|This week's Kroger trip included a rare ice cream splurge (on sale), grass-fed |
organic beef on Manager's Special (only $4.16 after my coupon!) and a package
of $.99 cilantro. I had a $.70/2 coupon for the Kroger cheese, making it $1.53 ea.
Last week I stocked up at our local bulk foods store and paid the farmer for our monthly herd share of raw, pastured milk. (We pay $11/week for milk, that I also use to make 2 qts. of yogurt.) That being said, the grocery budget is getting pretty tight and the month isn't even close to being over!
If you find yourself in a place where you are trying to drastically cut your grocery bill for a period of time, my best advice is to shop at home first. Take a complete inventory of your freezer, fridge and pantry and see what you have to work with in your menu planning. A can of diced tomatoes, a couple boxes of pasta, frozen broccoli, a package of pork chops, a can of tuna...write it ALL down. Now is the time to be creative! Head over to Pinterest or All Recipes and type in a few of your random ingredients as a search. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you can make with what you already have.
I remember early in our marriage, long before kids and in the height of my couponing days, we had one extremely tight week where I was forced to plan a week's worth of healthy meals with only the $20 bill in my wallet. It was challenging, and required careful planning, but I did it with a few cents to spare! By starting with the things you already have buried in the back of the freezer and those random odds and ends in the pantry, you too can build a simple and inexpensive menu.
I have recently begun listing the contents of my upright freezer in dry erase marker on the door. It wipes off easily and allows me to know exactly what I have available for meals. As I use things up, I simply erase them.
We went in with some friends last year to purchase a side of grass-fed, organic beef from our local farmer and I am still in the process of using it up. Buying in bulk can really save you money--providing you use things up in a timely fashion and don't let them go to waste.
I planned this week's menu using quite a few things I already had in the freezer and pantry. I was able to spend about 50% less than I typically do at the grocery store (which offsets the crazy amount I spent last week!).
In the menu below, I will use an asterisk (*) to note the items that I already had on hand. Recipe links are in BLUE.
Steel Cut Oats* x2
GF Double Chocolate Banana Muffins
Spelt Pumpkin* Waffles (not GF) & Nitrate-free Bacon*
Banana, Blueberry*, Spinach* & Yogurt* Smoothies x2
Easy Cinnamon Granola & Oranges
Applegate Farms Organic Beef Hotdogs* w/Sugar Snap Peas & Apples*
Personal Pizzas w/Spelt Pizza Crust* (not GF), Spinach* Salad & Oranges*
Cheese Nachos w/Raw Carrots & Grapes
PB* & Honey* on Homemade Spelt* Bread (not GF) w/Celery* & Raspberries*
Annie's Homegrown GF Mac-n-Cheese* w/Broccoli & Homemade Applesauce*
Steak* Burrito Bowls w/Cilantro Lime Brown Rice*
Roasted Turkey Breast*
Butternut Squash* Casserole
Beef* Stew w/Potatoes* & CarrotsGF Cornbread*
Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce*
Quinoa* & Sausage* Stuffed Peppers
Raw Nut Butter* Cups
GF Almond Flour Brownies--sub zucchini* for butter & eggs