Stay Connected

Saturday, February 15, 2020

A Leap Month of Little Joys and Satisfactions: More Good Eats on a Budget

I went to WinCo on Saturday and bought 4 pounds of cheese, 10 pounds of potatoes, onion powder, milk powder and coffee creamer, spending $14.89 on groceries for our household. I had planned on buying cheese and potatoes at Cash & Carry but found them for less at WinCo. With the money that I saved, I also bought a box of granola/breakfast bars to bring to a group thing where I needed individually packaged items.  

I stopped at Walmart, where I bought tofu, instant decaf, cabbage and bananas, spending $7.78. Those 2 stops brought my week's spending up to $24.35. This weeks spending plus last weeks of $31.34 comes to $55.69 of February's budget, leaving $70.25 for the rest of the month.

We're doing well with our food supplies this week. I keep finding foods that need using, such as Friday's turnips, canned tuna, and potato chips. At some point, we will have depleted our supplies of special or less usual foods. 

Here are this week's dinners:

tuna fish sandwiches, with fresh garden watercress on homemade whole wheat bread
orange wedges
potato chips
roasted root vegetables (turnips, onions, carrots)

bean, cheese, and ham tacos in fried homemade flour tortillas
carrot sticks
orange wedges

turkey (Thanksgiving), carrot, and potato soup
scratch biscuits
orange wedges

beef and bean chili from the freezer
fully-loaded cornbread
pumpkin pie

Tuesday (daughter's night)
scrambled eggs
boxed stuffing mix
canned green beans

homemade black olive pizza
cole slaw
orange wedges
leftover pumpkin pie

cheesy tuna casserole (with beet greens from last summer)
baked Hubbard squash
fruit salad (bananas, oranges, marshmallows, coconut, pecans, and grapes -- daughter bought)

I bought Thursday's Hubbard squash on November 1st. It was likely harvested in August or September. I've been keeping it in our pantry at room temperature, and it has not developed any soft spots 5 to 6 months post-harvest. I cooked it because I wanted some variety in our veggies this week and not because it was desperately needing to be cooked. I guess it could have lasted in our pantry another several weeks.

The selection of winter squash at my local grocery stores seems to be limited to acorn squash, butternut, pumpkin, and delicata squash, all of which tend to develop soft spots by January in my house. In my experience, produce stands and markets tend to carry a wider variety of winter squash than typical supermarkets, which means long-keepers like Hubbard squash are more likely to be available in early fall at a produce stand or produce-only market than in the grocery store.

I paid 33 cents per pound for Hubbard squash. In the moment, that seemed like a good deal, but nothing extraordinary. Now in February, 33 cents per pound for fresh vegetables sounds like a real steal. If I could have done anything differently on November 1st when I was shopping the last day at the produce stand, I would have bought 1 or 2 more Hubbard squash, as I know they would have kept in my pantry (or fridge, if need be) at least until mid-March, about the time I find cabbage at a rock-bottom price per pound. This is information that I'll use next fall.

I feel like our week's meals continue to have a lot of variety. I hope to keep this up throughout this month, even as some of our stores begin to deplete. In March, we'll return to a higher budget for groceries, which will allow more variety in my purchases again.

How was your week? Anything interesting on your menu? Have a wonderful weekend, everybody!


  1. You do eat so well on a careful budget! It's a lesson for all of us!

    Midwest Gal

  2. Everything looks so good, especially the soup and chili!

    Let's see if I can remember.

    Monday: Baked chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, buttered white bread
    Tuesday: Baked spaghetti with mozzarella,peas, toasted white bread sprinkled with garlic
    Wednesday: Leftover baked spaghetti with mozzarella, carrots, toasted white bread sprinkled with garlic
    Thursday: Pepper 'steak' in the crockpot (used markdown beef stew meat), served over rice
    Friday: Valentine's meal for hubby, both boys were out with girlfriends, two grilled steaks, French bread, macaroni and cheese, Cole slaw
    Saturday: Hubby is grilling brats (clearance), buns, baked beans, leftover Cole slaw

    I think I'll have chili next week.


  3. I second what Midwest Gal said. You do such a good job managing your family's budget. Saving money is only one reason. Because you take it to a higher level of refinement, I think there is a statement or attitude involved here. Not just a challenge to use your resources wisely, but to use your resources with love and gratitude. Hence, the extra effort to make a simple resource into something much more. This is not how much of the world works, which is disposable and use it up without thinking.

    Have a great weekend,

  4. Interesting about the squash. My husband typically roasts most of it up in the fall and puts it in the freezer to avoid having it go bad. I didn't realize that Hubbard squash is so long-lasting.

    I ended up getting low-censused at work this week which means I made more of what I think of as "high effort" meals. It's sort of a slower time of year for us in terms of extracurriculars so I try to make meals which take more time. Soon life will be busier again and I'll welcome those quick and easy menus!
    Monday: Cashew chicken over rice (found some extra cashews--I can't believe they lasted this long in my house!), green beans
    Tuesday: Greek chicken sandwiches with dill yogurt sauce on naan--I splurged and bought a cucumber and grape tomatoes for the sandwiches
    Wednesday: honey soy chicken on rice, spinach salad
    Thursday: Italian vegetable soup with homemade bread
    Friday: Huevos Rancheros--new recipe for me. We had it on vacation a couple of years ago and loved it.

  5. Hi Angie,
    Thanks! I love the sound of your Valentine's menu -- steak with mac and cheese. Now that would be a huge hit with my husband!

  6. Thank you, YHF.
    I hope you've had a lovely weekend!

  7. Hi Kris,
    Is low-censused like being on-call? I've not heard that term before. That makes sense if you have more time to do the high-effort meals now. Life will get busy again, that's for certain.
    Your meals sound delicious. I would happily dine on everything you served this week.

  8. Hi Lili--

    I am "resource staff" which is similar to being on-call. Full-time and part-time staff are considered "core staff". If the therapy census is low, resource staff are the first place that staffing levels are cut. It's the trade-off for the flexibility of being resource. The flexibility works for our family and my husband carries medical benefits (which resource staff don't get), so it is a great option for me.

  9. Thanks for explaining, Kris. Like I said, I'd not heard that term before, so I appreciate the explanation.


Thank you for joining the discussion today. Here at creative savv, we strive to maintain a respectful community centered around frugal living. Creative savv would like to continue to be a welcoming and safe place for discussion, and as such reserves the right to remove comments that are inappropriate for the conversation.


Be a voice that helps someone else on their frugal living journey

Are you interested in writing for creative savv?
What's your frugal story?

Do you have a favorite frugal recipe, special insight, DIY project, or tips that could make frugal living more do-able for someone else?

Creative savv is seeking new voices.


share this post