See? My bare refrigerator. Yikes! This was taken late night the day before the "Big Haul." Since I had meal planned for the week, we were living on what was left in our cupboards. But any Mom will tell you, by this point you are getting super creative with meals. I did make an inventory of what items we had left in our freezer and small deep freezer. So with that being said, let's start with my break down of everything!
1. Inventory on Hand
7 pounds of Chicken Thighs
2 Smoke Sausage
8 pounds of ground deer meat
3 quarts of strawberries, picked this summer and froze
1 large beef bone, for broth
2 pork chops, about 2 pounds
1 huge filet of salmon
2 pints jar of homemade strawberry freezer jam
2 12 ounce bags of frozen green beans
1 12 ounce bag of frozen Brussels sprouts
2 quart bags of frozen spaghetti squash
1 gallon bag of shredded sweet potatoes
1/2 pound of rice
I had still on hand all my Almond flour, Coconut flour, Coconut oil, gelatin, etc. As far as canned goods, I had tuna fish, beets, chick peas. As you can see the refrigerator was slim pickings! Still had a half a dozen eggs, some grapes, coconut milk, cheese sticks, butter and condiments.
2. The Grocery List (my hand hurt after making it!)
As I said in my prior post, I check the local ads. This was the first time I had to really do my major homework, comparing prices, weights and unit prices. I also had a blank calendar next to me and plugged in meal ideas, my recipe book, and looked up recipes online. But we pretty much know what we like and do not like, so it was not that difficult. I used one of our Composition books and made a list on each page according to the store. I wrote the amount I needed and the price and then the totals. That way I kind of knew where my budget was. REMEMBER I ONLY TOOK $440 with me.
Our little village has a grocery store. Normally we only shop there if we run out of milk etc. However, they were having the best sale around on meat. Plus the meat is from a local source. The were also having a great 10 for $10 sale, which included paper towels.
12 Paper Towel rolls(they only had 7 left, I was not the only one who was digging the bargain!) So, 7 paper towels, 2 pkg. of pepperoni, 4 boxes of instant mac n cheese (kids and hubby are not fully on my gluten free/Paleo eating, yet!) 2 cans of biscuits, 4lb Chuck roast @ $3.49 a pound, 10 pound of ground beef @ $2.99 a pound, 12 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts @ @1.79 a pound
Here is where I used a price list I googled. Some of the prices were spot on, but some were lower.
1 bag of Pretzels, 2 bags of regular chips, 1 bag of Tortilla chips, 1 jar of peanut butter, 1 jar of almond butter, 3 boxes of cereal, 1 10 pack box of Oatmeal, 4 Applesauce cups with 6 per a pack, 1 corn bread, 4 cream cheese, 1 1/2 gallon Almond milk, 4 packages of bacon, 4 bags of bagels, 2 boxes of Taco shells, 2 20 ct. flour tortillas, 1 3 pound bag of rice, 1 bag of Gluten free penne pasta, 2 bags of gluten free spaghetti noodles, 1 box of regular penne pasta, 1 bag of Spinach, 1 cottage cheese, 8 blocks of cheese, 10 loaves of bread, 6 gallons of milk (it was the cheapest at $1.69 a gallon) 2 cans of black beans, 4 cans of kidney beans, 12 cans of corn, 12 cans of green beans, 2 cans of mixed veggies, 4 cans of pineapple, and about 6 1/2 pounds of Bananas
1 box of 12 cans of organic tomato sauce, 1 6 pound bag of Italian meatballs, 1 butter (4) 1 pound sticks, 1 bag of Frigo Cheese sticks, 1 liter of Natural Maple syrup, 1 box of 100% Natural juice boxes, 36 count, Laundry Soap(normally 13.99 was on sale for $2.00 off) 1 dish soap (normally $7.99, on sale for $2.00 off) Toilet paper, Cat food, 4 dozen organic eggs
Store #4-Ciolinos Fruit/Veggie market, a.k.a My happy place
2 10 pound bags of Potatoes, 1 10lb. bag of Red Delicious apples, 2.45 pounds of zucchini, 7.85 pound cabbage, 2 jumbo cauliflowers, 2 pkg. of 4 each red, orange, yellow sweet peppers, 3 pkg. of mushrooms, 3 large cucumbers, 3 pound bag of grapes, Romaine lettuce 2 pack, 2 bunches of green onions, 3 limes, 1 Pomegranate, 2 large green peppers, 2 3 pound bag of carrots. Total here: $34.21
Again another place that has 10 for $10. We also love their manager's specials on meat. We have found some awesome deals. We just use it or freeze it right away.
