Sunday, August 31, 2014

Let's Eat: Aug. 31 - Sept 6th

Weekly Menu Plan 
August 31- September 6
  • Zucchini bread
  • Bagel
  • Smoothie
  • Eggs
  • Toast w/peanut butter
  • Pancakes
  • Oatmeal


  • Lasagna
  • King's Ranch Chicken
  • Cheeseburger cups
  • Baked Chicken Nuggets (tenders)
  • Sloppy Joes
  • Left Overs x 2 (we have a number of left overs in our freezer that I want to use up).

I Did It!!

Woo-Hoo, we stayed just within our grocery budget this month (unless we go to the store between now and midnight, which I don't see happening).  We ended the month with just over $6 to spare. 

I needed to buy milk, but I decided to wait because we did not have to have milk and I was afraid that if I went to the store to buy milk, I would also pick up another item or two and go over budget.  Those are the shopping trips that seem to cause me the most trouble: I go to the store with just one or two items on my list, and I walk out with additional items that we will use, but we did not necessarily need at that time.

For the month of September, my goal is to once again stay just at or under $400.  Since my husband wants us to have a two-week supply of food on hand in case of an emergency, I plan to pick up a few more items to add to the stash, but I do not foresee any unusual purchases this month.  I still have plenty of meat left over from our July purchase.  I am hoping the beef will last at least until November. 

I am also planning to spend some time at the beginning of the week prepping for our meals later in the week.  I saw this idea on the Living Well Spending Less blog and I want to start implementing it on a regular basis.  I am hoping it will help me plan my shopping trips to be more focused on what we actually need for each meal so I can pick them up in one trip and not have to make an additional trip to the store for that week.

Now, to work on other categories of our budget . . .

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Let's Eat: August 24-30

Weekly Menu Plan 
August 24-30

  • Zucchini bread
  • Bagel
  • Smoothie
  • Eggs
  • Toast w/peanut butter
  • Pancakes
  • Oatmeal

  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Chicken Nuggets
  • Cheeseburger cups
  • Corn dogs
  • Mini Calzones
  • Mini meatloaf
  • Eat out x 2

  • Italian crescent bake
  • Meatballs
  • Chicken Chili
  • King's Ranch Chicken
  • Hamburger
  • Chicken Sandwich
  • Eat out

Recent Shopping Trips

I started this weekend with about $85 left in our shopping budget, which is $20 more than I originally thought (for some reason I had it in my head that I only had $65).  After my shopping trips this weekend, we have a little over $10 left, which should be enough for milk and some produce, which is all I foresee needing to buy the remainder of this week.  I am really going to try to not spend more than what we officially have left in the budget. 

I spent $31.18 at Target on the following items:
  • Peanut Butter Crackers - 1.99
  • Welch's Fruit Snacks - 3.99 x 2
  • Baking Powder - 1.59
  • Baking Soda - 1.24
  • Frozen peas - .84 x 2
  • Frozen corn - .84 x 2 & .89 x 1
  • Frozen green beans - .89 x 2
  • Bagels - 1.36
  • Gogurt - 3.60
  • Butter - 3.49
  • Cereal - 4.24
 I spent $30.35 at Aldi:
  • Whipped topping - 2.39
  • Deli cheese - 2.19
  • Turkey breast sandwich meat - 2.29
  • Mozzarella - 1.99
  • Cheddar - 1.99
  • Coffee - 4.99
  • Crescent Rolls - 1.49
  • Deli Rolls - 1.49
  • Strawberries - 1.25 x 2
  • Angel Hair pasta - 1.49
  • Sweet corn - 1.25
  • Watermelon - 2.99
  • Baby carrots - .69
  • Diced tomatoes with chiles - .59
Finally, I spent $5.97 at Dillon's:
  • Raspberries -  .99
  • Tortilla chips - .60
  • Eggs - free!
  • Yogurt - 1.99 x 2

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

11 Days to Go

With 11 days left this month, I have just under $85 left to spend.  Looking back at our budgeting software for this year, I see that I typically go over our budget by 10 to 30 dollars each month.  So, I come pretty close each month, but for one reason or another, I end up going over. 

