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Tag: buy nothing

August 2022 Grocery Spending Wrap Up

August 2022 Grocery Spending Wrap Up

We continued to work on our grocery budget for August 2022 with a goal of $600. I wasn’t sure if we could make it this month but we came closer than last month at $709.79. We definitely ate better this month and a large chunk […]

July 2022 Final Grocery Spending

July 2022 Final Grocery Spending

We were out of a lot of staples for July so I knew we would have an expensive month for groceries. We are still working hard at keeping our food budget well under $1,000 by watching prices more carefully, eating up what we have and […]

May 2022 Final Grocery Spending

We are working on our grocery spending for 2022 and our goal for May was to do a low spend month. Unfortunately we ended up a little bit swamped during the middle of the month and we both spent too much money and I did not get around to filming all of our grocery runs. I ran some estimates on our spending and it looks like we ended up spending right around $500 which is a huge improvement from typical $1000 a month spending habits. Although we did not reach our $200 goal I am pretty proud of our progress at reducing our spending.

 

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 to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

 

I tracked most of our spending on our YouTube Channel and linked our posts below. If you haven’t subscribed yet you can right here.

First Grocery Haul:

 

Second Grocery Haul:

 

Third Grocery Haul:

 

Fourth Grocery Haul:

 

Overall I am happy with our progress. May tends to be a spendy month for us with Mother’s Day, a family birthday, Memorial Day weekend and we make most of our summer purchases in May as well. We were successfully able to cut our grocery bill in half which I am pretty proud of. If you remember, April we tried to cut down on our spending and ended up spending the same amount we always do. My goal is not perfection though but to make progress every month and see what works best for us.

Lunch
Lunch.

I am hoping to use the summer to cut back on our packaged food eating but that will lead us to buy more staples such as gluten-free oats, flour and sugar. I am not sure if it will cost more to make food from scratch at home or buy it at Costco. Prices seem to have stabilized a bit but leave a comment below if you are not seeing that in your area. Luckily the upcoming wheat shortage will not effect us much since we really don’t eat much of it besides bread for the kids. My kids would be perfectly ok with gluten-free bread as long as it is the homemade bread my husband makes but right now it is much cheaper to buy regular bread for them. I don’t think there will be much of a price increase for rice and gluten-free flour in the near future but maybe later. We just bought a 25lb bag of this Bob’s Red Mill all in one gluten-free flour so we shouldn’t need to buy more for a while.

Free Lunch
Free Lunch Unboxing. Three whole pizzas, amazing!

One of the ways we were able to cut our grocery budget down was to utilize the Universal Free Lunch program at a local school district. We have gone on and off over the past couple of years mostly during the times when the kids are home for a stretch since the meals are easily put together by the kids independently but starting in May we made a point to start going every week and I have been posting our items on our YouTube channel every week. Although this has saved us some money, they gave us so much every week that we ended up freezing a lot of it. We are eating through what we have this month and throughout the summer since the program ends in June. This program is amazing and benefits so many members of the community. It will be a huge loss for many families when schools no longer provide lunch and breakfast for every student.

Free Lunches.
Free Lunches.

That wraps up our grocery spending for May with some decent progress in cutting our food bill down. I am posting our first freezer cleanout video this week and will do a spending check in mid-way through the month. How is your grocery budget faring?

 

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 to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

 

Links:

Reusable Bags

Gluten-free cream of mushroom soup

Gluten-free fig bars

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free Flour

April 2022 Spending Wrap Up

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 […]

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 to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

 

For April 2022 our goal is to have a low spend month with a focus on groceries, activities and other household items. We are going to achieve this through meal planning, shopping sales, eating through our pantry, only shopping for what is necessary and planning low cost activities. As you may know our focus for 2022 is keeping our grocery budget down and working on using what we have. I would love to reduce our food waste and get better at planning ahead with our meals. So far we completed a pantry clean out challenge in January and worked on our freezer for February. March was kind of a wash since we were dealing with family stuff but for April I would love to clear out more freezer space and eat through the meals I have stashed away in there to make room for the garden season this spring and summer.

