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Tag: frugal living

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 […]

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 but we did end up taking a couple of trips to the store the last week to bring our total up to $$470.26. We could have held off another week to make the numbers look amazing but our budget for July would have just been super high so I went the last week because I had the time. My kids were super grateful for the fresh produce and new choices for snack and it helped our son try some new things so I am pretty happy with my decision.

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Our first and only grocery trip to Costco was pretty small for us and included a refresh for staples in our house. We mostly bought fresh vegetables, eggs and some meat. Our freezer is still pretty well stocked with meat from earlier this year so we aren’t buying too much right now. Our kids eat salami and lunch meat when they are at school and camp so we buy them pretty much every month. We kept this Costco haul to $219.70 for groceries which is really good for our only Costco haul in June. We did end up going back later in the month for dog food but that comes out of a separate budget so it isn’t included in our grocery total.

Freezer Cleanout
Freezer Cleanout

We focused on our freezer for June. I was shocked when I did the first freezer check in video (Here) and found that we had tons of free lunch items in there. We spent the month eating through what we could and I donated a couple of gallon Ziploc bags worth to the seniors this month. The top freezer drawer is still pretty full but only because we continued to get free lunch meal packs every week until they were done. We are struggling to participate in free lunches this summer since kids have to eat in person but starting next week they have opened up new sites so we will try to go to a couple of those. Access to free lunches in the summer is difficult for working families and kids in camp. I am hoping the funding for this will be reupped this fall and we will continue to be able to pick up 5 day meal kits again. This really helped our budget the past few months.

Free Lunch Boxes
Free Lunch Boxes

We got a bunch of extra food in the free lunch packs this month, including three whole cheese pizzas. We still have one and a third left from this pickup in the middle of June. It is crazy to me how much the school district we go to is doing for the community on their own. Tons of people rely on these free meal kits that do not qualify for the traditional free and reduced lunch options. We are grateful that they stepped up to help the community out.

Fridge clean out.
Fridge Clean Out

In June I also tried to keep us on track by filming where we were at every Monday with the fridge and freezer. Our latest one can be found here.  It was really helpful to take stock every week and see what we needed to eat up. I highly recommend doing at least a thorough look through weekly to check on the state of your produce and leftovers. This week I will do another on 7/4 and I am going to do a deep clean as well. I wipe down our fridge all the time but we are in and out of it a lot and the cleaning is just never ending. I swear my kids wait until their hands are the stickiest and then try to open it because I have to wipe the handles down multiple times a day.

Target and Grocery Outlet Haul
Target and Grocery Outlet Haul

I ended up going to both Target and Grocery Outlet the last week of the month. Link is here. I had to go to Target for some shorts for my son and I ended up picking up items I had been waiting on buying and stocking up on snacks. One thing I have noticed with not getting the free lunches is that we don’t have as many snacks hanging around the house as we used to. They used to include a few snacks in there and we never had to buy them. My kids definitely need them for summer camp and we were getting low so I stocked up a bunch this week. I probably won’t do another snack run until school starts in the fall, but I can’t always predict how quickly my kids will eat through things. Grocery Outlet is my favorite and I bought some staples such as apples, tortillas and onions there but we also picked up a baking kit for $1.00 that the kids really enjoyed baking. This was my cheap entertainment for a colder day last week and they loved it.

Winco Grocery Haul
Winco Grocery Haul

I also went to Winco last week for some canned goods, fresh produce and basics we were running out of. Link is here. I love Winco and they have excellent prices. I don’t get to go very often because it is just far enough and out of the way that stopping in for a quick trip costs more in gas than I would save on a few grocery items. My daughter had camp about five minutes away though this week and it was on my way home so I made a trip while we were in the area. All of these items could have waited until July but the timing worked out this week so I went. I am trying to consolidate my trips as much as possible since my car does not get very good gas mileage.

 

We also stocked up on some canned goods this trip since Winco has the cheapest canned vegetable prices I have found. It is always good to have a couple of weeks worth of canned goods on hand in case of emergencies and as I have discovered recently I am not good at keeping canned veggies and fruit on hand since we really don’t eat much of it. I do a whole pantry clean out every fall before school starts and in January. I donate anything nearing an expiration date and use up expired foods. It is a great way to be prepared for a long term power outage but also help out the community. I keep all of my cans in one spot so it is easy to go through them in a few minutes. It usually takes me longer to donate them since it is slightly out of my way.

