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Groceries/Menu for Next 2 Weeks

5 Jul

HEB groceries $97.67

Here’s my groceries for the first 2 weeks of July. I went to HEB, Sam’s Club and Albertsons.

How I saved at HEB:

  • Saved $11.41 by buying generic brand
  • Saved $1.36 by buying on sale items
  • Saved $3.75 by using coupons (in store Tabasco coupon,  in store, buy one get one half off make-up brushes, in store, buy Tostitos chips get HEB chips free, and a printed out Newman’s Own coupon)

My total at HEB was $97.67.

My Albertson’s trip I spent $38.20 and saved $31.38!!!! It was all done by buying on sale items. The 2 roasts were buy one get one free (perfect since Cameron requested a roast as his b-day meal). The chicken breasts, whole chicken, grapes, apples and corn were all on sale too.

It seems like HEB’s everyday prices are generally cheaper, but Albertsons has some great sales, especially in meat. So I’m trying to mostly shop at HEB and stop in at Albertsons for any great sales.

Sam's Club and Albertsons Groceries. Saved $31.38 at Albertsons!

And I spent $43.44 at Sam’s club.

My total in food groceries is: $143.50, leaving me with $106.50 for the rest of the month, which I think is do able, especially since I have 1 roast and 1 whole chicken in the freezer that I’m not even planning on using yet, so I can use them later in the month.

My total in non-food items is: $35.81, leaving me $4.19. I bought toilet paper, toothpaste, aluminum foil, laundry detergent and make-up brushes, I don’t think I’ll have to buy much more in this category this month.

Here’s what’s on the menu plan for the next 2 weeks:

Breakfasts: Granola, oatmeal, peanut butter power pucks, toast, smoothies, eggs

Lunches: Leftovers, sandwiches, burritos

Suppers:

  • Roast with carrots, potatoes, gravy and rolls (my mother-in-law brought the rolls). And whole wheat honey carrot cake for dessert. This was Cameron’s birthday meal.
  • Stew or pot pie made from leftover roast and rolls
  • Black bean quesadillas, fresh salsa and chips, grapes
  • Salad with hard boiled or deviled eggs, some sort of fruit
  • Chicken and brown rice made with homemade chicken broth and steamed broccoli
  • Stuffed peppers made with leftover brown rice and black beans, apples and cream cheese dip from Tammy’s Recipes
  • Chicken strips, corn on the cob, millet
  • Ramen noodle stir fry (if there’s any leftover millet, I’ll throw that in too)
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches (with slices of tomato in them if there’s any left), veggies and dip, mangoes
  • Chicken burger sandwiches, homemade oven fries, salad
  • Chicken quesadillas (with any leftover chicken), fresh salsa and chips, apples and dip
  • Leftovers

I’m realizing that planning my meals for 2 weeks, I don’t have to come up with 14 different main meals, between leftovers and eating out I don’t usually end up making every meal I plan.

June Grocery Challenge Results!

4 Jul

Happy 4th of July everyone!!

For the month of June I’ve been trying to keep my food groceries under $250. Here’s my results along with my non-food grocery results and eating out results for the month of June.

Food groceries:

  • goal $250
  • actually spent $253.10

Non-food groceries (shampoo, diapers for Gracia to sleep in, toilet paper, etc…)

  • goal $40
  • actually spent $36.79

Eating out (this counts any food bought at restaurants, convenient stores or gas stations)

  • goal $100
  • actually spent $119.87

I think I’m going to keep trying to keep our grocery bill around $250, which is exciting to me as I look back at my 2009 and 2010 records and see when we were spending $300-$360 on groceries! I think part of the change has been moving to a bigger town with more options for grocery stores. The town we were in before had pretty high grocery prices. And part of the change has also been the various strategies I’ve been trying to use to tackle our grocery budget.

I was actually under in the non-food groceries! 🙂

The eating out is the area I’m the least pleased with, because we went the most over in it and it’s an unnecessary thing. But when I look back at how much we’ve spent in months past in eating out it’s a lot less, so at least it’s an improvement! 🙂

Anybody else out there working on decreasing their grocery budget? How are you doing at it?

You CAN Afford to Eat Healthy!

23 Jun

Exercise is a part of being healthy, but so is eating right. I’ve heard so many people say that they can’t afford healthy food. I won’t deny that some healthy foods are expensive, but there’s actually a lot of very affordable healthy foods out there. You may even find that you eat cheaper when you eat healthy.

Here’s a list of a few cheap and healthy foods (this is by no means all of them):

  • Oatmeal – Has iron and fiber. Costs $2.24  for a big thing of it that makes 30 servings! Or if you don’t like eating hot oatmeal you can make granola out of it.
  • Potatoes – Keep the skins on, that’s where most of the nutrients are and nothings wasted.
  • Beans – High in fiber and protein. And they’re not only way cheaper than meat, but also a lot lower in fat!
  • Lentils – These are not only cheap, but easy to cook. Unlike beans they don’t need to be soaked overnight.
  • Raisins – I love dried fruits, but most are expensive and some have added sugar. But raisins don’t have extra sugar and they are the cheapest dried fruit I can find.
  • Fruit and veggies – Buy in season, locally grown and on sale to get the most for your money. I find that things like carrots, bananas and apples seem to pretty much always be cheap.
  • Whole wheat bread – It usually doesn’t cost much, if any more, than white bread, or you can make your own.
  • Brown rice – it only costs a little more than white rice, but it goes a long way.
  • Whole Wheat Pasta – I’ve only cooked with this a few times, but you can get it pretty affordably.