Budget Planning Tool
Legend Budget Planner

To get a fresh start with my budgeting I bought this Budget Planner off of Amazon. Unfortunately I ended up having to buy two since our puppy ate the first one while I was washing dishes. I have been using YNAB (referral link) for the past six or so months in addition to Quicken but I am finding that YNAB struggles with our method of putting everything on a credit card and paying it off. I am going to try a paper planner for a bit and see if that will help me visualize our money better. Our budget is pretty wonky and uneven from month to month so I am hoping that by writing it down my brain will keep track of it in a different way. I also bought these stickers to go along with my planner as well. At the end of the month I will let you know how it is going.

Meal Planning
April Meal Planning

Another tool we are using to reduce our costs is to work on our meal planning. I took this picture when I was just starting to fill out our monthly meal plan but we have two nights a week when our menu is preset. I put chicken nuggets on for Tuesday nights but really only our son eats chicken nuggets every week. Tuesday night chicken nuggets has turned into chicken night and I have been cooking chicken breast for anyone who wants an alternative option. It really helps our kids to have touchstone meals in their weekly routine and I have found that by having two night a week where they know what dinner will be it really helps with satisfying that itch for routine and predictability in their week. I picked up this Meal Planning Bundle from Mindful Hustle (No affiliation) last fall and so far I am liking the layout of them.

Cranberry Lake
Cranberry Lake

Another strategy we will be using to reduce our costs in April is to do a staycation over Spring Break and do low cost or free activities. Last weekend we took a day trip up to Deception Pass on Whidbey Island and it ended up only costing us money because we drove down the island and took the ferry home. We do have family that lives on the southern part of the island and one of our activities over break will be to spend the day out there. I anticipate this will be our most expensive day since we will be paying for the ferry and buying bagels for everyone. It will still be cheaper than a vacation though!

cabbage
Cabbages June 2020

April is also a heavy gardening month and this year I plan on adding several new beds down the side of my house. Although I did have to purchase new beds, I bought them a month ago and technically they will not count towards my April budget. I will however need to buy soil to fill my beds this month and part of why I am doing a low spend this month is to cover the cost of the soil. I honestly have a lot to do to get our garden ready and we will be spending most of our afternoons and weekends working in the yard this month. Gardening is one of my favorite activities so I am really going to enjoy it!

The last tool we are going to utilize this month is one of my favorite ways to keep costs down, no spend days. I find that the more no spend days we do a month, the better we are at staying within budget. I have been trying to consolidate our grocery trips this year and with gas prices rising I am also working on reducing our trips out of the house as well. We are doing one grocery trip at the start of April to buy dog food and cheese (can you believe we forgot to buy it at the store last time?) but after that we will be waiting as long as possible to go back. We have a well stocked pantry and my greens are starting to grow in the garden so I am hoping we can wait at least a couple of weeks to make any sort of meaningful grocery trip. Our spending goal for April is to stay under $600 for groceries which is very tight for us right now.

 

What ways are you trying this month to reduce your spending?

 

Links:

You Need a Budget

Meal Planning Template

Budget Planner:

 

Stickers:

 

2022 Goals

 

Victoria Part 1: Butchart Gardens

 

A New Beginning in Budgeting Part One: Using Quicken to Build a Buffer

 

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 […]

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 2

Meal Planning: January 2022 Week 2

Meal planning this week was mostly about eating leftovers and using fresh produce that needed to be eaten. We did our last major grocery run on 1/02/22 so after a couple of weeks some of our produce was looking like it would go bad. I am also remembering why I am not so good at meal planning. We are very last minute with our meals most days and never know how much of something will get eaten the first night. Our kids tend to eat a lot some weeks and then not very much the next and it is hit or miss whether or not our particular eater will try something we make. All of this makes it hard to plan out meals but we are working on it and hopefully with practice we will get better at it.

broccoli casserold
Broccoli cheese casserole.

