Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Getting the grocery budget back in line: stuffed baked potatoes

I've been making stuffed baked potatoes often this winter, with our abundant supply of potatoes from November's 100 pound purchase. These baked potatoes make a nice addition to lunches, in lieu of snacky-type items like chips or crackers.

Anyways, I did have a small supply of cottage cheese to add to them. But that is now gone. So, to make this batch of stuffed baked potatoes, without any type of cheese, whatsoever, I had to get creative in the kitchen.

After baking these, I scooped out the shells, and added some sour cream, salt, butter, frozen chopped spinach, and for flavor, I added sautéed chopped onions. Mashed all of this together and baked for about 20-25 minutes at 350 F, until just browned.

Quite delicious! We think of these as finger food. I've eaten a few cold, as well as reheated.

So, another food item, easy to make, and keeps my family satisfied, without a trip to the grocery store. March 4th and the budget is still intact.

If you're currently trying to get an unruly grocery budget back in line, please share what you're doing. Maybe we can help each other out here, and end March under-budget!


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

I am working on getting our grocery budget back on track this month, and here's a start

Starting off the 1st week of March inspired to get our grocery spending back to within the budget. There are a few things I will want to buy this month. But this post is the beginning of showing myself just how possible it is to eat from what we have in store (mostly).

Last night's dinner:

a plate of scratch cornbread, with carrot sticks, watermelon pickles (from last summer) and dried fruit  (a gift at Christmas). This was served with a bowl of homemade chili-vegetable soup, milk and cookies.

The leftover cornbread did double-duty as breakfast on the run for those late to rise in the morning. And the last of the soup was poured into containers for today's lunches.

Another day down!

Monday, March 2, 2015

February 2015 Grocery Money Journal

Going into this month I'm carrying forward a deficit of $51.28. However, due to my husband's cost-of-living increase, I can increase our budget to $175 for the month. So, for February, I have a total of $123.72 for the grocery budget.

Feb. 4. Fred Meyer -- I found a lot of markdown items this shopping trip. Sour cream, 16-oz 79cents (4), cottage cheese, 16-oz $1.09 (2), 2% milk, gallon, $1.50 (9), ground turkey, 1-lb $2.49, extra lean ground beef 1-lb (2), $3.89, spinach-leafy greens salad blend, 99cents (3), broccoli florets 99cents (4), sliced mushrooms, 8-oz 79cents (11), large eggs, $1.25/dozen (4), garlic flakes 64cents. Spent $50.37

Feb 6. back to Fred Meyer with daughters to buy more eggs at $1.25/dozen. We buy 8, spend $10.

Feb. 8. Dollar Tree for soy milk (4), flour tortillas (1), frozen sweet potato fries for Valentine's dinner (1), animal cookies for babysitting (1), vegetable seeds, 25cents (4). spent $8.10

So far this month, I've spent $68.47.

Feb. 10.  Fred Meyer for butter ($2/lb, limit 2), whole milk (half-gallon, 99 cents, limit 4, good for making yogurt), bulk dried onion (for making French Dip sandwich meat w/ground beef, 40 cents), bulk celery seed (for making au jus to go with French Dip sandwiches, 19 cents). Spent $8.55

Feb. 13. Cash & Carry has butter on sale for $1.69/lb, 30-lb case (you can also buy 1 lb at a time, at this price, but I need a case), total for 30 lbs.$50.70. Also buy 35-lb container of vegetable oil (soybean) for $18.75 (that's about $4.29/gallon), another 40-lb case of navel oranges for $15.48 (about 39 cents/lb), several lbs of bananas for 44 cents/lb, dried cranberries, 3-lb bag for $5.87, 2 heads of green cabbage ($1.42 each), 5 lbs of carrots ($2.15), and 50 lbs of onions ($5.97). Total spent today $104.15.

So far, I've spent over $180 for the month. While this is discouraging, as you can see, I'm not buying junk. With this rough patch I've been going through with my health, eating optimally has become imperative for me. For example, I'm eating more animal protein than previously. For both breakfast and lunch, I add an egg to whatever else I'm fixing for myself. So, I may have some chicken or turkey for lunch, along with an egg. And I'm eating veggies at both breakfast and lunch (spinach is pretty good with breakfast). All of my snacks need to have protein, as well. In addition to all of my needs, right now, I'm also spending now to save later. For instance with the butter, buying a 30-lb case now will save us quite a lot in the future. It's not likely that butter prices will match that price again very soon. So, we're set for the time being with butter. While the dried cranberries sound like a treat, believe it or not, these dried cranberries are currently cheaper than raisins, here.

Our fridge, freezer and pantry are super-well-stocked right now. I keep thinking, "what could I possibly buy next month?" But then again, I didn't think I'd be buying much this month, either.

Feb. 16. Fred Meyer, pick up 2 10-oz containers of spring leafy greens, on markdown, 99 cents each. Spent $1.98

Feb. 18. Dollar Tree, buy 4 bags of clearance, foil-wrapped, chocolate hearts (we'll use these this spring and summer for making s'mores), 50 cents/each, and 1 package of flour tortillas for an easy Sunday supper of bean burritos. Spent $3.00

Feb. 19. Bartell's Drugs store. They have bags of decaf French Roast. As I've now pared my caffeine down to just a half-cup of caffeinated coffee per day and 1 caffeinated tea bag, I now make myself 1 mug of half-caff coffee everyday, and want it to be goooooood. So, I buy 3 12-oz bags at $4.99 each, and spend $14.97.

For the month, I spent $201.12, going over the amount for the month by $77.40. So, best I can do is work at it next month, and hope that the budget works better in March. we are fairly well-stocked, so that is a good thing. I have no need to buy butter for a long time, and most of my other staples are holding out. I'll just do my best.

Hope your budgets worked out well last month!

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