I think that some of my problem is that we begin to run out of items at the end of the month, so I plan to a trip to the store.  While I am there, I invariably pick up an item or two that we do not really need either because it is a store I might not shop at very often or the item is on sale. 

I would like to see this month be the month that I finally stay completely within our budget.  Except for some perishable items, we are doing pretty well grocery wise.  Now I just need to maintain my focus and just say no to the extra items we don't really need at this time.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Dillon's Trip

I received a e-coupon from Dillon's for $15 off a $70 purchase, so I figured that receiving an additional 20% my groceries was worth an extra trip to Dillon's this week.

Since we are trying to stock up on some items that can sit on the shelf for a long period of time, I made it a point to try and use this opportunity to buy some of these products.  I also wanted to take advantage of their $5 off of 5 items deals since I had some good coupons to go with the sale.

Finally, I had the opportunity to go to the store today without my kids and I won't be able to go shopping this weekend, so this was the best day to go.

My total after all my coupons was 62.73 (tax included).  By carefully entering the price of every product into my calculator app, I kept my initial grocery total close to $70.  I think I might have missed one item because I thought I was only over by about $1.

Trip Breakdown
Wheat Thins x 2 - $1.49
Cheez-Its x 2 - $1.99
Minute Rice (brown) - $2.99
Chocolate Cheerios - $1.64
Cinnamon Toast Crunch x 2 - $1.49
Honey Nut Cheerios -$1.79
Crunchy Honey Nut Cheerios - $1.49
Love Granola - $2.99 (I thought I had picked up Bear Naked Granola for which I had a $1 off coupon.  When I learned of my mistake, I did not want to have to take the time to replace the product just for $1).
V-8 Fusion x 3 - $1.69
Barilla Rotini - $1
Ragu Spaghetti Sauce x 2 - $1.29
Fritos x 2 - $1.49
Great Northern Beans x 2 - $.69
Kroger Cheddar Cheese (8oz) x 2 - $1.77
Kraft Cheddar Cheese (8oz) x 2 - $1.50
Blueberries x 2 - $1.28
Soft Scrub - $1.19
Tomato Sauce (15oz) x 3 - $.69
Land O Lakes Spreadable Butter - $1.88
Land O Lakes Butter Quarters (1lb) - $2.50
Kroger Black Beans x 2 - $.89
Kroger Diced Tomatoes w/green chiles x 2 - $.77
Williams Chicken Chili Seasoning x 2 - $1.87
Oscar Mayer Selects Turkey Hot Dog - $2.99
Smucker's Strawberry Preserves - $.99
Bananas - $1.45 (I just realized that the cashier charged me full price for the bananas when they should have been marked down)
Dillon's Whole Milk Gallon - $2.50
Dillon's 1% Milk Gallon  - $2.50
Kroger Bath Tissue - $4.99

I bought a total of 44 items, so the average was $1.42 per item (after tax and the $15 dollars off).  For me, that is a pretty successful Dillon's trip.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Summer Berries Baked Oatmeal

I wanted to try something new for breakfast this week, so I decided to make some baked oatmeal to have on hand for breakfast tomorrow. 

Since I had a few berries on hand, I decided to make Summer Berries Baked Oatmeal.  I only had blueberries, so I just used blueberries in my dish. 

I've tried a little bit of the dish this evening.  It definitely is not overly sweet.  I like the simplicity of the ingredients and I am sure my kids will enjoy eating it in the morning.

Taco Meat

We often eat tacos at our house.  Cheap and easy, some version of tacos often make it on my menu plans.  A few months ago, I tried this Oven Baked Taco recipe.  Instead of using baked tortillas, I just used store bought crunchy taco shells.  The family liked the overall effect of the recipe, but my husband really liked the meat.