We cooked way too much food the first couple of weeks of January so there were tons of leftovers to use up this week including this broccoli cheese casserole from last weekend. Although this casserole was very tasty, my daughter preferred other leftovers and didn’t eat much of it. It was also super not good for you with tons of cheese and butter so we probably won’t be making it again anytime soon. We are trying to eat healthier and unfortunately gluten-free noodles don’t freeze very well so we had to eat it all this week. This did however use up some of the ham and broccoli that which was great.

eggs and pearseggs and pears

Can you see a theme here? I ate a lot of eggs and pears for breakfast last week. The pears were part of the produce that needed to be eaten before it went bad and I am trying to keep up with my protein in the morning. Eggs are one of the quickest ways to get protein in first thing in the morning. Over easy eggs are my favorite but sometimes I like to eat scrambled eggs with a little bit of mozzarella mixed in. One of the things I have been trying to do is eat something fermented or pickled at a meal or two a day. This week it has been pickles and Spanish queen olives. Usually I would have had kimchi as well but we are out and it takes a while to make more. The baby bell cheeses also need to be eaten up since the kids lost interest in those after eating about 2/3 of them. Why am I not surprised?

Apples and oranges
Apples and oranges from the school.

So I must confess on Friday I broke down and went to the Franz Bread Outlet near me and went a little bit overboard on bread. I went on the way home from picking up lunch kits from our local school. In case anyone didn’t know, The FDA has approved free lunches and breakfasts for all kids age 1-18 in the U.S so if you are experiencing food insecurity and do not know about this program I would encourage you to look up the different school districts in your area and see how they are providing them. We go to a neighboring district because the pickup times work better for us. Some schools will only provide a days worth of meals and others will provide meals for 5-7 days at a time. We only get them occasionally when the kids are home since the kits include lunches that kids can make themselves which is super helpful for those weeks when the kids are home and the adults are working. The variety they provide has also helped our particular eater find new thing they like so I love that as well. Please see the below links for more information:

Free Lunches for Everyone

USDA Free Lunches

bagel and broccolli
Pizza bagel and broccoli.

I stopped at Franz because I wasn’t feeling so hot and I realized I didn’t have any gluten-free bread that I could toast. Have you ever been to a bread factory just before lunch when they have super fresh bread 4/$5.00 with a free loaf for every $10 you spend? I did and I went a little bit overboard. I was just going to get gluten-free bread for me and bagels for the kids but they had so much fresh bread I went a little crazy. Keep in mind that I can’t eat any of it since I am gluten-free. All of it was $1.25 each. Such a steal! I got a variety of bread, rolls, English muffins, bagels and one single pack of donuts for the kids. 8 items of gluten filled joy for $10 and then a loaf of gluten-free bread and a pack of gluten-free bagels for me for another $11.00 plus the lady gave us three free items off of the free rack and a pack of animal cookies for my daughter. It was a crazy amount of bread for only $22! I put most of it into the freezer, gave some to my oldest daughter and we opened up the bagels to make pizza bagels for lunch. We won’t need to buy bread for a very long time!

soup
Ramen with vegetables.

I was feeling very run down last week with lots of work stress and just general stress from everything going on in the world right now. One of my go-to comfort meals is some gluten-free ramen with leftover vegetables, fresh tomatoes and seaweed. This week I ate some steamed broccoli, tomatoes, grated carrot, seaweed and I added an egg while the noodles were cooking. Usually I add some kimchi to this as well but we need to make more. I love the saltiness of the ramen in the middle of the day. I have a hard time getting enough salt but lately I have been working on it and I have found that a salty lunch really works well for this. This is a pretty big bowl of soup to and it keeps me full until dinner time which helps with the afternoon snack cravings.

tofu soup
Tofu soup.

On Saturday we were invited over to my mother-in-laws for lunch and she made us so much yummy food! My favorite was this tofu soup which was super simple but flavorful. She sent some home with us so we also had it for dinner as well. We are super spoiled because she sends us food all the time (even during the pandemic she would randomly drop it off) and all of it is delicious. My kids love her homemade Pho best of all. They eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner every time she cooks it! We had some hesitations about going over there since Omicron is spreading fast but she lives alone and everyone is vaccinated so we decided to go. Our kids are tested for Covid at least once a week and they have been negative the whole time. My husband and I have been mostly isolating with the occasional quick trip to the store so our risk was low. It was kind of strange because the kids had a blast just getting out of the house and playing with different toys for once. They are old enough now that we were able to let them play in the front yard while the grownups talked in the kitchen too which is so amazing.

gluten-free crumb cake
Gluten-free crumb cake.

