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Tag: budgeting

May 2022 Spending Check In

May 2022 Spending Check In

Our goal for May of 2022 was to spend as little money as possible on groceries for the month. We are using our local free lunches and breakfasts for the community as well as eating through our pantry items and just supplementing with items from […]

Thursday Mini-Channel Share Day

Thursday Mini-Channel Share Day

I thought I would share some of my favorite up and coming YouTube channels today. I am noticing a lot of Food Bank haul unboxing videos trending in my feed and I thought I would highlight a few. Many people rely on food banks temporarily […]

Low Spend April 2022 Grocery Spending Mid-Month Check In

Low Spend April 2022 Grocery Spending Mid-Month Check In

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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Grocery Haul

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.

Easter candy.
Easter candy.

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.

Cabbage and Peppers
Cabbage and peppers.

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.

Quesadilla and cabbage.
Quesadilla and cabbage.

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.

Fruity Pebble cupcakes.
Fruity Pebble cupcakes.

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.

Groceries
Groceries

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:

 

Links:

 

April 2022 Low Spend Month Goals

 

Gardening Update: 04.04.22

5 Year Blogiversary

5 Year Blogiversary

I started my blog in late March about five years ago so I thought I would write a little bit about it for my 5 year blogiversary. I started Oscoey as something to do while I was home with my kids as sort of a […]

April 2022 Low Spend Month Goals

April 2022 Low Spend Month Goals

This site participates in affiliate links and receives a small fee for affiliate recommendations at no cost to you. As always we only recommend products we have tried ourselves. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed […]

March 2022 Spending

March 2022 Spending

For 2022 we are focusing on our grocery spending and trying to find ways to reduce it despite all of the price increases. In January we completed a pantry cleanout challenge and in February I focused on eating through the odds and ends in our freezer. Unfortunately we had some family issues come up in February that we are still dealing with at the end of March and I was not able to post our February spending. I may go back and post it later when I have time but at this point it might be too late. I did not worry about our grocery spending for the second half of February and the first part of March since I was swamped with taking care of my family member so our low spend goal went a little bit sideways.

 

January 2022 Spending

 

Looking back at my January spending post we aimed to keep our groceries at about $800 a month which was reducing our spending down from about $1000 a month. We do not include items such as cleaning supplies, paper products, dog food and coffee in our total since I track these separately. We do not eat out ever and we have quite a few dietary restrictions which can be expensive. I started tracking our coffee separately at the beginning of the year since I was drinking so much of it and wanted a good baseline for it. I only track the beans we buy and when we go out for coffee, not the cream or milk that we put in it since we use those for other things as well. Recently I have reduced my consumption so it will be interesting to see at the end of the year how that plays out.

One expense besides groceries that has been increased lately is for our larger dogs. Luna (bottom) had some skin issues and required a couple of visits to the vet. We also needed to hire a trainer and buy tons of toys to keep their brains stimulated in different ways. For some reason I totally forgot some of the tricks we used for George (top) to keep him occupied during the teenage puppy months so it was super helpful to get some ideas for Luna. They plus our dachshund are now eating through about 40 pounds of dog food every 2.5 to 3 weeks which is insane to me. We switched them to one of the Kirkland brand foods and they seem to be doing ok on it which is great since it cut our dog food bill significantly. Even though we are experienced dog owners we have never owned a herding dog before and Luna has proved to be a challenge in ways our other dogs were not so we felt hiring a trainer to get through the next few months before she turns a year would be helpful and after one visit we are already seeing improvement.

Gardening
Gardening is one of our go to free but fun activities.

For March my goal was to be at $625 for the whole month since we had inherited some food from a family member and we had stocked up in both January and February. What we actually ended up spending was….

 

Whoa. We really blew past our budget and then some. I looked back at what we bought and we ended up stocking up on some items that were on super sale that we eat a lot at Costco (gluten free supreme pizza I am talking to you), shelf-stable items our picky eater loves and that frequently go out of stock such as fruit leather, and pantry basics that I realized we were low on like oil, beans, spaghetti sauce and bread. Yup. We ate up most of the bread I bought in January and we had to do another bread run at the Franz Outlet. I also went through our emergency supplies and realized we had no canned vegetables or fruit so I bought enough for about a week. We are heading into spring and our garden will be in full swing in about a month or two so I am not as worried about having cans of veggies and fruit on hand. We have a ton of frozen blueberries, strawberries, peaches, broccoli, potatoes, peas and green beans in our freezer and my kids will not really eat canned food so I am hopeful that if we do have some sort of emergency without power we will be ok with just the few freeze dried cans I bought. If all else fails they can just have the dried fruit we have on hand and skip some of the veggies for a bit. I would much rather go without veggies for a week or two than have to use up a month or two’s supply of canned veggies every year but that’s just me.

Cabbage
Cabbage and kale from the garden with eggs for a cheap and healthy breakfast.

