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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

Organizing in the Kitchen

A small kitchen can be a functional kitchen but it doesn’t take much to make it very cluttered. Clutter and a small kitchen don’t go together at all! After having a baby in December, things in our little kitchen have been neglected. Sure, I was washing dishes daily and putting the dishes away but it wasn’t nice and neat and there were items cluttering the counter tops!

It was time for a little spring cleaning in the kitchen, clearing clutter and doing some scrubbing!

The kitchen sink after a good cleaning.

I washed all the dishes, scrubbed my sink, removed everything but the mixer, wheat grinder and gadget crock from the counter and washed the counter top!

We’ve been shoving bottles and cups up on this shelf and it was looking messy.

After removing a few items and tidying up, so much better!

Here’s our microwave.

Honestly, this picture does not do the ickyness justice. It was nasty. I really don’t know when the last time it was cleaned, I’m guessing before Weston was born {so probably 3 months ago!}

I finally cleaned the microwave!

It looks so much better and feels so good to have that little task knocked off of my mental to do list.

I didn’t take pictures of everything. The boys were napping and I was taking full advantage of that time by working hard in my kitchen.

Other things I accomplished:

  • Moved home canned goods to another cabinet.
  • Made a space in a cabinet for coffee supplies.
  • Organized the pantry.
  • Washed the outside of the fridge, oven and dishwasher.
  • Wiped down the cabinet fronts with a damp cloth.
  • Did a little decluttering.

Everything that left the kitchen.

A few things were recycled, a few went to the donation pile and the mason jar and cooler bag went back to where they belong!

Having a clean kitchen makes cooking more fun and keeps me motivated to keep it clean!

Is your kitchen neat and organized? Cluttered and chaotic? Or somewhere in between?  

This post is linked to Project:Simplify at Simple Mom.

Nacho Chicken Bake

Nacho Chicken Bake is the result of dinner time sneaking up on me! A few weeks ago,  5:30 rolled around way too  fast! I had laid out chicken and pinto beans for chicken tacos but with a crying baby and moody toddler, I didn’t feel like making homemade tortillas or cutting up and frying the meat.

I had to get creative!

I decided to boil the chicken and turn the pintos into refried beans.

The result was this easy and yummy Chicken Nacho Bake:

Ingredients:

Chips
Refried Beans
Shredded Chicken 
Rotel Tomatoes

Directions:

Layer chips on a pizza stone/baking dish. Add layer of refried beans over the chips, layer on chicken, top with rotel and cheese and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Really this is one of those recipes that has endless possibilities.

Use black beans instead of refried beans. Replace the chicken with steak or taco meat. Instead of Rotel, use fresh tomatoes, salsa or pico de gallo. Once baked you can top with any favorite fresh vegetables or sour cream! {We were wishing we had an avocado to slice and put on the top!}

Quick, easy, frugal and yummy, the type of dish I love!

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