Our spending goal for April was to keep our grocery budget under $600. We have been spending between $1000 and $1300 for the past year so cutting our budget down to $600 was quite a stretch. Part of why I wanted to cut our bill so low is because we are very stocked up on a lot of things and need to eat through what we have. We are also focused on building up our savings this year and one of the ways I want to accomplish that is to cut back on our food spending. We definitely have gotten caught up in a not so frugal spending trend with being home during the pandemic. Groceries have also risen significantly in prices and one of the ways our household will combat this is to cut back on our premade foods and use meal planning to streamline our food purchases to reduce our waste.
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So far at the half way point of the month we have $202.73 left in our budget which is getting pretty close. Part of the reason we are getting so close is because I did spend some money on food that will end up being donated to a local retirement living community. We also stocked up on some great deals when I went to grocery outlet and on Costco sale items. Easter is also a month when we entertain so we did have some expenses there as well but honestly we entertain most months of the year and Easter is not a heavy food budget holiday for us. I did however go a little bit overboard and buy three different hams. Whoops! Actually I bought the first one, found the second one for half the price and then found the third one for even less than half of the second one’s price. We put one in the freezer and will cook another on Easter. I am debating whether or not to freeze or return the most expensive one since it was ridiculously expensive but that may be the one we end up cooking on Easter so I am not sure. One of the hams we bought was pretty small so we won’t be using it for when we entertain.
We also spent some money on Easter candy this month which we wouldn’t have otherwise spent. Prices were for sure higher on candy and I didn’t even look at any of the cake decorating items since I was sure those would be super expensive as well. I did not spend nearly as much on Easter candy as I have in year’s past but there may have been some bribing to get children to come to the store with me with the promise of buying one item of candy. I am not ashamed to pull my bribery tool out of my toolbox under certain circumstances. We don’t eat a lot of candy in our house (we still have Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s candy in the bowl) but we do like to have some variety on hand and if I am being completely honest, Easter candy is my favorite so we always buy some to last a couple of months.
One of the skills I am working on this month is using up what was in the fridge. We are trying to eat more cabbage since it is fairly inexpensive and lasts a long time. I have been cooking up batches of it with other vegetables and both my husband and I will eat it over the next couple of days. My daughter it turns out does not like bell peppers but she will eat cabbage if it is cooked the way she likes it. I bought a lot of bell peppers this month as well but both my husband and I love them so I am sure we won’t have too many issues eating through them.
Another way we have been eating up leftovers is with loaded quesadillas. I tried an avocado salsa that someone recommended and I love it. We also still have quite a bit of sour cream leftover from March that we are working through which pairs really nicely with the avocado salsa. These have been a great quick lunch to have during the week and I love the variety of eating up different leftovers in them every day.
We did have some room in our budget for cooking projects with the kids. My daughter and I made these gluten-free Fruity Pebble cupcakes which ended up being delicious! I froze about half of the unfrosted cupcakes and we will bring them out in a week or two and decorate them with something else. The recipe made 20 cupcakes which was way more than we could eat in a couple of days. Gluten-free baked goods have to be eaten right away or they will go bad so any time we make cookies or cupcakes we always try to freeze some immediately and eat them within a month or two. Right now I have three kinds of cookies in my freezer, these cupcakes and cake from a birthday party earlier in the year. It is great for those days when you don’t have time to bake but the kids need a special treat.
We have been documenting our spending on our YouTube channel and the latest post can be found here. I am already thinking ahead to next month where I want to do a freezer/fridge cleanout challenge. We do have a birthday and Mother’s day to think about though so I am not sure if we can pull it off.
How is your grocery spending going this month?
Click on the picture below to find the Fruity Pebble cupcake ingredients on Amazon: