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 […]
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 […]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 working on getting my large garden beds in but hope to have them done by the end of this week. I put them on hold for a bit trying to get fence quotes but so far I am having a very difficult time getting people to even show up which is super disappointing. I thought I would do a brief overview of what’s happening in the garden right now.
Earlier this month the kids and I went to Lowes and picked up some flowers so they could make new fairy gardens. Our neighbors are moving and they gifted us some large pots which the kids very enthusiastically planted. We add flowers every year to their pots but their old ones have been taken over by the hens and chicks they planted several years ago so it was time for new ones.
This year is the first year my son has really gotten into gardening with me and he took it upon himself to finish planting all of my flowers. He did an excellent job of it in a section of the garden that was pretty bare. He even planted seeds which will hopefully sprout. I am not sure how deep they were planted but I always love to see my kids embracing gardening and taking ownership of part of the yard.
A friendly gnome showed up in the kids’ hideout mysteriously one day and they have taken great delight in moving him about to “surprise” everyone the next day. Everyone is in on the joke and it motivates the kids to go outside for a bit. Their hideout under the Hydrangeas hasn’t quite grown over yet but they have been enjoying it nonetheless.
All of our brassicas are blooming right now. They overwintered well despite the snow and freezing temperatures and I have left them to bloom for the bees. I haven’t seen a lot of bees yet this year but it is still pretty cold at night and we usually don’t see a lot of them until May. I did however find a Bumble Bee nest next to my vegetable patch and I am super excited about that!
I started planting out some of my squash plants super early this year. They were damaged a little bit but I put covers on them and I am hoping they will do ok. I checked them today and they do look pretty good. Luckily the covers are tight enough that the slugs have so far not been able to get in there and eat them which is much better than last year when I lost most of my plants to slugs. I was also successful in getting some pea plants to sprout along one of my fence lines. So hopefully we will have a decent crop for the first part of the summer.
Both our apple and pear trees are beginning to bloom this week. I am hoping since they have been in the ground for about six years now that we will have a decent crop this year. I will need to cover the apples pretty soon to prevent the apple maggots that are so prevalent in our area from getting to our fruit. We had a particularly bad case of it last year and weren’t able to eat many of the apples we grew. Our apple tree is also not doing very well in general so I am not sure if we will eventually replace it or try to fix it more.
Of the hundred or so bulbs we planted last year only the ones in this pot did not get eaten. There are however more than I remember planting so I am not sure if they were split by our squirrels or I just am not remembering correctly. These are very beautiful and I am super happy that they survived. I may try tulips again next year in some of my garden beds since I am going to line the bottoms with hardware cloth to prevent the moles from digging up my vegetables. Tulips are very short lived though in terms of blossoms so I don’t know if I want to dedicate that much garden space to them.
Last weekend I also planted a bunch of marigolds I got from Costco and the rest of the seeds I started indoors in March. I haphazardly placed them in my existing beds which I don’t recommend but if they don’t end up growing very well I will replace them mid-summer with my fall crops. Here I planted Brussels sprouts and maybe cabbage. I also planted zucchini, spaghetti squash, melons and yellow squash in other beds and pots. I am realizing that I just don’t get enough light in the early spring so next year I may have to change my planting plans.
Thank you for reading our quick garden overview for April. Come find us on Instagram at Oscoeyzamph for more up to date garden pictures.
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 […]