Monday, January 26, 2009

$100 January Grocery Challenge - Part 2 - More than 100 bucks

Since I had already spent the $100 in the first part of the month, it was unrealistic to think we'd make it out of the month without some further expenses. But I'm not calling this a complete failure because I have been far more selective about needs in these last couple weeks and we have been eating through the pantry and freezer. If times were truly lean, like a loss of income or something really severe like that, you can bet I would be doing better on this. But since we do have funds to buy more, we are not going to go without say, things like milk and cheese and fruit and veggies.

So, here's the oh-so-exciting rundown of the last couple weeks of grocery spending.

2 steaks (These were a splurge for a good Friday night meal. Does anyone else feel like weekend meals should be better than weekday meals?)
Total cost after markdown: $3.45

2 lbs. cheese
1/2 gallon organic chocolate milk (marked down = m.d.) - treat for kids
2 gallons milk
1.25 lb. bananas
4 pints organic heavy cream (drastically m.d. to $.49 each - for making ice cream or some such thing)
16 oz. organic sour cream - m.d.
2 jumbo cookies - 1 for a treat, 1 for a friend having a rough week
Total after discounts and coupons, and with about $2 overcharge for them missing some of the markdown stickers...grrr: $14.10
Side note: I hardly want to seem like a problem customer, but I have had this problem many times at this store and am growing tired of it, but really 75 cents here and 75 cents there does add up.

King Soopers
4 pints blueberries
4 avocados
Total after sales: $8.00

big bag of tortilla chips
big pack of tortillas (My attempts at making these have failed and I was taking a burrito meal to a family.)
Total: $7.00

2 gallons organic milk - m.d.
2 pints milk - m.d.
8 oz. sour cream - m.d.
3 lb. baby carrots
7.65 lb bananas
16 gala apples
12 navel oranges
6 grapefruit
3 red bell peppers
2 cans diced tomatoes
Total after sales, markdowns and coupon: $24.59

Expenses as of January 13 = 103.49
+ these expenses = $160.63

Observations & Activities:
- We are now running low on lots of things, but will make it through the month without further purchases.
- We are running low on diapers, which has led me to using our cloth diapers once again while at home. I'm not sure why I just haven't used them more because they are perfectly good and we have never had a leak. I would like to use them a lot more now until Smiley is potty trained.
- For frugal cooking this week I cooked up a big pot of dried black beans and I made yogurt which is much cheaper than buying it. The kids still prefer store-bought yogurt, but will eat this. My most successful method is this: 1. cook milk on stove until bubbles form on top 2. transfer to corningware and cool to 120 degrees 3. add about 1 cup yogurt (the starter), 2 tsp. vanilla and maybe 1/2 cup honey 4. stir well and cover with plastic lid 5. carefully transfer to tight-fitting cooler bag, zip it up and leave it all day 6. transfer to fridge and enjoy the next morning and beyond.
- I'm very thankful for the cheaply acquired stockpile of personal care items as buying those as they have been needed this month would have significantly raised our total for the month.
- Also, if we would have needed to purchase much meat this month, our total would have been higher.
- All our cold cereal is gone so I'm going to have to use the other breakfast options from the original menu I planned. I'll need to allow a bit more time to do this.

To finish up the month, here is the menu for this week.

Breakfast: oatmeal, fruit, yogurt
Lunch: leftovers of beef split pea soup and/or baked rigatoni, bread, baby carrots
Dinner: Homemade macaroni and cheese (using up bits of Velveeta, shredded cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream & frozen buns for the breadcrumb topping), mixed vegetables, lime jello

B: oatmeal, bananas & blueberries, yogurt
L: leftovers
D: black beans cooked with red pepper and onion, brown rice, sour cream & cheese, cinnamon ice cream (homemade)

B: cooked millet, applesauce, yogurt
L: canned soup, crackers or biscuits, carrots
D: sloppy joe casserole with biscuit topping, green and yellow beans

B: apple/carrot/squash muffins (make a big batch on Wed.),
L: snack lunch: meat, crackers, fruit, carrots
D: pork chops, mashed sweet potatoes, vegetable

B: fruit & milk/yogurt smoothies, muffins
L: I'm drawing a blank...we'll eat something :)
D: company? large turkey pot pie, dutch apple pie, maybe they can bring a salad or veggie?

B: waffles (from freezer), fruit
L: pork roast, mashed potatoes (from freezer), glazed carrots
D: shepherd's pie, whole wheat rolls

B: cinnamon rolls (prepared on Saturday, baked in the morning), fruit
L: BBQ pork (crockpot) on rolls
D: caramelized garlic chicken, mashed potatoes (if there are any left) or fries, fruit or vegetable

Then we will have one more week of sort of slim pickings before a big stock-up again. It is funny when you start to think of going to Costco or grocery stores and buying all the groceries you want as a real luxury or extravagance, but such is the case for us right now.

For some real menu planning inspiration, visit I'm An Organizing Junkie!


mer@lifeat7000feet said...

I just added you to my google reader, Rachel. I'm SUPER impressed with your grocery spending this month.

I don't know which Safeway you shop at, but I will tell you that the one in Monument doesn't catch all those markdowns either. Sometimes it's not worth the hassle of customer service, but most of the time it is...makes me frustrated!

(Oh, the wall color in my house is sort of a camel looks different in different light, but I've been so pleased since we painted 2 years ago!

Karen said...

You are amazing and inspiring! You give me hope that I can use what I have in the kitchen pantry and can reduce my grocery bill! Thanks for your encouragement!