Now, my husband is not a fan of refried beans, so when I first made the recipe, I reduced the amount of beans that I used; today, I use the full amount.  Since I like to make a big batch of taco meat so I can freeze some for later use, I have changed the recipe slightly.

Taco Meat

  • 3 lbs ground beef (I actually only use 39 oz of meat. I often use 13oz of meat when a recipe calls for a pound in order to help make the meat last longer)
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 15 oz tomato sauce
  • 8 oz water
  • 1/2 cup taco seasoning (or two packets)
  1. Brown the ground beef and drain
  2. Add refried beans, tomato sauce, water, and taco seasoning
  3. Mix together
  4. Bring to a simmer and let it cook over low heat for at least 30 minutes 

I often use one third of the recipe for our evening meal and then freeze the other two. This recipe is great because you can adjust the recipe to suit your tastes.

Looking Forward to August

So last month I did not quite stay within my budget goal of $400.  I went over by $22.46, which is not too bad but it still is not within the budget.  Looking back over the last four or five months, I typically go over by at least $10 and no more than $50. 

I did some shopping this weekend and have already spent $125.  My husband is gearing up for a big hiking trip this weekend, so it has added to our normal purchases.  We have also decided to try to build up a better stockpile of foods in case of an emergency, so I bought a few extra canned beans and fruit while I was at Aldi the other day.

I am finding it hard to think about buying canned foods to stockpile when I have been trying decrease our use of canned foods over the last few years.  I know that there is still a shelf-life on those canned goods, so at some point in time, we will need to eat them.

This weekend's grocery shopping included Target, Dillon's, and Aldi.

Here is what I bought:

  • Market Pantry Bagels and Welch's Fruit Snacks - $5.46

  • Bananas - $1.75 (I know that they are cheaper at Aldi, but I don't have good luck with the bags)
  • Coffee - $4.99
  • 16 oz cheddar cheese - $3.50 (definitely cheaper than Aldi cheese)
  • Ragu spaghetti sauce x 2 - $1.29 each
  • Cheerios (big box) -$2.49
  • KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce - $1.49 (my son is allergic to an ingredient in many sauces, so we have to stick with this brand)
  • Smucker's cherry preserves - $.49 (I had an great $1 off coupon that I could use with their mega sale savings!)
  • Cheez-Its - $1.99 
  • Bacon - $3.99 
  • Eggs x 2 - $.99 each  (they had marked their eggs down to 99 cents - hurray!)
  • Capri Sun - $1.49

  • Sweet corn x 2 - $1.89 each
  • Romaine hearts - $1.99
  • Crescent rolls - $1.49 each
  • Flour - $1.38
  • Frozen chicken breasts - $5.99
  • Crunchy peanut butter - $2.99
  • Deli rolls - $1.49
  • Baby spinach - $2.49
  • Sugar - $1.39
  • Deli sliced cheddar cheese - $2.19
  • Deli turkey meat - $2.29
  • 8 oz mozzarella - $1.99
  • Brown sugar - $1.19
  • Tomato sauce x 8 - $.25 each
  • Refried beans x 2 -  $.79 each
  • Pork & beans x 4 - $.49 each
  • Granola cereal - $1.99
  • Mandarin oranges - $.89 each
  • Fresh peaches x 4 - $.29 each
  • Coffee creamer - $2.19
  • Unsalted peanuts - 2.39
  • Spaghetti sauce - $1.19
  • Baby carrots - $.69
  • BBQ potato chips - $1.49
  • Red grapes - $1.58
  • Unsalted butter - $2.49
  • Steamable corn x 2 - $.95 each
  • Frozen peas - $.95
  • Fresh blueberries - $.99
  • Quart bags - $1.99
 My husband also did some shopping for his trip at Wal Mart this weekend.  He spent $25 on food he can easily take and use at the camp site.

Let's Eat: August 3 - August 9

Weekly Menu
August 3 - August 9


  • Left overs
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Turkey and cheese pinwheel
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Grilled Cheese
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Mini Calzones