Tag: freezer cleanout

Gardening Update 07/05/23

Gardening Update 07/05/23

It’s been a while since my last garden update so I thought I would write up a quick one today even though my garden is in pretty bad shape. It looks like my last garden update was in April of 2022. Every year I think […]

September 2022 Grocery Spending Wrap Up

September 2022 Grocery Spending Wrap Up

September was an expensive month for us as far as groceries go. All of our stock up trips seemed to happen this September and that caused our grocery total to be higher than usual. We also have been trying to eat healthier which of course […]

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 of our spending towards the end of the month was on fresh fruits and veggies. We also looked at the sale ads for the last week of September and found quite a few items that were on super sale that we bought while the price was good and that put us over budget. For August we also had over $100 worth of groceries we bought the last couple of days of July due to sales that I counted towards our August budget so that contributed to our overage as well. Overall I am pretty happy with our progress. We came closer and since we didn’t utilize the free school lunches at all this month $700 seems reasonable for our family of four with one adult child out of the house.

 

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.

 

 

As you can see, we had one big Costco run mid-month and several smaller trips throughout the month. This seemed to work for us and we may try it again for September but we are out of a lot of things, including items needed for school lunches starting the second week of September so I am not sure if the timing will work out. We are continuing to be mindful of our spending and I am going to set our grocery budget at $600 again for September 2022.

 

 

We started out our August grocery spending in July with a quick trip to Target. I needed to go for a couple of key items and get gas which is right next to the Target we go to and I always try and group my trips together to save on gas and time. We buy most of our gas at Costco and I do not enjoy sitting in the line for the pump so if I am in the area during the week I will get gas then instead of on the weekend.

 

 

For our second grocery haul of August we went to Costco for a couple of fresh items and to take advantage of the last day of the sale. We bought a bunch of pork shoulder to grind into sausage, some milk and other staple items.

 

 

For our third grocery store trip in August we went to Grocery Outlet for some great deals. Grocery Outlet is one of my favorite places to hunt for bargains like the $0.50 cinnamon rolls we found this trip.

 

 

After our Grocery Outlet trip we didn’t go to the store until the 11th for a major Costco haul. We bought a lot of basics, fresh produce and some meat to last us. This was the last of the popsicle type ice cream we are buying this year. We typically don’t eat ice cream or popsicles after Labor Day unless one of us is sick. I usually use the ZOKU (linked here) to make popsicles with whatever juice or Gatorade we have lying around when we are sick or buy a pack of Outshine bars.

 

After our Costco run I did not film any of our small grocery hauls this month. I injured my ankle and was on strict orders from the doctor to stay off it completely for at least a week so my husband did all of the small grocery shopping trips. I ended up needing closer to two and it is better now but I still am not back up to full speed. My goal for September is to keep up on the small hauls with the channel, even if I film short snippets and compile them at the end of the week.

 

We did end up digging up potatoes from the garden multiple times over the past few weeks and they were delicious! I have been trying to stay ahead of the squirrels digging them up but we have gotten a few pounds worth so far which is fabulous. I am totally digging them up earlier than they should be but I love small potatoes best. I did plant a few more that I found in my pantry so maybe we will have another set in late September if the weather holds, or later if not. I am always up for experimenting with potatoes in the garden. They are my favorite vegetable to harvest since it is always a surprise!

 

Overall we did pretty well at keeping our groceries to a minimum. I am not sure how September will go. My goal is to eat through what we have. As I mentioned in my Fridge and Freezer Recap from this Monday the 29th, I am waffling between doing a pantry cleanout and a freezer cleanout. What do you think we should focus on? Let me know in the comments below and until next month, happy shopping!

 

 

Links:

 

Reusable Grocery Bags – Seriously these are the best. I wash them all the time and they have lasted several years.

 


ZOKU Instant Popsicle Maker

 

July 2022 Final Grocery Spending

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 […]

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 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

June 2022 Spending Goals and Mid-Year Check In

June 2022 Spending Goals and Mid-Year Check In

Our 2022 spending goals have already gone a little bit sideways with me leaving the workforce in March. I left my job for both health and family reasons and it has thrown our budget into a hurricane of uncertainty. For now our goal is to […]

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 […]

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

 

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 […]


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