Here’s some other tips:

  • A lot of regular grocery stores are carrying health food items, and it’s probably cheaper there than at a health food store, but compare prices to make sure.
  • You may be able to get some healthy foods cheaper at warehouse stores. The cheapest unit price I’ve found on honey is at Sam’s Club.
  • Eat the right sizes, if you eat too much it not only isn’t healthy, it also makes your grocery bill higher.
  • Skip the unnecessary and completely empty calories like soda and candy. There’s nothing healthy in it and the cost really adds up. Save that money to buy healthy food instead.
  • Cook from scratch. You have more control over what goes in, and don’t have to worry about all the preservatives that are in prepared foods. Plus it’s usually cheaper.

Groceries/Menu – June Challenge Update #2

14 Jun

HEB groceries

Here’s my second update on my June Challenge!

HEB

Here’s how I saved:

  • $2.96 by buying store brand
  • $13.20 by buying sale items (squash, grapes, mangoes, potatoes, canned tomatoes, shampoo and conditioner, and the energy teas were on the clearance shelf.)
  • $2.37 by using coupons (a Tabasco coupon I printed offline and an in-store coupon where I got a free loaf of HEB bread if I bought a loaf of Nature’s Own)

Total food groceries: $58.38

Total savings: $18.53

Albertsons

Albertsons was having a a good sale on boneless skinless chicken breasts ($1.69/lb.).

Total: $8.85

Total savings: $1.64

Sam’s

I got spinach, Parmesan cheese and reduced for quick sale hamburger meat.

And I bought cheese, spinach, eggs, carrots and tortilla chips as Sam’s earlier this month, but never got around to recording it on here.

Total from both trips: $50.34

Total saved: $2.39


So my total for groceries so far this month is: $189.86, which leaves me with $60.14, which doesn’t sound like a lot but the food I bought should last me for 2 weeks, so I think I’ll stay under this month! =)

And by using my grocery shopping strategies I saved $22.56 this week!

I haven’t tallied up my non-food groceries yet or eating out yet. Maybe I’ll post them at the end of the month.

Here’s our 2 week menu plan:

Breakfasts: Oatmeal, cream of wheat, toast, smoothies, eggs

Lunches: Leftovers, sandwiches (sandwich meat, chicken or pbj), bean burritos, leftovers

Suppers:

  • Salmon patties (these were on my last menu, but we never ended up having them)
  • Veggie soup and sandwiches (I have some broccoli stems in the freezer and some wilting celery I’ll use in this, among other vggies too)
  • Baked potatoes with chili (chili already made in freezer)
  • Black bean quesadillas
  • Chicken and brown rice
  • Taco meat burritos
  • Taco salad (with the leftover taco meat)
  • Meatloaf and potatoes (I’m going to try using corn tortilla chip crumbs in place of the regualr crumbs in the meatloaf…we always have so many chip crumbs in the bottom of the bag!)

    Taco Meat

  • Chicken spiedies (this is a regional food from the area I was born. I’m going to make them as our Father’s Day meal).
  • Egg salad sandwiches
  • Bean burritos
  • Ramen noodle stirfry
  • Leftovers

Side Dishes: salad, veggies and dip, potatoes (fries, mashed potatoes), carrot raisin salad, chips and salsa, grapes, big soft ginger cookies , and one night we’re going to someone else’s house and I’m bringing dessert, I think I’ll make chocolate wacky cake with peanut butter icing.

A Grocery Challenge!

30 May

So, this past month has been hard (if you wanna know why click here)and I haven’t kept track of our purchases. And it was very interesting, because when I decided I had other things to worry about other than adding up all our expenses, I started to see myself not caring. I’d think, “it doesn’t matter if I spend a lot on groceries, after all I’m not going to add it all up this month.” What a reminder that it really does help to keep track of where our money goes!

So this month I’m starting all over again, but I’m going to try to a challenge. The lowest I’ve had our grocery bill has been about $250 a month. So I’m going to try to see how low I can get it this month. I really want it to be under $250, and hopefully a lot under! I’m going to keep track of all the food I buy and I’ll keep you posted. This is only for food items and does not count toiletry items or eating out, however I’ll keep track of those things too and maybe show you the results.