The pantry cleanout item I am the most proud of this week was the gluten-free crumb cake I made on Friday. I have pulled this box out of the pantry many times over the past four months or so and then put it back so it wasn’t cluttering the counter. I have no idea why I never made it but now that I have I can say it was pretty good! Next time I will swirl the crumb topping in more but otherwise we loved eating it. I am pretty proud that I finally used up an item I had been trying to use up for months. Phew.

fruit leather
Fruit leather and raisins.

Another item we needed to eat up was some fruit I bought for fruit leather and the grapes my daughter insisted she would eat. Newsflash, she did not eat them all as we had hoped. On Saturday I cooked up the pears, blackberries and a couple of apples on the stove until they were tender. I blended them up and put them in the dehydrator with some washed grapes and now we have fruit leather! My son loves fruit leather and this is an easy way to make it without all of the plastic packaging. I am going to get a recipe up on the blog for fruit leather soon! The grapes are still drying as I write this since they take a lot longer to dry but hopefully the kids will eat them. I know better than to buy grapes at Costco since we never eat them but I was hopeful as always…

Items to use up this week.

I should probably give an update on the items I used up this week from my goal last week. For one, the dish soap ended up not cleaning anything to save it’s life so we ended up throwing it out. I am sure it was too old to work any more. We ate up the craisins, ate and made fruit leather out of the pears, made the crumb cake, ate some peanuts, and some of the One bars so overall I would say we did a great job. My focus was on fresh produce and leftovers for the second week of January so overall we did pretty well.

Goal items used up this week:

  1. Fresh produce: pears, blackberries, broccoli (one meal left), rainbow carrots (we ate tons of these)
  2. Snack items: lentil crackers, veggie straws, peanuts – regular, One bars, fruit cups
  3. Meal type items: None
  4. Dried Fruit: dried cranberries
  5. Junk: Crumb cake mix, Halloween candy my son eats a piece or two for dessert every night
  6. Fridge/freezer items: fancy chocolate – still lots left, spinach bites, ham, cheesy broccoli bake, tomato sauce
Meal Plan
Meal plan for week 2 of January.

I filled in our meal plan for the rest of the week last night. I have not started on this week’s since I was cleaning this morning instead of cooking. I need to look through the pantry and fridge and see where we are at for the week which I probably won’t get to until tomorrow honestly. My husband is making some sausage tonight or maybe tomorrow so that will also affect what we eat for the first part of the week. I may do a mid-week post on how things are going but I have a feeling this will be another weird week. Things I know we need to eat up are listed below.

Items to use up January week 3:

  1. Fresh produce: cabbage, broccoli (one meal left), rainbow carrots, potatoes, tomatoes
  2. Snack items: peanuts – regular, One bars, fruit cups
  3. Meal type items: oatmeal (not gf), pancake mix
  4. Dried Fruit: strawberries, raspberries, apple chips
  5. Junk: Halloween candy – still
  6. Fridge/freezer items: fancy chocolate, sausage, steak, Pho, mashed potatoes, Baked Alaska, cookie dough
Items to use up this week.

Looking at this list I realized we have cookie dough in the freezer along with most of a Baked Alaska that I don’t remember when we started. We should probably eat that this week. The cookie dough will probably be fine for next week but the Baked Alaska really needs to be eaten. I know I have soup in the freezer that we should work through but one of the issues I am having is that other people are not as on board with eating up older items as I am and I end up eating it for every meal. Does anyone else have that issue? As soon as I make room something else fills it’s spot. I am hoping that by focusing on planning out our meals this month we will get better at using things up though!

 

How is your meal planning going this month?

 

Recipe links from the blog:

Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Dried Banana Chips

Easy Dairy-Free Grandma’s Fruit Salad

Meal Planning: A New Start

Meal Planning: A New Start

This past year I realized we have fallen down a hole of eating not so healthy foods more often then we should. We totally fell off the bandwagon of both eating well and keeping our grocery costs down. The pandemic has really split our routine […]


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