At the moment our freezers are full and our pantry shelves have only a few spots where I suspect we will need to stock up either this month or the next so I am feeling pretty good. My goal for April is to keep our grocery spending under $600. It is a pretty tight goal but I would love to eat through some of our freezer again this month to make sure we are rotating through everything in a timely manner. I have some freezer meals we need to eat up, some meals I prepped for lunches and I would love to do an inventory mid-month when we have eaten through some of what we have to plan our spending for May.

Cobbler
Cobbler has been one of our favorite freezer clean out desserts.

I would also love to do a deep clean of our garage fridge which takes emptying most of it out to scrub everything down. I honestly have not really taken an inventory of what is in there since my husband uses parts of it to store things he has made which are never labeled. Maybe this month we can go through it together and clear out what needs to be tossed. We do have a crate of 90 eggs which my mother-in-law dropped off last week that need to be eaten before I can clean it though. I am not really sure what to do with all of those eggs, especially since we had just bought 5 dozen from Costco. I gave a dozen to our oldest daughter and I am toying with the idea of pickling two gigantic mason jars worth of eggs with some of the rest. We do eat a lot of eggs in our family but this is way to much for even us so I will most likely give some away on our local Buy Nothing group.

Cranberry Lake
Cranberry Lake at Deception Pass.

For now we will continue to eat through what we have and keep a running list of what we need as we avoid going to the store for as long as possible. We are trying to keep our expenses down in other areas as well and are taking cheap or free day trips over spring break instead of going on vacation. Last weekend we drove up to Deception Pass on Whidbey Island and had a wonderful time exploring Cranberry Lake. We packed lunches and had a great time. This trip cost us only about $20 total and most of that was from the ferry trip home where all passengers are free.

 

What are your grocery spending goals for April?

 

The Importance of Walking in the Wood With Kids

 

Gardening Update 11.07.21

 

Meal Planning: January 2022 Week 4

 

2022 Goals

2022 Goals

Setting goals for 2022 seems a little scary to me. I set high goals for myself for 2020 thinking “this would be my year” but then Covid happened and we ended up treading water for the entire year along with the rest of the world. […]

January 2022 Spending

January 2022 Spending

In January we attempted to do meal planning for the entire month and complete a pantry cleanout and eat through items in our freezer. Whew. It was a lot to keep track of and I am pretty proud of our progress. I was planning on […]

Meal Planning: January 2022 Week 4

Meal Planning: January 2022 Week 4

We made it to the end of January with our meal planning and although we didn’t follow the plan exactly, we did do a great job of eating through items in the pantry. Some of the highlights from this week were roasted potatoes, oatmeal and the cabbage soup I made on Sunday. I also did another pickup of school lunches and we did a decent job eating through what they gave us. They give you so much food sometimes it is hard to eat it all in a week. I probably won’t go again this week because we really don’t need it and we still have leftovers.

Free Lunches for Everyone

USDA Free Lunches

cabbage soup
Cabbage soup.

This week I made some cabbage patch soup. This is something my grandma used to make when I was growing up and I have been craving it for a number of years but had no idea where she got the recipe from. My grandma passed away a few years ago so I was not able to ask her but I did happen to mention it to my mom in passing and my mom somehow knew exactly what the name of it was and that it originated in a restaurant in Snohomish. Once I knew the name I was easily able to Google it and get the right one. I sort of used the recipe linked below. We were out of a few ingredients and since we were in a pantry cleanout I did not go to the store. I also used my husband’s homemade sausage in place of the ground beef. My grandma used whatever meat (if any) she had on hand so I am pretty used to having different meat in there. We ate this throughout the week and we still have one serving left that I will probably freeze since we won’t eat it today. I am so glad I mentioned this soup to my mom because it is one of my favorites!

Cabbage Patch Soup

oatmealOatmeal with eggs.oatmeal eggs

Can you sense another theme here? I definitely did great job of eating through the oatmeal packets this week. I ended up using two at a time with some of the dried apples and a couple of fried eggs and it was an excellent breakfast full of fiber and protein. I love gluten-free oatmeal packets because they contain way less added sugar than the regular ones. I don’t like a lot of sugar first thing in the morning and honestly the peaches were not a good choice. I also snacked on an apple throughout the morning and that was delicious as well!

peanut butter bagel apple
Peanut butter bagel and apple.

Another favoriteย  breakfast of mine is peanut butter toast with apples. This time I added a little bit of honey since local raw honey really helps with my allergies. The Seattle area had poor air quality last week due to some air stagnation and the honey helped with my sore throat. I needed to use up the bagels I bought so I had the last one with breakfast one morning and the others toasted with butter with my cabbage soup. They were pretty good but for some reason these gluten-free bagels were not salty at all. I am wondering if that is why they were at the Franz Outlet. I am going to eat through some frozen gluten-free bread I found in my freezer when I cleaned it out yesterday this week but I fully anticipate needing to go back to the outlet next week for more gluten-free goodness. We are set on regular bread for a few months but I may break down and get another pack of donuts for the kids if they are under a dollar again.

potatoes broccoli Kielbasa and apple
Potatoes, broccoli, Kielbasa and apples.

