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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Last Week of the Month and Our Grocery Budget is Holding Out

One week left in April and I have 52 cents in the budget remaining. That's enough to buy about 4 or 5 small bananas from Walmart or WinCo. While I can see that our supplies are reducing, we still have a lot of food items in the pantry, fridge, and freezers, with substantial amounts of meat, eggs, milk, beans, flour, oats, cabbage, carrots, and sugar. We are starting to deplete all of those nice little tidbits which enhance meals, such as nuts and olives. But that was to be expected, as we're not buying any of those sorts of items, instead sticking to the staples. Easter left us with the nice bonus of leftover ham, ham stock for bean soup, and ham fat for cooking.

Full disclosure on the budget -- I did have to "borrow" from May's budget in order to use a $10 coupon at Target and take advantage of a sale on peanut butter. However, the peanut butter that I bought is kept out of the stock that we are currently using, and won't be opened until May 1. So, that $11.17 will come out of May's budget.

I began working on May's grocery list around the second week of April. In March and April, we stocked up on ground beef, pinto beans, all-purpose flour, and onions. The stock-up items for May include the already-purchased peanut butter, 50 pounds of whole wheat flour, and 35 pounds of vegetable oil. I see lots of baking in my future! In addition to these items and my regular list of staples, I also have two special occasions to keep in mind while preparing my list for May: Cinco de Mayo and Mother's Day. If my funds are used up for the basics, I believe that I can get by with just adding corn tortillas to my list for Cinco de Mayo and a container of strawberries for Mother's Day. The remainder of the menus for those special occasions can be drawn from my basic purchases for the month and what I have at home right now.

I know that this is still early on in my stocking up, but I've still found myself a tiny bit disappointed that our pantry is not yet looking stocked. I know that will come with a few more months of buying in stock-up quantities.

Do you know what I do when I feel down about my grocery situation? I kick myself in the pants and get busy in the kitchen, preparing as many foods as I can think to provide ready-to-eat snacks and lunch items for my family. Even if it's just boiling some eggs, those boiled eggs are one more thing that my husband and kids could grab to eat. Honestly, that thought cheers me up.

This morning, I had one of those days. I was down a bit, struggling with a headache that's only partially responding to OTC painkillers (day 2 of a migraine), and worn out from the weekend. But I knew if I made myself busy in the kitchen, then that would be addressing one of my situations. So, I made a batch of rhubarb muffins, using a small baggie of pancake mix and an even smaller baggie of corn muffin mix, plus rhubarb from our garden, an egg, oil, vanilla extract, sugar, liquid from the canned yams on Sunday, and whey from homemade yogurt. After the batter was in the muffin tins, I sprinkled some leftover crumb topping from pie-baking over the weekend. I also made a batch of pinto bean and grilled onion sandwich spread, a pot of boiled eggs, and a pitcher of juice. These are just simple foods, but as my family members trickles into the house this afternoon, they will be greeted with snacks already made.

We're still making it. That's a good thing on which to focus my thoughts.


  1. Ugh, migraines. No fun at all. Mine aren't so awful that I can't function, but they do drag me down. Hope you get some relief soon.

    I think you are ahead of the game. You took action even before it became unavoidable, and you are re-training your thoughts and actions into creatively making this budget work for you. Give yourself a pat on the back!

    1. Hi Kris,
      Thank you. My head is much, much better today. It sometimes takes taking painkillers round the clock for a day or two to get it under control.
      And thanks for the kind words. What I read in Proverbs this morning also helped me put everything into perspective.

    2. At the first sign of one of mine, I take some flat cola (I keep cola on hand just for this reason), to quell the nausea and give me a quick sugar boost. The caffeine also helps me. HTH

  2. It must be hard to not have your pantry as full as it usually is, but as you said, you still have a lot in there. As you continue to get by with excellent food for your family, hopefully your mindset will adjust and it will all be easier for you. In the meantime, it sounds like you've found a very good way to channel your anxiety over the situation with creative cooking for your family.

