Sunday, July 29, 2012

Food budget (saving money for vacation)

OK, I know I haven't wrote on this blog in years. My oldest 2 children went to private school last year leaving me homeschooling only one child. I guess I didn't think I was doing anything "new" with her (same things I did with my older two) so I didn't bother to write.  I feel kind of sad leaving this blog get all old and dusty so I'm going to use it for a project I'll be working on for the next two weeks (maybe longer). I'm looking to save some money for a vacation we are going on in the near future so my project is to save money! We ended up with some unexpected car repairs (big ones) that set us back a bit. The first thing I do when I am trying to save money is cut our food cost. We often spend about $90.00-$110.00 a week on food. I can cut our food bill down to $50 a week but when I do that I have to plan in advance. I didn't have time to plan out for that kind of savings so I'm jumping in "real time" and going to plan and stretch the best I can over the next two weeks. I did make a shopping list before food shopping and I stuck to it earlier today (if it wasn't on my list I didn't buy it). I cut out a lot of the "extra junk" that sometimes sneaks into the cart (I shop with 3 kids at my side so extras often sneak in). My kids helped me stick to my list and my oldest picked out the item that cost less on his own several times today (I have amazing kids).

Keep reading the next two weeks to see how far I can stretch $150 of groceries with my family of Five that need to eat 3 meals plus snacks every day.


 Please understand this is a very personal journey for me! I don't like having to plan meals and stretch them so much but I do when I want to save cash. To be honest, I feel a bit uncomfortable letting anyone who might find this blog take such a close look at my dinner plate,peak inside my kitchen cupboards, and get a look at my wallet! I've decided to do it so I can take a look back sometime in the future and the thought that someone might see what works for me and in some way use it to come up with a plan that works for them makes me feel like I have to share (I'll try not to cry if I get nasty comments on the food we're eating this week).


Here is what I have to work with this week. I had very few items left in my fridge, freezer, and food cupboards (blush). The items I have I will use but for the most part I'm working with $151.54 of food. I didn't use coupons at all. I bought everything at Walmart. I think I can stretch this food for 2 and 1/2 or 3 weeks. It HAS to make it 2 weeks. My husband gave me a food budget of $185 for 2 weeks (about $20 less than our normal food budget). On top of that $20 savings have an additional savings of $33.46 by only spending $151.54 of the $185.00 (that's if I don't run out of  food) we will be ahead $53.46 in two weeks.  . If I can stretch it out 3 weeks I'd be saving another $100 we normally spend on food (money can add up quick if I can stay on track, plan, and S T R E T C H out the meals).

 This is a photo of my food purchase (I felt kind of silly snapping a photo of my groceries).

Breakfast foods

2 boxes of cereal (I think we have a box or two already in the cupboard), coffee creamer, syrup, a gallon milk (we have another gallon opened a day or two ago), honeydew, yogurt, grapes, bananas, and pancake mix. 


2 loaves of bread (we have another loaf in the freezer left over from last week), a 24 pack of rolls, a pack of wraps, 5 cans of soup, Nutella,  crackers, 3 packs of Ramen noodles (I never buy them but my son asked today so I gave in), 1/2 pound cheese, 1/2 pound of pepperoni, 1/2 pound of hard salami. (I have lots of peanut butter and jelly on hand).



One whole chicken, 5lbs of beef, 2 ham steaks, and one pack of hot dogs.

I would love to use this meat to make 11 meals.  I don't know I'll be able to stretch it that far for my family of 5 but I'm going to try my best.  I'll let you know. I know I will get at least 6 meals with this but I hope to make it more like 11.

Other dinner items.

Veggies, cucumber, tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, carrots, cabbage, grape tomatoes, fries, and onions (onions didn't make the photo but I did buy them).  I have some potatoes in the cupboard left from last week.


Pasta sauce, Manwich, Hot dog, sauce, bread crumbs, egg noodles, hamburg buns (2 packs), and hot dog buns.

 Snacks.  I hope I can make it 2+ weeks with jello, sugar, butter, popcorn, freeze pops, and animal crackers.   I will also use fruit and yogurt for snacks if the kids don't eat them all up for breakfast. 

Here I go with my new food stretching adventure Meal #1

Dinner #1.  Hubby was at work and it was late when the kids and I got home from shopping so we  had quick and easy sandwiches for dinner.   My youngest had Nuttela on a wrap with a slice of cheese.  My middle child had toasted PB&J with a slice of cheese, My son and I had pepperoni and cheese on sandwich rolls.  Pretzels (we had an open bag on hand), carrot sticks, fresh pineapple (I had over 1/2 a pineapple in my fridge from last week), and glasses of water finished off the meal.  End of my first day and I didn't dip into our dinner meats yet (I'm sure that will help stretch my meals to go a bit further).


I didn't want to buy the kids candy at the register so I told the kids we could bake cookies at home after dinner instead of candy (they loved this idea and saved myself $3).   I had a cookie mix in the back of the cupboard.  I made up 30 cookies with it.  30 cookies for a family of 5 gives each person 3 snacks this week (serving size 2 cookies each).    I gave the kids 2 cookies each after dinner.  I wrapped up the rest for tomorrow.  

 My husband came home around midnight and had 3 burritos that were left over in the freezer from last week.  I'll be back tomorrow night to share how I managed the meals for the day.

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