So this meal was a slight cooking failure. I pulled the potatoes out of the deep freezer earlier in the week to make fried potatoes but they just didn’t work out the way I wanted them to and they ended up more like mashed potatoes instead. They were still tasty though. We still have some of these leftover that I am hoping to eat up this week. I steamed the broccoli and the Kielbasa together and totally left them on the stove too long while I was trying to fix the potatoes so the broccoli was a little bit (I mean a lot) mushy but it was still edible and we ate it no problem. The Kielbasa was one of the items from the fridge I needed to eat up this week. This was an experiment buying Kielbasa in a large pack from Costco and honestly next time I will split the package up in to a few meals and freeze all but what we will need that week. I probably could have frozen these as well but I am trying to reduce our freezer this week so I didn’t want to add more to it.

sushi bowl
Sushi bowl.

Well since we had the ingredients leftover from our sushi bowls last week we just “had” to make them again this week. This time I remembered to take a picture before I dug in and I must say they are very pretty. We seared our salmon this week and ate it with some sprouts my husband started a week or two ago and it was delicious! This is definitely a highlight of the week!

Pancakes
Pancake stack.

We rounded out this week with pancakes and bacon for breakfast this morning. My husband made some gluten-free ones this time not from a mix and they were very good. My daughter and I had them with maple syrup and my son had Nutella on his. I didn’t get a picture of the bacon but it was pretty good too.

Freezer
Clean Freezer.

Looking back I didn’t get a lot of pictures this week. We had our usual Friday night pizza and ate a lot of the same thing just different ways to eat through what we had. The week is kind of a blur for me since I worked so much all week and didn’t really have any free time. Yesterday however I did clean out our main freezer in the kitchen. This is what I would call a working freezer and we use it all the time. I try to not go into the deep freezers very often since they tends to get freezer burn the more we open them so in our main freezer I keep open packages and things we use a lot, like frozen peas and bread. I only had to throw out a couple of things from this freezer when I cleaned it out which was pretty impressive to me. I last cleaned it over the summer so I am surprised there wasn’t more. We are going to try and eat up some things in this freezer this week. I moved items we won’t be eating to our largest deep freezer so what we needed to eat up wouldn’t get lost in the shuffle. If I had to choose another fridge I would definitely get one that is side by side instead of a french door fridge and a drawer at the bottom. It is too easy to just dump stuff in the bottom drawer and forget about it.

meal plan
January 2022 Meal Plan.

We finished out the month for Meal Planning and overall I would say we did a great job. We are not good at conforming to a meal schedule so the fact that we were able to mostly stick to the plan for the month is pretty great. We did however really only plan a few days at a time but it did help us learn how often we needed to cook and that we are cooking way too much. For February I am going to focus on our freezers. We are finishing up our storage room downstairs hopefully today and moving our smaller freezer down there. We will use it for mostly meat but it does need to be cleaned out very badly. I sort of cleaned it out last summer when we bought our big one but we never defrosted it or got to the bottom so I am a little nervous about that one. Most of the items in there are unlabeled since my husband froze them and has (or had) them memorized so I am not really sure what is in there. I am hoping that by eating through our freezers this month we will have room to hopefully buy half a cow next year and get some of our gardening goodies into there for next year.

Garlic
Garden garlic sneak peek.

My goal this week is to make enough room in the other freezers to completely empty our small one and defrost it. I am sure we can do it, but it may take more than one week. I am also hoping to avoid the grocery store this week. I still need to tally up our grocery spending for January and see how we did. I am not anticipating that we did a great job with spending. We spent way too much stocking up the first weekend of the month to have reduced our spending but we have not even started using some of the items we bought and should be good on those for another month or two. I am however setting a low spending goal for groceries this month and will try to get a post out later this week about it. We are only really out of a couple of things I will list below and aside from the usual fresh vegetables and eggs I might be able to stretch the groceries out a couple of more weeks, maybe even the month if we can plan it well and stick to it. I am going to take stock this afternoon and consult with the family to see if it will work. We are also going over to the mother-in-laws again today for a Lunar New Year lunch so I won’t know how many leftovers we have until later on today.

Grocery List for Feburary

  • Eggs
  • Cream
  • Kidney beans
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Dog food
  • cucumbers
  • lettuce
  • frozen peas (stock up item)

 

Look for another post later this week outlining our grocery budget for January and February. I am also working on some goals for 2022 and getting some content up on YouTube. Until then, happy pantry cleanout!

 

Meal Planning: A New Start

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Uber Frugal Month January 2018 Wrap Up!

Meal Planning: January 2022 Week 3

Meal Planning: January 2022 Week 3

For Meal Planning this week I pulled a bunch of forgotten items out of the pantry once again. We have a lot in there and honestly I could probably do this clean out for another month or two with only some grocery shopping for fresh […]


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