    Sorry about your migraine. I have one every week or so and they really do drag you down. They are about a lot more than a headache. I get no response from OTC meds, so I use prescription meds to help. I went through a few of those before I found one where the side effects were tolerable. Do you have anything else you do to help with the migraines?

    1. Hi live and learn,
      Wow, your migraines sound difficult. Yours are exactly what the rx meds are designed for, I believe. I am able to get through a day, just not well. But I have found a few things that help me. For one, sinus issues are a trigger for my migraines, so is spending a lot of time on the computer. So, I try to nip every cold and sniffle in the bud. I'll lie down and rest far sooner than most folks will. As soon as I feel the slightest hint of a migraine, I stay off of the computer, take a bath in the dark, use essential oils, and use warm wet cloths on my face. My son and DIL gave me an essential oil roll-on that is designed for regular headaches. I use that on my temples. I'm not sure if it does much of anything, though. Taking Advil and Tylenol together 'round the clock, resting, lavender baths in the dark help a little. Mostly I feel like I'm just waiting it out. I can't really eat anything, so I drink a lot of tea. But again, I know that some people have much more difficult migraines than I do. I'm very sorry that you have this to deal with.

  3. Ahh, Lili, I've decided to walk with you on this journey of a strict budget. We have also been put into a bit of a financial crunch lately and now I have to really be more cautious in my spending.

    A couple of weeks ago we went to an Amish store and stocked up on a few staples like brown rice, jasmine rice, noodles, spices, cereal and a bunch of other stuff. For $200, ouch! But it won't be used only this month. I also had a luncheon catered for my daughter's bridal shower since I came back from out of town about 4 hours before the shower began and I had only my husband help me put the shower together and he was with me out of town. Big hit on the budget.

    Now I am back to doing things like you are doing and that is buy less, cook and bake more and really cut that grocery budget down. We're not big sweet goodie eaters so I won't be needing to make sweets. I will need to make meals every day.

    Last night was lomo saltado from a tough piece of meat I found in the freezer. It was OK but a more tender piece of meat would have been better. Also, I made a cheese broccoli soup but I used a bag of california blend since I don't have any broccoli anymore. That is actually for tonight with some biscuits my mom gave me.

    If you ever feel down think of me and I'll do the same for you. We can do this.


    1. Hi Alice,
      It sounds like the pre-wedding plans and events are coming along. Exciting, but also exhausting, I'm sure. Even though it cost more to cater the bridal shower, I think that was the wise thing to do.
      The meals that your'e making from what you have on hand sound delicious, especially the cheese broccoli soup. Yum!

      Thank you. It does help to know that someone else is dealing with such a similar circumstance. I'll be thinking of you, too.

  4. FOr different reasons, I am eating down and out of the pantry/cupboards/fridge/freezers. I am on a medical journey, which includes trying to comply with 3 different MD specialists asking me to ingest more X but to eliminate Y, and all 3 are in conflict. I have had to pick my priorites. I am working with a dietician at the local hospital. She is on board with me eating up, and no longer buying items, vs throwing them away/donating to others, for financial reasons. I can't afford NOT to eat the food that I had invested in. A significant amount of space has opened up in all of my food storage. More will continue to happen. Add in that DD plans to move out in the Fall of 2020, leaving just 2 of us at home, so less food is needed to be stored. Hard to do when I've raised 4 kids!
    Our food choices have changed, a staple list of ingredients is formulating. I keep tweaking it. I've eliminated multiple items, some were replaced with more favorable for me options, others completely removed. My cooking/eating is tending towards more vegetariran/vegan. I have subscribed to both an organic fair trade coffee delivery as well as an organic ugly produce delivery service. These 2 items are saving me time and significant monies compared to driving over to the grocery stores. They are also in keeping with my personal values.
    I continue to get dry goods at places like Aldi, and we recently joined Costco (I fought that for decades but with incentives through purchasing through my Union, it made sound financial sense. I got 50% of my fee reimbursed through freebie coupons mailed to me, the rest is covered by the discounted price in RX and ordering RX glasses. We've already more than gained our fee back)


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