Tag: meal planning

2022 Goals End of Year Reflection

2022 Goals End of Year Reflection

2022 was a year with mixed results for me. As I reflect on my 2022 goals post from March of this year I am struck by how different my year turned out from where it started. I started the year gung ho about my career […]

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 […]

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 so low is because we are very stocked up on a lot of things and need to eat through what we have. We are also focused on building up our savings this year and one of the ways I want to accomplish that is to cut back on our food spending. We definitely have gotten caught up in a not so frugal spending trend with being home during the pandemic. Groceries have also risen significantly in prices and one of the ways our household will combat this is to cut back on our premade foods and use meal planning to streamline our food purchases to reduce our waste.

 

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

So far at the half way point of the month we have $202.73 left in our budget which is getting pretty close. Part of the reason we are getting so close is because I did spend some money on food that will end up being donated to a local retirement living community. We also stocked up on some great deals when I went to grocery outlet and on Costco sale items. Easter is also a month when we entertain so we did have some expenses there as well but honestly we entertain most months of the year and Easter is not a heavy food budget holiday for us. I did however go a little bit overboard and buy three different hams. Whoops! Actually I bought the first one, found the second one for half the price and then found the third one for even less than half of the second one’s price. We put one in the freezer and will cook another on Easter. I am debating whether or not to freeze or return the most expensive one since it was ridiculously expensive but that may be the one we end up cooking on Easter so I am not sure. One of the hams we bought was pretty small so we won’t be using it for when we entertain.

Easter candy.
Easter candy.

We also spent some money on Easter candy this month which we wouldn’t have otherwise spent. Prices were for sure higher on candy and I didn’t even look at any of the cake decorating items since I was sure those would be super expensive as well. I did not spend nearly as much on Easter candy as I have in year’s past but there may have been some bribing to get children to come to the store with me with the promise of buying one item of candy. I am not ashamed to pull my bribery tool out of my toolbox under certain circumstances. We don’t eat a lot of candy in our house (we still have Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s candy in the bowl) but we do like to have some variety on hand and if I am being completely honest, Easter candy is my favorite so we always buy some to last a couple of months.

Cabbage and Peppers
Cabbage and peppers.

One of the skills I am working on this month is using up what was in the fridge. We are trying to eat more cabbage since it is fairly inexpensive and lasts a long time. I have been cooking up batches of it with other vegetables and both my husband and I will eat it over the next couple of days. My daughter it turns out does not like bell peppers but she will eat cabbage if it is cooked the way she likes it. I bought a lot of bell peppers this month as well but both my husband and I love them so I am sure we won’t have too many issues eating through them.

Quesadilla and cabbage.
Quesadilla and cabbage.

Another way we have been eating up leftovers is with loaded quesadillas. I tried an avocado salsa that someone recommended and I love it. We also still have quite a bit of sour cream leftover from March that we are working through which pairs really nicely with the avocado salsa. These have been a great quick lunch to have during the week and I love the variety of eating up different leftovers in them every day.

Fruity Pebble cupcakes.
Fruity Pebble cupcakes.

We did have some room in our budget for cooking projects with the kids. My daughter and I made these gluten-free Fruity Pebble cupcakes which ended up being delicious! I froze about half of the unfrosted cupcakes and we will bring them out in a week or two and decorate them with something else. The recipe made 20 cupcakes which was way more than we could eat in a couple of days. Gluten-free baked goods have to be eaten right away or they will go bad so any time we make cookies or cupcakes we always try to freeze some immediately and eat them within a month or two. Right now I have three kinds of cookies in my freezer, these cupcakes and cake from a birthday party earlier in the year. It is great for those days when you don’t have time to bake but the kids need a special treat.

Groceries
Groceries

We have been documenting our spending on our YouTube channel and the latest post can be found here. I am already thinking ahead to next month where I want to do a freezer/fridge cleanout challenge. We do have a birthday and Mother’s day to think about though so I am not sure if we can pull it off.

 

How is your grocery spending going this month?

 

Click on the picture below to find the Fruity Pebble cupcake ingredients on Amazon:

 

Links:

 

April 2022 Low Spend Month Goals

 

Gardening Update: 04.04.22

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 […]


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