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Tag: cooking

June 2022 Final Grocery Spending

June 2022 Final Grocery Spending

Our June grocery goal was to eat through our fridge and freezer as much as possible and for the most part we reached this goal. I am super proud of our progress! Up until the last week of June we kept our spending under $300 […]

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 […]

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 the store. We have quite a bit stashed away in our freezers and pantry so we should be 100% fine with a low spend month.

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Grocery Haul

I filmed our fist grocery update on May 9th which can be found here. As of 5/09 we were at $89.08 in spending which is pretty good. For April we were closer to $500 by mid-month so I am happy with our progress. Some of the items we bought were due to the kids being sick and we also stocked up on Luna bars and fig bars. We also bought about $20 worth of beef to grind up since it was on sale at Fred Meyer. These were all long term purchases and we won’t be buying them for a while. We also found a fabulous deal on bread at Bartell Drugs of all places where they had marked down their bread to 10 cents a piece. It was a stellar deal and we bought three loaves.

Oatmeal and coffee for breakfast.
Oatmeal and coffee for breakfast.

Most of my breakfasts this month have consisted of my gluten-free oatmeal and a cup of coffee made with milk. I used up the whole milk and also made my coffee with the 1% that we have. I heat up about a cup of milk in the microwave and then our my shots from the espresso machine directly into the milk and it tastes like a latte even though the milk is not steamed. I don’t really keep track of what my kids eat but my son usually eats a bar in the morning so some of the Luna bars we bought have already been eaten.

pancakes
Pancakes

I did make pancakes last week from the gluten-free confetti ones we got 3/$1.00 at Grocery Outlet a few months ago and they went fast. I made sandwiches for the kids out of the leftovers with Nutella and the kids loved it. We only have about four boxes left at this point and I am definitely going to miss their convenience when we run out. I have been keeping an eye out at Grocery Outlet for more gluten-free pancake mix but I have not seen it since they ran out of these so maybe soon.

cabbage and chicken
Mushroom Thyme Chicken with cooked cabbage.

One of the meals I cooked was my Mushroom Thyme Chicken with cabbage. Link can be found here. This lasted for quite a few meals and also used up some of the cabbage I bought last month. We still have a bunch of cabbage left so I will probably put more of the cabbage into a soup this weekend after I am done with my $10 grocery challenge.

Chicken Nuggets
Chicken Nuggets with veggies.

Another meal we ate was chicken nuggets with some of the frozen peas and carrots we got from this free school lunch unboxing and the jicama we bought at Whole Foods during this grocery haul linked here. This was pretty good. Peas are not my favorite but I didn’t mind them with the carrots. My husband has asked me to leave the rest of the bag so that he and my daughter can make fried rice out of them. Apparently they were really good together with some of the spam we have stashed away.

Soup
Soup

We did have sickness go through our house this week so we ate some of the soup we have in our pantry. This one is my favorite and I ate it for two meals. We are down to only a couple left so I may stock up before the end of the month. I don’t like eating the instant soups though because of the packaging but we really only eat them when we are sick so I am not sure if that is infrequent enough. These do not have Styrofoam like cup o’ noodles so at least they are recyclable but I am still trying to be aware of how much waste we create.

School lunch items.
School lunch items.

My ate through quite a bit of the school lunch items this week. The bars of course were immediately eaten and my son tried one of these pinwheels. He wasn’t a fan but trying something new is progress and I was super proud of him. We also ate hamburgers and I made a batch of cobbler out of the frozen strawberries that was pretty good. We will continue to do school lunches through the end of the year and I am really hoping they will last minute continue funding at least over the summer. So many families in our area depend on these to feed their families.

Cupcakes
Cupcakes

Remember our fruity pebble cupcakes? I froze half of the cupcakes we made for a later date. I pulled these out last week as a special treat for our son while our daughter was at camp. He had a great time frosting and decorating a cupcake for himself at dinner on Thursday. The rest we ate over the weekend.

Tater Tot Casserole
Tater Tot Casserole

My daughter asked me to make tater tot casserole last week and since we had fresh ground beef I made it for her. It was pretty good. This also used up some of the green beans we got from the school lunches. We get them most weeks and it is a lot of green beans to eat. This batch was particularly good because I melted the rest of those twisty cheese sticks I bought at Grocery Outlet into the cream sauce. They were too hard for the kids to eat so I melted them into the cream of mushroom soup and it was so good! I am pretty proud of my impromptu cheese using up. These might have been thrown out after a while if I hadn’t thought to incorporate them into the casserole which is super wasteful.

Pudding and strawberries.
Pudding and strawberries.

