Grocery Budget: Week Four

Throughout the month of March, I’ve shared about each of our grocery shopping trips and our  meal plans. This has been a bit of an unusual month for us since we spent over $170 of our $200 grocery budget during the first two weeks! That has made the last 2 weeks of the month a little bit more of a challenge but we’re still $10.06 under budget for the month and have not gone without, we’ve just had to be a little more creative!

We haven’t gone to the grocery store this week, instead we’re eating up what we’ve got.

Here’s a glimpse into the fridge:

Top shelf: Eggs {from our hens!}, cooked sweet potatoes {in the skillet}, bowl of shredded chicken

Middle shelf: Corn tortillas, 1/4 gallon of milk {we pulled this half gallon out of the freezer, we had put it in the freezer at the end of February when we went out of town}

Middle drawer: Cheese {we have a little more than 1/5 of the 5 pound block we purchased at the beginning of the month left!}

Bottom shelf: Leftover smoked roast, chicken stock

Bottom drawers: 1 kiwi, 1 apple, 1 plum, diced onions

Meal Plan

Breakfasts:
Homemade Granola
Cereal
Eggs

Lunches:
Leftovers

Snacks:
Fruit
Peanuts
Chips
Tortillas & Salsa
Pecans
Popcorn

March 27: Buffalo Chicken and BBQ Chicken Pizza
March 28: Smoked Roast with Sweet Potatoes
March 29: Leftover Night!
March 30: Out of Town
March 31: Out of Town

Having a 1/2 gallon of milk in the freezer and going out of town the last two days of the month are 2 factors in helping us stay under budget for the month of March.

This is just a glimpse into how we grocery shop and stick to our budget. Having a stocked freezer is really helpful and we plan our meals based upon what we have on hand. If we didn’t stock up on meats, it would be very hard to stick to our $200 budget! Since we are changing our eating habits, incorporating more fruits, vegetables and organic/local dairy products, I’m considering raising our grocery budget. This month has been a bit of a stretch and I was a little worried that we weren’t going to be able to stay within our budget! Of course, it seems when money is tight, you tend to get creative and use up the food that’s been in the pantry for months so it can become a bit of a fun challenge!

Since we had $10.06 left in the grocery budget during the month of March, I’ll put $10 into our “Grocery Savings” envelope that will be saved to use for making bulk purchases {like half a cow or pig!}

Related Posts:

Grocery Budget: Week One
Grocery Budget: Week Two
Grocery Budget: Week Three

Grocery Budget: Week Three

During March, I’m sharing our monthly budgeting and meal planning. Our current grocery budget is $200 a month which is only for food {we have a separate budget category for household items and toiletries.} So far this month, my spending has been more than usual! I spent $89.04 the first week of the month and then $82.56 last week which left me with a meager budget of $28.40 left for 2 weeks!

We’re trying to eat healthier which includes more local, organic and non-GMO products. Right now our priorities are organic dairy, non-GMO corn products and organic produce primarily for the most contaminated fruits and vegetables.

This week we didn’t purchase much but we have a freezer full of beef and some chicken. We also have hens that are laying so we no longer have to purchase eggs! We still have over half of the local cheese we purchased at the beginning of the month and last week we purchased vanilla,  olive oil and local honey, all three of these items should last a couple months. We also have about half a gallon of milk in the fridge and a half gallon in the freezer. {I believe Weston has a milk sensitivity so I’ve cut back on my milk consumption!}

Groceries for this week:

  • Kiwi (3) $1.47
  • Plums (3) $1.73
  • Bananas  $1.52
  • Shredded Coconut $1
  • Tortilla Chips (2) (organic) $4.38
  • Raisins (organic) $5.79
  • Yogurt (2) (organic) $.98
  • Kettle Chips $1.29

Total (with tax): $18.34

{$10.06 left in the grocery budget for March.}

Meal Plan

Breakfasts:
Homemade Granola
Fruit
Oatmeal
Omelets

Lunches:
Leftovers

Snacks:
Cheese
Nuts
Fruit
Hummus & Chips
Carrots

March 19: Leftover Chicken Soup
March 20: Mexican Casserole*
March 21: Leftovers
March 22: Veggie Soup*
March 23: Leftovers/Homemade Pizza
March 24: Steak with Sweet Potato Fries and Rolls
March 25: Ham with Mashed Potatoes, Cranberries and Rolls*
March 26: Grilled Pork with Baked Potatoes

*These were on last week’s menu but we didn’t fix them due to having leftovers and repurposing leftovers! {Little to no food waste is frugal!}

I have to admit, I’m nervous about only having $10.06 left in the grocery budget this month! I’m positive we can stay within budget this month but we will be cutting it close! I hope to avoid raising our food budget right now.

We’ve been working hard in our garden and are hoping that we’ll have a good season and produce a bunch of vegetables that we can eat all summer and preserve for fall and winter which will help reduce our food expenses in the coming months!

Related Posts:

Grocery Budget: Week One

Grocery Budget: Week Two

Grocery Budget: Week Two

I’m sharing a real glimpse into our grocery budget and meal planning during the month of March. Last week, we spent $89.04 of our $200 budget which is more than I like to spend at the beginning of the month but $33.54 of that was for 5 pounds of local cheese which should last another 3 or 4 weeks.

Groceries for this week:

  • Bananas $.65
  • Salsa (2) (organic) $5.98 (-$1 coupon) $4.98
  • Chickpeas (2) (organic) $1.78
  • Diced Tomatoes $.89
  • Peanuts $1.99
  • Molasses $3.19
  • Pineapple $2.50
  • Maseca $2.19
  • Tortilla Chips $1.69
  • Potato Chips $1.29

Total: $21.37

  • Vanilla (organic) $6.98
  • Dried Papaya $2.42
  • Onions (organic) $3.49
  • Dried Pineapple $5.04
  • Banana Chips $2.09
  • Olive Oil (organic) $10.98
  • Sour Cream (organic) $3.49
  • Milk (organic) $4.88

Total: $41.84

We also purchased a 5 pound bag of  potatoes for $5.70 and local honey for $13.65.

