambalaya
5. Breakfast
6. Turkey Franks (Jennie-O turkey franks are awesome and I'm not much for turkey dogs but I have to make the exception for these.  I could eat these in place of regular hot dogs and be just fine), mac & cheese, green beans
7. Leftovers

Friday, July 12, 2013

Week #6 Shopping- Grocery Challenge

Since we were out of town last week, and most of the week was consumed with unpacking, laundry, and getting back into our normal routine, shopping and menu planning were on the bottom of my list.  So we ate whatever I felt like cooking and whatever was easiest. 

This week we are right back to normal, and at first when I looked at the sale ads and coupon match-ups I was a little disappointed thinking the deals were not at all as good as I had hoped, but it turned out to be a pretty good week.
Friday morning shopping and here's what I came home with:

I hit two stores today Kroger and Aldi, and I didn't get my usual $10 worth of meat since there were no good deals on any and I refuse to pay more than I would normally.
2-Honey Nut Cheerios Crunch Medley $2.29 used coupon $0.85 that doubled to $1.70 = $0.59 each
2-Froot Loop Treasures $1.99 used $0.70 coupon that doubled to $1.40 = $0.59 each
2- Green Giant Veggie Chips $0.99 used $0.50 coupon that doubled to $1.00 making them both free
4- Bugles $0.99 used $0.50/2 coupon that doubled to $1.00 = $0.49 each (my husband likes these to take to work for his lunch)
1-Aloha Hawaiian Punch $2.29 used $1.00 coupon = $1.29
2- Canned Veggies $0.67 each since my sister works there we get a 10% discount on Kroger brand items making them $0.60 each
3- Gallons Milk $1.50 each on Manager's Special
1-Loaf Bread = $0.85
1-Hot Dog Buns= $0.89
1- Hamburger Buns= $0.89
10lbs Potatoes $2.99
2lbs Onions= $1.69
1-Tortilla Shells= $0.99
1lb Strawberries= $1.59
1 pint cherry tomatoes= $0.59
2 bags Carrots= $0.59
1 pint Mushrooms= $0.69
2- Canned Veggies= $0.49 each
1-Canned Diced Tomatoes= $0.79 each
TOTAL= $26.95 and I received a $2.00 catalina on a future purchase for buying 2 boxes of Cheerios which I had intended to used for 2 gallons of my milk but of course I got in line and completely forgot. 
Since I take all of my grocery money for the week from our first check of the month, if I find a great deal on meat, milk, bread, or eggs (the weekly essentials) I stock up for the weeks to come. I do not take money from future weeks for anything else.  I have found when you start doing this, the last week of the month inevitably ends up with hardly no money to spend.  When I went to the milk section of Kroger I noticed they had quite a few gallons marked down to $1.50 each!  Since we go through a minimum 3 gallons a week and the ones on sale had an expiration date of July 23 I knew they would last and I bought them up.  I ended up with 7 gallons, 3 for this week, 3 for next, and 1 for the week after that.  I took all but 1 of the manager special gallons, had I had room for more in my fridge I would have bought it too, but I'm so super excited about the savings.
Where I would normally spend on average $7.50 a week for milk, this week and next I spent $4.50,  saving $3.  To most $3 doesn't seem like much, and most don't probably wouldn't get a whole lot for $3 but depending on the sale and the coupons $3 can get you a lot when it comes to groceries.
The last of my $30 grocery budget this week will be spent on eggs and toilet paper.  Our Giant Eagle has a great deal on toilet paper and 1 dozen for $0.99 which of course I will be buying a months worth this week because they are usually $1.68/dozen.
I'm really fortunate to have so many grocery stores so close together so making multiple stops (even though it's not my favorite thing to do) is easy and doesn't cost a lot of extra gas money since I'm not having to go out of my way.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

2 Maxwell Shirts

I have had it in my mind to make Grant a 4th of July Maxwell shirt and one for our family reunion since I bought the pattern months ago.  Leave it to me to wait until the last week, and right after Relay for Life to get it started.  I will say it was so much easier making this the 2nd and 3rd time around.  That could be for a couple reasons...1 being I've made the shirt before so I'm more familiar with the pattern and instructions, or 2 because I actually cut the pattern pieces out the way they were supposed to be cut out, including the button plackard.  Button holes make me nervous, I think it's because I have to change out presser foots on my machine, make sure the buttons line up with the holes, and measure where to put them all.  Plus if you screw them up they are right there in front and everyone is bound to notice.

