Monday, August 8, 2011

Tackling the Grocery Store

With grocery list in hand, $50 budget in mind, a sheet full of recipe's that will last till August 15th, and my sweet 9-month old in tow, we headed to the grocery store this morning.

It took me quite a bit longer than normal trying to find all the good deals and writing down everything along the way.  By the end Kinley was crying and ready to go home

Here's the meal plan for the next 8 days: ( I'll share the recipes, where I found them, and how they turn out at a later time)

Cheerios & Bran Muffins

Leftovers from the previous days' dinners
Egg Sandwhiches

Monday - Fried Rice w/ Chicken
Tuesday - Spaghetti w/ Green Beans
Wednesday - Pasta w/ Peas
Thursday - Poorman's meal (don't laugh, this is really what it's called)
Friday - Breakfast Taco's w/ Black Beans
Saturday - Frank & Bean Soup
Sunday - Black Beans & Rice
Monday - Freebee - I'm hoping we'll have leftovers at some point which will either bump the schedule back a day, or we'll have peanut butter sandwhiches

Kinley's meals
She's eating mostly pureed baby food at this point and I'm making it myself which saves a TON of money and she's eating things I can't always find in the jars.  Plus it's all real - no preservatives.   This week she's eating peas, green beans, sweet potatoes, zucchinni (all of which I've already made) as well as bananas, apples, avocado, broccoli, and peaches (these items I purchased today).

Take a look at my loot = )

I also had several ingredients I'll be needing this week already at home.

All-in-all, I spent $58.72.  I'm not going to lie, I was pretty bummed.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time tallying up my costs, looking on the bottom shelves for the cheap off-brand of every item I could find and still went over budget.  BOO!

I did however find a great deal on chicken, which wasn't on my original grocery list, so this cost money now, but will save me later.  My hope is that some of the other ingredients I purchased will be able to stretch into next week too.

My complete grocery list and pricing is layed out here

Things I learned
1)  Always go to the store with a list and stick to it.  Only exception is if you have wiggle room and find a great deal that will help you later.  Or if you have a wiggle room combined with a sweet tooth - I mean you've got to keep your sanity =P
2)  Always always check the unit cost...sometimes bigger isn't cheaper on a per-unit cost-basis.  At my grocery store (HEB) they'll list the unit price for you, but be careful, I've found that it's not always right!
3)  Potatoes and Onions may be my new best friends.  They are cheap and go a long way to thicken up lots of recipes and add flavor.  Sidenote - buy bulk when you can of these items...I compared a 5 lb bag of russet potatoes...about 10 smallish size potatoes ($ 2.47) to 3 large baking potatoes ($3.50ish).  Also did the same thing for the onions.  A 3lb bag of 7 medium white onions was $2.21, this compared to 5 larger onions ($3.20ish)
4)  Making your own bread is really cheap.   Flour + Water + yeast ( $0.78 for 3 packs) - now let's just see if my bread actually turns out!
5) Stick to what's in season - because it's MUCH cheaper and actually will taste better.  (Ever seen what the strawberries look like in the middle of winter...pathetic and $3 or $4 for a carton!).  Today I found red and green bell peppers as well as peaches for super cheap! 

Hope you're not completely bored at this point!  I'll fill you in on all the recipes next!

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