***This is exactly what I am looking for! I want to know HOW you manage, what is important to you, what you splurge on. Where you go. What is made homemade. What you avoid.
Thanks sooo much Lisa! Email me your lists and I will post them! Please.
Wow....there is alot to say about this subject. I have been very interested in this myself lately and have been drawn to books on nutrition, saving money on the grocery bill and frugal living. It seems that in the past, I have been somewhat careless and extravagant with the grocery budget. That has lead to the security of an overflowing pantry, but an uneasiness about wasting time, money and food.......you know; cleaning out the pantry and tossing expired packages of food. That is an awful, guilty feeling. When I met my husband over 7 years ago, his frugal habits were in direct contrast with my wasteful habits. I was a single Mom at the time struggling to get by on a paramedic's salary.....in no postion to be so careless but not knowing how to change it. On the run all the time and eating too much junk.
Slowly, my husband's frugality began to work it's way into my lifestyle.............I learned to budget and plan meals.......cook once for two or three meals and freeze for later. What a difference it has made. We were spending over $200.00 a week (yes............a week) and not eating as well as we do now for about $75.00 or less per week. We are trying to
to reduce this further. This is for a family of four and inludes take to work and school meals. About once a week my oldest son who lives on his own eats with us and then we stretch to a family of 5.
We do have a well stocked pantry and that helps....stockpiling sale items helps tremendously...........so here is a basic rundown of what we buy in a week and what we pay.
Milk $1.99 at Aldi (We typically drink fat free.........we converted from 2%...took some time but now it's not even noticable) This Aldi bargain has been going on for a couple of months.
Bread.....between .80 and 1.65 per loaf.....we always buy on sale, we always stockpile and freeze (double wrap in grocery bags) and we only eat whole wheat with at least 2gr of fiber per slice. I have never had a problem with the way the bread thaws in the fridge...it's fluffy and good. I also use the breadmaker once or twice a month. We use a large package of whole wheat tortillas every week and buy at any price.
Meats.....Sales again....ground round $1.99 a lb. We buy in bulk...I cook it all till almost totally brown (perhaps a little pink for later additional cooking) package it flat in freezer bags and save tons of time on bus nights for the last minute dinner rush. I buy 3-4 bags of chicken breasts (frozen) that I cook in the crockpot. I also buy fresh chicken breasts on sale and other sale meats...in bulk...ham, turkey and pork.
Produce......this spring I plan to plant a garden for peppers, tomatoes and also a salsa and herb garden. The rest of the year I again buy on sale in bulk. Walmart has good produce that is really affordable. Sometimes Green Peppers are .50. I buy about 10 or 12 and dice some and slice some and freeze. Same with onions.
I cheat and buy bagged salad for everyday when it is on sale.
I buy fresh fruit on sale and I buy frozen strawberries and peaches in big bags at Aldi for a lot less than the grocery store price. I keep that and yogurt on hand for fruit smoothies.
I buy very little convenience food. No cookies, no pop, no poptarts, no chips (my weakness). If we want cookies, I bake. We do keep a couple of frozen pizzas on hand for my teenage son and his football friends that hang out here and my husband LOVES frozen waffles from Aldi. $!.00 a box.
Peanut Butter....lots of PB whatever name brand is on sale.
Apples.....every day, on sale or not and bananas on sale or not.
We buy tons of canned tomatoes and tomato sauce.....I never use jarred tomato sauce.
I make my own salsa and pico de gallo when fresh tomatoes are on sale.
I make my own fajita and taco seasonings and hot cocoa.
We keep bottled water on hand for guests, we stockpile when Strack offers it 3 cases of 24 for 10 dollars....but we only have it for guests and emergencies. We fill our thermoses with ice and tap water when we leave the house.
Ultra often has great cheese sales and my hubby gets that......so I don't even ask him the price......he's the really frugal guy........we cut that into slices that we can grab and go. On the run, we pack out thermoses or water, cheese and nuts to snack on and we try not to eat out....but we do give in about 2x a month.
I do splurge on the following items without regret and often..... greek yogurt or Dannon All Natural Lowfat Vanilla Yogurt ($2-3.00 for 32 oz.), clementines ($4 to 8.00 for 5 lbs) Ground Flax seed meal (add in smoothies and baking.....so good and good for you) and Bob's Red Mill specialty flours..especially the whole wheat pastry flour which makes the best pancakes. Also, craisins and good raisins we buy at regular price unless we get lucky and find them on sale.
We also buy two to three cannisters of oatmeal at aldi each month for oatmeal cereal and for baking.
Frozen veggies are usually on sale and we keep lots of them on hand. $1.00 or less per bag.
We buy cold cereal only on sale ($2.00 per box) and then I make some yummy cereal blends. No sugary cereals...no Cinnamon Toast Crunch, no Fruit Loops.
We bought 5 bags of fresh cranberries after Christmas and froze them for later use....I use them for homemade cranberries sauce and pancakes, muffins. We buy blueberries in the summer and freeze for the same.
We do have a soup, salad and bread night 2x a month.
We also have a tradition we began last year of a homemade pancake breakfast every weekend...........I try a new scratch recipe every time.......Gingerbread is the favorite so far. This saves us the trips to IHOP and gives us family time guaranteed.........even my soon-to-graduate and always on the go son is there for that. I make a triple batch and freeze them, and make some into PB sandwiches for the hubby to eat for breakfast on the way to work.
We have a family movie night every week on Sun. or Mon....and we eat snacks, salads and popcorn for dinner........it always ends up being enough!
We purchase a good majority of our food from Aldi and Ultra...........but there are foods I never buy from Aldi.......produce, bread and nuts.
Another money saver..............when eggs are on sale...........we buy about 7 dozen and I buy very affordable tortillas and make and freeze breakfast burritos.........easy, good and great for on the run meals.
I am not perfect about sticking to this.....I do my best. I am so much better at planning than I used to be. We throw out very little food. I am please with the changes I have made.......but mostly it is because I have had to get creative, do some research and learn to respect my husband's frugality as wise and wonderful tool.