So what did I do about this fear of mine......I sewed both the shirts to the point of having no steps left other than button holes and buttons.  Which I guess is a good thing because I only had to switch the presser foot out once and I could run through and face my fear all at once instead of in 2 installments, 1 for each shirt.

I'm so excited they are done and I can finally breathe a sigh of relief knowing my to-do list is shorter.
I'm super proud of them, especially the light blue one.  I've had a garbage bag full of some of my husbands old dress shirts, pants, polo shirts, etc, for over a year and have done very little with any of them.  Of course my plan from the day I had him clean out his closet was to make Grant some clothes from them.  It has taken me this long to make that happen.

Kind of sad when you think about it, but oh well.  I used 2 of his shirts to make the lighter blue one.  1 for the main body of the shirt and a small piece of another for the yolk on the back.  This was the first and only shirt of the 3 I've made that I didn't use the same coordinating fabric for the pocket flaps and the yolk.

I wish I would have gotten a picture of Grant actually wearing his 4th of July shirt but unfortunately it rained all day and we didn't make it outside or to the fireworks, so it didn't dawn on me to get the camera out.  I will say he looked pretty darn cute in it.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Week #5 Grocery Challenge

We have been down south on vacation for the past week and just got home.  A trip that should have taken about 7-8 hours, took us 11.5 hours.  I was not a happy camper but it felt so good to walk through our front door.  Because we were out of town I didn't do a meal plan last week and I have yet to do my grocery shopping this week.  Normally my routine is to grocery shop Friday morning, since we weren't home last friday my plan is to go shopping in the beginning of the week for the essentials, milk and bread, then wait until friday to do the rest of my shopping. 

I have already started compiling my list and printing coupons from coupons.com that match the sales this week.  I missed out on quite a few good deals last week but we had a great time visiting family.  Now it's just time to get back into the swing of things and our normal daily routine.

So if you are waiting for the Challenge this week (and I know so many of you are) , I will be keeping you in suspense a few days longer.

Hope you all had a good 4th of July holiday!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Good as the Restaurant Salsa

Having a low grocery budget and being absolutely determined to stick to my budget means having to come up with things on the fly.

I was in need of some salsa for the quesadillas I was making and refused to buy any at the store.  I remembered seeing a recipe for salsa in my Pioneer Woman cookbook.  I had most of the ingredients so I decided to wing it and my oh my am I glad I did because it turned out delish! 

Don't you just want to crawl through your computer screen and dip a tortilla chip in it?
Since I didn't have everything the recipe called for I had to improvise and come up with my own.
Here is my version:
15oz can diced tomatoes
1 can Rotel diced tomato with green chilies
1/2 garlic clove minced
1/2 onion diced
about 6 slices canned jalapeno diced (the book recipe called for a fresh jalapeno but all I had was some in a jar)
pinch of salt
1/4t sugar
1/4t cumin
cilantro to taste-minced
Put everything in a bowl and mix.  I used my Magic Bullet and spooned the mixture into it, pulsing it a few times to break up the chunked tomato and combine everything.  This recipe made enough slaso to fill a Ragu jar I had saved for an occasion just like this.
I was so excited with how this salsa turned out and that I made do with items I already had in my pantry.  My husband even raved about how good it was and how much it tasted like the mexican restaurant's where we live.
So go raid your pantry and whip up some homemade salsa.  Your family will thank you.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Breakfast Quesadillas

I decided to use leftover ingredients from the Relay breakfast burritos to make a sort of breakfast for dinner.  First of all I love quesadillas, and I love putting different things in them.  The first one was a ham and cheese.  I used deli ham lunchmeat and shredded cheese and it was so completely tasty.
the next was a sausage and cheese quesadilla.  I used breakfast sausage I seasoned from scratch.
This one was tasty as well.
My favorite kind of meal is one made from leftovers or out of the freezer because half the work is already done, which makes my life alot easier, and we all love that.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Total Pageviews