Using up leftovers
Using up leftovers.

Overall we did well at eating up some of our freezer items. I made a couple of recipes that I will link below and we all got sick of green beans. There are still about 7 pounds of green beans left in my freezer but we are taking a break from them for now…

 

Gluten-free Egg Bake

Tater Tot Casserole (GF)

 

Looking at this picture I realized I forgot to pick up a couple of oranges from the store. We have plenty of other fruit but I may pick some up later this month when we run low. Tortillas have been a great way to use up leftovers. I love having quesadillas for lunch! They are easy to make and don’t make a huge mess.

 

How are you doing on your grocery spending? We are already spending more in July with our first Costco haul linked here. I was hoping we can stay out of the store for a few more weeks but we do need to get more rice since we are out of the kind we like. Costco was out when we went so I am going to make a trip to Business Costco this week on my way to somewhere.

 

 

May 2022 Final Grocery Spending

 

June 2022 Spending Goals and Mid-Year Check In

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 […]

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 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.

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.

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

Garden Update 04.30.22

Garden Update 04.30.22

Welcome to the end of April when our garden starts to take off. We have been celebrating the emergence of our asparagus and planted many flowers and I am super excited for the summer when all of our plants start taking off. I am still […]

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 […]

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 effected by wild fire smoke in the summer. Our last frost date is mid-May so a lot of our summer crops are either planted around Mother’s Day or I baby them with some sort of covering if I get impatient. We did purchase some new supplies as part of our expansion so I thought I would list out what it is we are using. We are not affiliates with all of the companies listed below except for Amazon. Some items were bought at Costco but if I can find a similar one on Amazon I will link it. Enjoy!

 

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.

 

Seeds:

I get most of my seeds from Territorial Seeds. They are a PNW company located in Oregon which is close enough to Washington that a lot of their varieties are bred to grow in our climate. I also have bought some of my rarer seeds from Baker Creek.

 

Click the link below to go to their sites:

 

Territorial Seed

 

Baker Creek Seeds

 

Garden Supplies:

This year I bought several large Birdies beds from Epic Gardening as well as some netting, inoculant and frames from Amazon. We bought our fertilizer from Costco I believe a couple of years ago. Epic Gardening and Territorial Seed both have natural fertilizer listed on their sites but I have not tried them so I don’t know how well they work. The best thing to do for fertilizer is to test your soil and check with your local garden store (not a big box one) to see what they recommend.

 

Epic Gardening

 

Click the picture or the name of the product below:

 

Raised Garden Beds – These ones on Amazon are similar to the ones I bought from Epic.

 

 

Hardware Cloth – We bought this to line our beds with to prevent rodents from digging up from the bottom.

 

Row Cover – This is to help fight the cabbage butterflies that decimated our brassica plants last year.

 

Cloche – These are used to cover our summer crops I planted a little early and protect them on cold nights.

 

 

A-frame plant support – We are using these in the beds for our vining plants to extend the space.

 

 

Inoculant – This helps our beans get a head start on growing.

 

 

Craft Sticks – I use these to label plants. They are biodegradable and break down after about a year or so. The kids also use them for crafting.

 

Seed Starting Tray – I needed more of these. I put the pots or cups inside so I can water from the bottom.

 

Grow Bags – I use these as an inexpensive way to add extra garden space where I can’t necessarily put beds in year round.

 

 

Pruning Sheers – I needed another pair of these. I did buy them at Costco but here are the ones I bought at Amazon.

 

 

The only thing missing from this list is soil. We do a mixture of bags of soil from Costco and if we need more than enough to fill a few pots we will either go pick up a truck load or have some delivered. The best thing to do for soil is ask around maybe in your local gardening group on Facebook and see who has the best soil in your area.

 

We are very excited to see how our garden will do this year and look forward to showing everyone our progress. This week I am getting the large beds in and ready for soil hopefully over the weekend. How is your garden coming along this year?

 

Thank you for reading and happy gardening!

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 […]


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