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Creative Kristi: Feeding my family on $140- Part 2

Creative Kristi

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Feeding my family on $140- Part 2

Ok so now you know my menu plan for the next few weeks & I just wanted to put in a couple notes.
1. I switch around meals to suit our needs that day (for example Hubs will be working late one night this week & since he is the 'cook' I will probably move Saturday's pasta night to that night to save me some time). I write out the menu plan so I know what I need to buy at the grocery store to have everything I need for all those meals- it doesn't mean we ONLY eat that on the scheduled day.
2. Lunch is usually grilled cheese but you won't ever find bread on my grocery list. I make my own. Flour & yeast are so much more inexpensive then a loaf of bread. I do not have a breadmaker but I do have a stand mixer to help me out. That said- a stand mixer is not an 'essential' part of a kitchen, people have been making bread for many more years then there has been electricity.

3. If you don't stay at home like I do you CAN still do this. It takes a little thing called pre-planning & discipline to figure it out. If you are living paycheck to paycheck and there is always more month then $$ just promise me you'll give menu planning & a grocery budget a try? It's so reassuring to know that your family will be fed no matter what. I'm not saying you have to make your own bread or hamburger rolls- that's just how I save us that much more.
4. Beans & rice are staples in our diet. Why? they are filling, nutritious, and cheap. Yes they take a little pre-planning & 'extra' work but you are saving $ by doing the 'extra' work yourself and not paying someone to do it for you. That is the core of saving money- remove some of the convenience and you get a cheaper product.
5. There ARE menu planning resources on the internet and I did try a few (usually $5 a month subscription or something similar) but I found our grocery budget skyrocketing because they didn't focus on cheaper foods, just yummy tasting ones. But if they work for you- by all means go that route and save yourself some time!
6. I buy whole chickens and cook them up in my crockpot and end up with enough meat for at least 2 meals plus *free* chicken stock for other meals. For about $4 a chicken (whole, free range, 'organic' chicken) I get much more then those $7 (& up!) packages of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. If I don't get a whole chicken I at least get the bone in, skin on package of chicken. It takes 2 seconds to take of the skin and cut the meat away from the bone. If you are squeamish about it just have Hubs do it- like I do ;)

Ok moving on. I know these posts without many pictures are long but hopefully we are all learning something and saving some $$ for ourselves right?? I promise tomorrow I will get back to posts with pictures & more crafty ideas!
Here is my grocery list & receipt total- keep in mind even if it doesn't list 'organic' next to it- it still probably was. I am just pointing out organic items that I buy that you might not think of as having an 'organic' option.

My grocery list for this paycheck was this: (tried to separate it out a bit for you- easier reading)
1 gal. Milk, juice, bananas, apples, grapes,
D's cereal bars (organic), raisins, dried cranberries, butter- hope to buy in bulk soon,
half & half, coffee-organic/fair trade, celery, cream cheese, 4 cans tuna fish packed in water,
Vegetable oil (almost out so had to replace), Sugar (again- replacing), Worcestershire sauce (replacing),
15 oz. chopped tomatoes, 26 oz. chicken stock (needed some more before I remembered I had a chicken to cook in the crockpot- oops!), 15 oz. can kidney beans (normally buy dried to save money but didn't this week...weird.),
6 pack Yo-kids yogurt for Little Man & the large organic vanilla yogurt for Hubs & me, sour cream,
all-natural peanut butter, strawberry jelly, 1 lb. bag northern beans, Jiffy mix- cornbread,
Stove Top stuffing mix (I never have any leftover bread to make my own stuffing or bread crumbs), taco shells, 2 or 3 tomatoes, lettuce (we buy the pre-shredded bag but the lettuce head would be cheaper),
pinto beans (hubs bought the canned kind but I prefer the bag of dried), dozen eggs,
2 cans black beans, rice (we were running low on both white & brown), mexican shredded cheese mix (hope to buy bulk blocks of cheese and shred just what we need soon to save $$),
shredded cheddar cheese, 1 lb. ground turkey,
jar of yeast, bottle of honey (anyone know where I can get bulk honey??). That's it!

Here is a photo (blurry- iPhone again...stupid computer won't read my camera card reader!) of the total for all the items listed above:

In case you can't read that it says: $125.98 (woohoo! LESS then my $140 budget!)
Also here is a photo of the $$ off per gallon I saved too since my grocery store teams up with a gas chain to offer the discount:

It says I will save $0.20/gallon if I use it within the next 2 weeks...which we always do! :)

So there you have it! A little thought, planning & time is all it takes to save money on the grocery bill! Coupons & stockpiling not required! (Although would help out a lot!)

I hope you learned something and if not- at least got some great links to new sites to check out recipes from! :) Please let me know what you think & if you have any great resources for me!!

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At March 2, 2010 at 1:39 PM , Blogger Holly said...

Hi Kristi,

Wow - your homemade bread looks amazing. I have three teen boys and I swear they eat non-stop 24/7.

I had never been much of a meal-planner but started planning meals a week at a time last year and you are right, it made a huge difference. Before that, I was planning dinner in my mind during the drive home from work and stopped for last-minute grocery trips several times a week. Not only was it expensive, but its very stressful too. Planning a week's worth of meals at a time has literally cut my grocery bill in half and I don't even use coupons as much as I could!

Nice to discover your blog and fun tweeting with you :)

Holly (BlogFrog)

At March 2, 2010 at 3:36 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bread look yum!!!
You could save even more if you didn't buy organic. It's a big scam!

At March 3, 2010 at 10:29 AM , Blogger Birdie @ Chirp in the Forest said...

Girl you're my frugal food HERO. Baking your own bread? I'm afraid I'd screw up and have a coup on my hands! Buying in bulk is awesome though - have you thought about buying the huge bags of shredded cheese and freezing most of it? It works really well (you might have to do the math but supposedly huge bag of shredded is cheaper than shredding huge blocks?) Are you a member at any of the discount clubs (Costco etc)? People keep telling us to join but I'm not convinced it's actually cheaper.

At March 3, 2010 at 10:32 AM , Blogger Birdie @ Chirp in the Forest said...

Kristi - Is there a way to "follow" you with Blogger so that your daily posts will show up on my dashboard? But maybe I'm being a doof that I can't figure it out..... I don't do Facebook or Twitter unfortunately.

At March 3, 2010 at 10:36 PM , Blogger Mc Allen said...

wow, this post was teriffic! you are sooo thrifty, I love it!! I am not at all. As a matter of fact, I got a breadmaker from someone without the book and cannnnnnnot figure it out.. :( this post made me want to, lol!!! Keep these going girlfriend!! xoxo LA

At March 4, 2010 at 1:59 AM , Blogger Marisa said...

your bread looks amazing. bread-making has always intimidated me... maybe it's time to try my hand at it!

At March 7, 2010 at 3:36 PM , Anonymous vanessa said...

Amazing tips! I can't wait to catch up on all the posts :)

At April 9, 2010 at 11:05 AM , Blogger Nikki 'Trexel' Moore said...

I know this is an older post, but I found you from a Simple Organic comment (I think!). Just wanted to say that I love your blog and your ideas! I am newly married and haven't made the plunge into meal planning yet. still working on learning to cook. :)

I like making my own stuff like yogurt. This "indian stew" is very tasty and very frugal too: Soups and stews are my favorite as we can use up leftovers and use simple ingredients...and let the spices do the talking instead of fancy ingredients.

I also wrote a blog not too long ago about healthy eating + saving money:


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