Here’s my strategies for keeping our grocery bill low:

  • Buy mostly generic brand.
  • Shop at Sam’s Club (using my price book to make sure what I’m buying there is actually cheaper than other stores).
  • Buy sale items (checking out sales online before hand).
  • Stocking up on good deals that won’t go bad before we can eat them.
  • Going to multiple stores when there’s really good deals.
  • Cooking with cheap ingredients (beans, potatoes, oatmeal, rice, in season produce etc…).
  • Wasting as little food as possible. I’m even thinking of maybe keeping track of all wasted food. A lot of other blogs do that.
  • Going grocery shopping every other week instead of every week (if I plan well enough hopefully I won’t even need to run to the store for milk or produce in between my regular trips).
  • Cook with food I already have (pantry and freezer).
  • Use any coupons I find on internet, get in the mail or see in the store (but only if it’s something I actually use).
  • Cooking from scratch, rather than buying already made meals.
  • Plan, using what I already have, sale items and coupons to help me.

So in conclusion I want to keep our food groceries well under $250. It’s my personal challenge for the month of June. Anyone else want to join me in a grocery budget challenge? How much do you plan on spending for you or your family? How do you plan on keeping under the budget?

Sam’s Club (and other warehouse stores)

12 Apr

I shop at Sam’s Club. It costs me $40 a year to keep my membership there. So if I don’t save more than $40 a year there, it’s not worth it. But I’ve figured out that in cheese ALONE we cover the membership cost, plus some (we eat a lot of cheese!). Here’ some strategies to get the most out of your bulk store shopping:

  • If it goes bad before you can eat it all, it’s not worth it (I don’t buy very much produce there, as we can’t always eat it fast enough).
  • Make sure you have a place to store all of it. There’s some things I don’t buy there simply because it’s just too big for our little home.
  • Only buy it if it’s something you use (don’t buy it just becuase it’s a good deal).
  • Make sure to shop there enough to cover the cost of your card.
  • Make a price list. Keep track of the unit price of things you buy and compare it to the unit price at regular stores to see what really is a better deal. I’ve learned a lot of things are cheaper at Sam’s but not everything. For example a lot of produce I can buy cheaper at other stores, especially if it’s on sale.

My price list isn’t finished yet, but here’s some items I’ve found cheaper at Sam’s Club:

Raisins

11.2 cents/oz.  Great Value brand at Walmart

10.9 cents/oz. Sunmaid brand at Sam’s Club

Honey

19.5 cents/oz. Hill Country Fair brand on sale at HEB

18.7 cents/oz. Buleson’s brand at Walmart

13.2 cents/oz. at Sam’s

Cheddar Cheese in a block form

$3.74/lb. Hill Country Fair brand at HEB

$2.6/lb. Sam’s

Parmesian Cheese

40.25 cents/oz. HEB sale

31.1 cents/oz. Kraft at Sam’s

Liquid Hand Soap

6.25 cents/fluid oz. Hill Country Fair at HEB

5.75 cents/fluid oz. Equate at Walmart

4.7 cents/fluid oz. Sam’s



Extreme Couponing! – What Are Your Thoughts?

7 Apr

So I watched some of those “Extreme Couponing” shows. Part of me was listing all the reasons I don’t coupon like these people, and the other part of me was second guessing myself and wondering if I should be couponing more. I mentioned a little about couponing in my Smart Shopping post, but here’s more details on my humble little opinion on coupons:

  • It’s usually for something I don’t already buy. I notice a lot of coupons for dog food, soda, premade pizzas, etc…things that I just don’t buy. For example if I had enough coupons to get a candy bar for 5 cents, that’d be a great deal, right? But what I’d be better off just doing, would be just not buying the candy bars at all!
  • It’s not always healthy. This kinda goes along with the first reason. But they don’t have coupons for fresh produce or meat. It’s usually frozen or canned items.
  • It’s not generic brand. The other day I printed off a Cream of Wheat coupon, but when I got to the store I realized that the generic brand was still cheaper than using the coupon with the name brand.
  • It takes a lot of time. On the show the people admitted that they spent hours preparing for a single grocery trip. Some even considered it a job.
  • I don’t have a lot of space to stockpile. If you’ve read Tour My Little Home, then I don’t need to say anything here. =)
  • Those were EXTREME couponers. We have to remember that even though those people would spend under $10 on purchases that originally were hundreds of dollars, these people are the extreme of the extreme. They got the most extreme people for the show, and they showed they’re most extreme trip. They don’t necessarily save that much everytime.

Here’s a quote from Amy Dacyczyn in her “The Tightwad Gazette”:

“Readers frequently send me sales slips to demonstrate how much they save using coupons. With bold sweeps of colored markers they circle the figure that shows how much the coupons used added up to. They’re circling the wrong figure. The most important figure on your sales slip is how much you spend on groceries…not how much you save using coupons.” And this is coming from a lady who fed a family of 8 with $180 a month!

I don’t want people to think I’m against the show or people couponing, not at all. The show has just got me wondering and I want your opinion now! So all that said, I have to admit the show did inspire me to check out coupons a little more often, and maybe see if I could combine them with sales, but I don’t have plans of becoming as extreme as them. But now I want YOUR opinion! Do you use coupons? If so, how extreme are you? How much do you save? Where do you get your coupons? What tips would you give us “non-extremists”?

Oh! I almost forgot! If you’re interested here’s another bloggers opinion.