Grand Total: $82.56

{$28.40 left in the grocery budget for the month of March.}

Meal Plan

Breakfasts:
Homemade Granola
Fruit
Oatmeal

Lunches:
Leftovers

Snacks:
Cheese
Nuts
Fruit
Hummus & Chips

Dinners:
March 12: Steak with Baked Potatoes
March 13: Ham with Mashed Potatoes, Cranberries & Whole Wheat Rolls
March 14: Leftovers
March 15: Leftovers/Snack Supper/Possibly Dinner with a Friend
March 16: Chicken Tacos
March 17: Buffalo & BBQ Chicken Pizza
March 18: Chicken Soup
March 19: Mexican  Casserole*
March 20: Veggie Soup*

*These were on last week’s menu but had leftovers one night and pizza another night so I moved these meals!

Questions:

  • How do you plan your menu? I plan my menu based on what I already have and then purchase things that I need to fill in the gaps. I never come up with a menu plan without looking in our freezer, pantry and fridge first. When I’m grocery shopping, I pick up the items we need for the menu that week and will stock up on sale items or items we frequently use.
  • What does your grocery budget include? My grocery budget is only for food. We have a medical category that we use to purchase supplements, etc. and a miscellaneous budget for everything else.

Related Posts – Grocery Budget: Week One

Grocery Budget: Week One

During March, I’m sharing a glimpse into our food budget and menu planning. Each week, I’ll share the groceries we purchased and our meal plan. Our grocery budget is currently $200 a month for our family of 4. {Our baby is still exclusively breastfed but I eat more while nursing!} We no longer try to eat as cheaply as possible, viewing our grocery budget as an area where we can save big. Instead, we view food as an investment in ourselves.

I don’t claim that we eat perfectly healthy. We still have a way to go but we’re making strides towards healthier eating. We’re incorporating organic milk, local cheese, buying organic produce that’s on the dirty dozen list, trying to avoid GMOs as much as possible and are planning to get a few chickens so we’ll have fresh eggs. We are trying to frugally eat healthy, which is possible with a simple diet, almost no food waste and cooking from scratch.

Obviously, we’re not starting the month with no food. Here’s a glimpse into our pantry and refrigerator before our grocery shopping trip:

Pantry

Fridge


Produce {in the bottom drawers you can’t see}3 pounds organic apples and 1 pound organic carrots.

We also have a freezer full of meat! At the beginning of this year, we were blessed with half a cow from John David’s family’s farm {we only paid the processing fee.} In both January and February, we’ve had excess money left at the end of the month that we’ve set aside in a grocery money envelope so we can use it to purchase items in bulk later.

Grocery trip for the week:

  • Honey Roasted Peanuts $1.99
  • Pineapple $2.50
  • Oats $2.99
  • Flour $2.07
  • Sugar (2) $4.96
  • Banana Chips $.32
  • Strawberries (organic) $3.99
  • Kiwi (organic) $.79
  • Bananas (organic) $1.28
  • Pasta Sauce (organic) (2) $5.98
  • Potatoes (organic) $5.43
  • Chips (2) $5.00 (-$1 coupon) $4
  • Tortilla Chips (organic) $2.19
  • Mac ‘n Cheese $1.00
  • Cereal (2) $5.68 (-$1 coupon) $4.48
  • Milk (organic) $6.49

Total: $50.46

We also purchased 5 pounds of local cheese which was $33.54 {this should last beyond this month!} And chocolate ice cream for $5.04.

Grand Total: $89.04

We’ve started this month off by spending more than we typically do but we shouldn’t have to purchase cheese anymore this month. If we only purchase milk and fresh produce at the beginning of next week, we’ll be right on track for the month.

Meal Plan

Breakfasts:
Homemade Granola {Based on this Homemade Granola}
Cereal
Fruit

Lunches:
Leftovers
Cheese & Homemade Wheat Crackers 

Snacks:
Nuts
Raisins
Fruit
Smoothies
Hummus & Chips

Dinners:
March 1: Mac ‘n Cheese, Fruit*
March 2: Nacho Chicken Bake {a new creation, I’ll be posting the recipe!}
March 3: Chicken Soup
March 4: Dinner out for my birthday!
March 5: Buffalo and BBQ Chicken Pizzas
March 6: Venison Roast with Carrots, Potatoes and Onions
March 7: Dinner at Church
March 8: Leftovers*
March 9: Baked Pork Chops, White Beans and Bread
March 10: Mexican Casserole
March 11: Veggie Soup {splitting the beef from the Mexican Casserole and using home canned tomato juice!}

*John David works late on Thursdays, so we typically have a light supper.

I know there’s a lot of room for improvement {like adding in more fresh vegetables!} but we’re taking baby steps, trying to avoid most processed foods and purchasing local and organic foods as much as we can. And I’m looking forward to really getting our garden going so we’ll be growing our own fresh vegetables and fruits!

Again, we’re not trying to eat as cheaply as possible. I’m not trying to awe you with a shoe string budget or with our super healthy eating habits. I’m just sharing our grocery budget so you can get an accurate picture of how we eat and where we spend our grocery  money.

I’d love questions and comments but please keep them polite! {Food related posts tend to bring out spirited comments since views on what’s healthy or not vary widely.}

Linked to: Menu Plan Monday