On our way to the grocery store yesterday we passed by Harry and David’s and saw their flashing sign advertising peaches for only $0.15/pound. And how can you pass that up? A few weeks ago we went by and bought quite a few pounds for only $0.20/pound… and I sliced those up and froze them. Yesterday we bought over 60 pounds and I have spent today slicing, peeling, dicing, and pureeing them… and I haven’t even gotten through a full 30 pounds. It looks like I will need to make a run to the store for lids and sugar to make peach jam.
Do you see that near the top? I bought a box of Duncan Hines chewy fudge brownies (they were on a great sale at Winco Foods this week). I really only buy what I need each week unless it is a staple I am out of or almost out of, then I buy what I can afford, sometimes it is the 5 pound bag of flour instead of the 10 pound bag that is a better “deal” in the long run. But that better deal could kill my budget for the week and prevent me from getting the nice to have but not necessary things like sour cream for Taco Tuesday, or a box of brownies to keep me from thinking this is an actual diet and breaking down and crying from lack of chocolate.
Keeping within my budget is easy by making use of the things that our grocery store of choice has to offer, the bulk section. I only needed half a teaspoon of crushed red peppers for my “Meatless Monday” meal of Slow-cooker Vegetable Curry. If I had to buy a whole container of crushed red peppers it would surely last me years and years (unless I eat a lot of homemade pizza because I love spicy on my pizza), but it would have been a budget killer this week. Instead I bought such a tiny amount at the bottom of the small bag that it didn’t even register on the scale at the checkout. The checker told me she had to input the default amount of $0.04. OK, 4 cents isn’t bad and it will add just the right zing of flavor that will make the meal.
Today I will bake the brownies and cut them up into small squares, package them in an airtight container, and we will enjoy our little treats this week. Smart budgeting allows you to not only get the healthy food you need, it also allows you to get treats once in a while so you don’t feel punished. It is easier to stick to a budget in the long run if you don’t feel like you are missing the things that make life enjoyable. And brownies make life enjoyable.
Welcome to my very first Meal Plan blog post. This is what we have available and planned for all of our meals for our family of four this week. Some things are staples in our house and we do replenish them out of our $60/week budget. Other things we buy only as needed for certain meals. I always make use of leftovers in some way, either by freezing and using later or eating for lunch the next day, or repurposing into a new snack or meal. The key to sticking to such a budget is to use everything. Four meals this week are new to my family so I will be sure to post a full review of how they are received by all. I have included links to recipes, I usually follow them exactly the first time I make them. For more delicious and budget friendly meals feel free to visit my Eight Dollars a Day Pinterest Board.
Meal Plan for week of March 24, 2013
Old fashioned oatmeal with applesauce and peanut butter,
Frozen waffles, leftover from a batch of waffles made over the weekend
Green Smoothies with spinach, mango, bananas, pineapple, and Greek yogurt
Raisin Bran (on a great sale this week at Winco Foods)
Bacon and egg breakfast burritos
Chicken Taco Soup, leftover from a dinner a few weeks ago and has been frozen since
Corn Dog Muffins
Homemade “Paleo Nuggets”
Spinach Pesto Pasta
Mac n Cheese with Andouille sausage
Peanut Butter and homemade preserve sandwiches
Moroccan Stew, leftover from a dinner (packed full of chickpeas, kale, and tomatoes)
Cottage Cheese with cracked pepper
Homemade Trail Mix
Apple slices with a peanut butter and Greek yogurt dip
Roasted or raw carrots (my kids are carrot addicts)
Pears and yogurt
Cauliflower and homemade ranch dip
Sunday: Pesto baked chicken, Mac n Cheese, and steamed broccoli
Monday: Slow-cooker Vegetable Curry
Tuesday: Beef Tacos
Wednesday: Slow-cooker Sesame Chicken
Thursday: Slow-cooker Cajun Stew
Friday: Meatloaf with peas on the side, this was Michael’s meal request this week
Saturday: Two Bean Chili and cornbread
Michael taught me how to take a screen shot on his phone, which I use as a calculator for grocery shopping, here is what my estimated total was:
And here is what the receipt total was:
As you can see there can be some discrepancies between what you calculate and what it actually comes out to. This is why it is so important to round up a little when you weigh your fruits, veggies, and bulk purchases. Though I was a little peeved today that we came home with so much change when I really wanted a specific loaf of whole wheat bread that I didn’t think I could afford. I substituted and will make do. The change from today goes into our change jar and we are saving for a trip to Australia, so yay change, boo different kind of wheat bread.