Overall we are doing great so far at a low spend month. We are using what we have and there is a little bit of room in our freezer which is unheard of. Our fridge is pretty full but we are at the cycle in the week when we have tons of leftovers and I also have a bunch of juice stashed in there from when we were sick that usually wouldn’t be there.

 

I have gone to the store once since our May 9th post but I will include it in next week’s wrap up post. How are you saving money this month?

 

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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.

 

Products used:

Cream of Mushroom Soup

 

Glass Meal Prep Containers

 

BeneFit Bars – Chocolate Chip

2022 Garden Supply Purchases

2022 Garden Supply Purchases

For 2022 we are really expanding our garden and possibly adding in some chickens later in the year. We are garden zone 8b in the Pacific Northwest located in the Seattle area. Our weather is wet a lot of the year and we have been […]

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 […]

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 mommy blog but along the way I discovered the FIRE movement, went back to work and then sort of lost the ability to work on my blog. I have always wanted to do it full-time but like many other people work and life got in the way.

budget planner
Pesky puppy ate my budget planner.

We are still making most of our own food but our budgeting has drastically changed in the last five years and although we are still focused on saving as much as we can our expenses are much higher and we have moved more in the direction of Slow FIRE. Slow FIRE is basically stretching out your timeline for retirement. My husband does not have plans to retire any time soon but I am toying with the idea of not going back to work after my leave ends in a couple of weeks so I can focus on my blog and my new YouTube channel. I would love for my husband to retire when we are done paying for college in about 15 years which is still technically early since we will be right about 60 but I feel like we could probably do better than that.

Garlic
Lots of garlic planted this year.

We have increased our urban homestead quite a bit in the past five years and this year we are hoping to add some chickens as well. I am installing several large garden beds this week as well as removing some grass in our yard so we can plant some trees. This year our yard was very wet and adding a tree or two will help with that and provide some much needed shade in the summer. I love gardening and will start putting more gardening content up on my channel in the next few weeks.

Luna
Luna 7 months

When I first started blogging George was a puppy but now he is 5 1/2 and has definitely slowed down. We got a puppy named Luna last year after a couple of years of debate and looking for a good fit. She has been a huge change for our family but we love her so much and George is so happy to have someone to play with. Zoey our dachshund is still around but is now very much a senior dog that really just wants to sleep all day. George sleeps with his “dog mom” Zoey every night and Luna tries very unsuccessfully to play with her every chance she can.

Tea time
Tea time.

I am continuing to post mostly on Instagram about our food and how we are working on meal planning. One of my favorite things that came out of the isolation of Covid was our Sunday afternoon tea times. The kids really get into it and we have a bunch of fun with a more formal lunch. Over the summer we turn it into a picnic on the lawn with a pitcher of juice or sparkling water and the kids love that as well.

Light in the woods
Light filled backyard.

I have really enjoyed the friends I have met through my blog and writing to my readers over the past five years. I am really excited for my channel on YouTube to grow and I hope to be able to write more here this year. Below are my links for social media and some of my favorite posts throughout the years. Happy blogging!

 

Links:

YouTube

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

 

Victoria Part 1: Butchart Gardens

 

Garden Update 06.08.19

 

April 2022 Low Spend Month Goals

 

Dried Banana Chips

 

Gardening Update: 04.04.22

Gardening Update: 04.04.22

Hello spring! I am very excited for the garden this year. I have been out in it every day checking things out and seeing what is coming up. One of the beautiful things that has come out of our gardening over the past few years […]

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 doing a super low spend month for January too but then Omicron surged right as school was starting and we ended up doing a large grocery run at the beginning of the month to avoid the store as long as possible. It ended up working out for us and we were able to avoid the store for the most part for a couple of weeks and did only minimal shopping the rest of the month.

January and February tend to be the months in the year when we naturally run out of things in our pantry such as rice, beans, eggs and many other staples. We have historically had low spending months at the first part of the year in an attempt to catch up with holiday/birthday spending and since we have several large yearly bills that need to be paid the first couple of months of the year. This means we run out of staples and need to rebuy them around the beginning of February. This really hit us hard in 2020 when we were out of many staples and unable to find them at stores so this year I decided to stock up on some of the basics we were low on the first weekend of January. We did eat through all of the fresh vegetables, eggs and many items with our pantry clean out and that was amazing.

Deep Freezer
Clean Deep Freezer.

We were able to eat down our small deep freezer enough to defrost and clean it really well before moving it out of the garage and into our downstairs storage room. Some of the items in it were a huge surprise to me including Otter Pops and a couple of gallons of blueberries we picked in 2017 which were still looking beautiful. We clearly had not been paying attention to what was in there or rotating it at all. I ended up throwing out half the Otter Pops because they were leaking once I thawed them out and we are definitely eating through the blueberries. I have made three cobblers out of blueberries and other fruit so far and my daughter has been eating oatmeal with blueberries a couple of mornings a week which is one of her favorites. This time around we are making a list of what is in there and keeping track better. So far we have a turkey, a pork loin, chicken bones for stock and most of the bread I bought on my trip to the Franz Outlet. The freezer isn’t even half full yet so we definitely have room to spare.