2 Ekrich Bologna, 2 Ekrich hot dogs (again not my choice, and we normally do NOT buy it) 1 sour cream, I had a coupon for this, and it was on sale, so I paid .85 for it. 12 6 ounce yogurts( on sale) 2 pkg of 2 lb. lunch meat, 4 pkg of corned beef lunch meat. I also had two coupons for 1 free 4 to 6 ounce toothpaste, and 1 free tub of lunch meat. Total: $21.99
Had a sale on Pork loins, in which I ended up getting 14 chops out of and about 2 lbs of extra meat. Pork loin was 7.82 pounds. I also did a "No-No" I got caught up in the Halloween mood and bought the kids a package of Halloween Oreos on sale for $2.79.
Store #7 Dollar Tree-Everything is only $1
2 boxes of Lasagna Noodles, 1 jar of minced garlic, 2 cans of coconut milk, 4 8x8 pans, 1 box of Quart baggies, 1 box of Gallon bags, 1 shampoo, 1 conditioner, 1 package of maxi pads.
Store #8-Dollar General
1 can of Parmesan cheese, 1 bag of dark chocolate chips, and I added 2 more boxes of Gallon bags.
The last four stores were all with in the same area. So my final total when all was said and done was...
Now do I think this will be the same every month, no. I am shooting for next month to be about $350. Some of the things I bought at Costco will last us about 2 to 3 months.(i.e. laundry soap, dish soap, cat food) Plus this leads me into how I utilized all of our goodies into batch and freezer meals. It is my hope that we may have a few things left over when the next big haul comes. Here is what I batched cooked.
Meals:Batched and Frozen too!2 dozen muffin tin Omelet cups
3 dozen banana, almond butter, chocolate bites
1 1/2 dozen Paleo Banana Chocolate chip bars
14 pork loin chops (2 meals)
2 lbs. of pork, which I cubed
4 lbs. of Taco meat
2 meals of Chili
8 Chicken Alfredo veggie lasagna roll-ups
1 Gallon bag of chicken stock
1 Roast with vegetables
2 meals of Chicken Fajitas
1 meal of Potato soup
1 meal of Chicken and Wild Rice soup
2 trays of Mac-n- cheese
2 meals of Pigs in a Blanket, or Stuffed Cabbage
1 Gallon bag of chopped cabbage, will use for soups, or some kind of meal
3 or 4 meals with the 6lb. bag of meatballs
1 meal of Crock pot Cilantro Chicken
2 lbs of Tuna, for sandwiches, salads, of patties
24 individual Pepperoni Bagel Pizzas
2 meals of homemade chicken nuggets
1 meal of chicken chunks
Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes
18 Cinnamon French Toast sticks
1 meal of Bake Potato bar
1 meal of Bacon and Cinnamon Monkey Bread (I will eat eggs)
2 quarts of chopped carrots, for soups, side veggie, snacks
1 meal of Grilled Middle Eastern Chicken breast
Now for breakfast and lunches I will do cereal, eggs, smoothies, oatmeal, etc. Lunches we will use up the lunch meat first. My kids love when I make rolled up meat and cheese in a tortilla, or even Quesadillas. Also, every so many days, lunches will be left overs too. You can also see on one of the Saturdays, I put "O.Y.O" meaning On Your Own. Pretty much find something. I just used my Chalk board calendar and separated the days into Breakfast, Lunch and Dinners. I also designated certain days of the week as always a theme. Wednesdays: Breakfast Night, Fridays: Fiesta Fridays, Saturdays: Soup
I also listed up at the the top in the blank space ideas for snacks. The kids and Deputy Dog love popcorn, so that is always a inexpensive snack, plus they love to use the air popper.
Since the way Deputy Dog's pay period falls, we are shooting for not having to do the next haul until October 23. There are some a day or two when we will not be at home for lunch, so that also gives me and extra meal. We have also decided since my big shopping day is so hectic, that will be the day we get a treat and have a meal out. This is within a budget of course.
This is just my first time. As I said before I hope to get the budget for our family of five down to around $350 or less a month. I look forward to the challenge!