Cobbler
Blueberry, strawberry, pomegranate cobbler.

Our spending from January 10th through February 28th or so is the largest chunk of our budget for the entire year. We have to be very careful about our spending from March to June of the year in order to have enough saved by the end of December to cover everything which can be tricky.

During this period we cover:

  1. Car insurance for the first half of the year.
  2. Medical deductibles need to be met again and we always get some sort of illness in February.
  3. Tuition deposit for our kids’ school which has crept up the past couple of years.
  4. All of summer camp for two kids for the entire summer. This is super expensive.
  5. Two family members have birthdays and we throw at least one party.
  6. After school sports and activities registration for the first quarter of the year.
  7. Pre-Covid we also had Valentine’s day dinner out and booked a trip or two in advance but that is not happening now.

Needless to say, it is a large chunk all at once, especially coming off of a high spend month like December. We have had this pattern for a few years though and I am getting better at predicting what we need. Last year we only had camp for eight weeks in the summer and it was way less expensive. This year I am keeping the kids home for 2-3 weeks as well. Camp can be a lot of stimulation and the kids did well being home and getting some down time prior to school starting in the fall. I am keeping them home the first week of the summer, a week in July and the last week before school starts. This will save us about $2500 in camp costs this summer which seems high but camp prices have increased this year. $400 per kid per week times two kids for three weeks is $2400 plus tax and that doesn’t include after care at an extra$100-150 a week per kid. Child care is expensive to say the least.

Shelf Stable gluten-free food
Shelf-stable gluten-free soup.

For our January spending I focused on our groceries. We did get meals from the school a couple of the weeks so the kids had some variety in their meals and I felt like we did a decent job of not going to the store but we did end up spending just over $1000.00 on food for January which is pretty high. We used to average around $600 a month for four of us but last year this crept up to $1000 due to price increases. We have a lot of dietary restrictions and a picky eater so some things we can’t substitute for cheaper items. I also found that we were buying way to many snacks and barely cooking. We definitely fell into the working parent trap of buying convenience food to save on time. My goal this year is to work on this and reduce our spending with meal planning.

Our spending was mostly from the shopping trip I took the first weekend of January where we spent nearly $500 on basics and stock up items. This type of trip we only do a couple of times a year so this was pretty unusual for us. We also found some excellent deals at my favorite grocery outlet store on meat, gluten-free crackers, cereal, and tea which we of course bought extras of since they run out quickly. I also bought some gluten-free flour in bulk and stocked up on some items we were almost out of from Amazon like the gluten-free ramen I love. I only buy ramen a few times a year and it goes out of stock very frequently so if they have it in stock you kind of have to jump on it. I don’t anticipate buying more flour or ramen for several months, maybe even a year for the flour. We are baking more though so maybe we will need more flour near the end of 2022.

Freezer
Main freezer items. Frozen peas are a must!

Being gluten-free and nut free is pretty expensive and finding shelf stable food can be difficult. We like to keep a couple of weeks of easy to make meals on hand for emergencies and the ramen is an easy thing to cook with or without dressing it up. Everyone should have a month’s worth of food on hand for emergencies, especially in Washington where earthquakes can happen. We did not need to run to the store during the snow in December and it was so nice to be able to not stress about running out of food. The important part of keeping enough for an emergency is to make sure it is items you will actually eat. We keep things we eat regularly and rotate through them as we go. If we aren’t eating an item I try to donate it before it expires at a local free pantry or through our Buy Nothing group.

Regifting clothes from our Buy Nothing group after my son outgrew them.

Overall I am pretty disappointed in our January grocery spending. We bought too much at the beginning of the month and took too many smaller trips towards the end of the month and this added up pretty quickly. I was hoping to spend under $800 for the month with our stocking up and we were way over. For February we are so far at just under $500 which is ok for half way through the month. I did a larger trip at the start of the month but only spent about $250 on groceries at that trip. I should probably mention that that is just for food. I keep track of cleaning supplies, paper products and coffee separately and honestly we don’t spend that much on other items. My goal for February is to stay under $500 but I am really hoping to stay under $600.

 

My spending goal for March will be low but I will talk about that in our next post. For now, how are you keeping your grocery spending down? Do you have enough food for a couple of weeks in an emergency? A month?

 

Meal Planning: January 2022 Week 4

 

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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