Showing posts with label grocery shopping. Show all posts
Showing posts with label grocery shopping. Show all posts

Friday, October 9, 2015

Do You Want To Join The Once A Month Shopping Challenge?


Do you want to save money? Do you want to shop at the store less?

I know I do! I used to shop only once a month for groceries and I have fallen off the wagon. Sad, but true.

However, my friend Daisy at The Organic Prepper has issued a Once A Month Shopping Challenge! She is challenging fellow bloggers and readers to only shop once a month for the next six months with a little leeway for the holidays. Check her out here to see the rules and what she has planned! 

Yesterday was my grocery shopping day. I got paid on Tuesday, but was a little too busy (and lazy) to run to the store. I knew I would need some cheese, milk, meat, and produce to make through the month. 


I am going to tell you all some things up front so you will know where I am in my grocery shopping and food storage as well as what challenges we have:


1. I have a very full refrigerator right now. Some of the leftovers were ignored and need to be fed to the dog.

2. We are following a more unprocessed, low carb diet for my health. I hope I can get through this month on what we have. Having to eat more protein to keep my energy up has been very eye-opening!

3. Paige is lactose intolerant which really limits what I can use for dairy and substitutes. She drinks lactose-free milk and I use unsweetened almond milk in my baking and some cooking. However, I can see making a run just for milk. She drinks at least a half gallon a week. I bought three half-gallons of Lactaid knowing we had a full one in the fridge already. Dane and I do not like the taste of milk and normally just drink water.

4. I have a very full freezer with at least ten freezer meals in it. I hope to use up some of the older meat this month. I also have a full pantry which needs some using up of the older food.

5. We make almost everything homemade with bread, snacks, and breakfasts being the big ones. We have chickens which means we have a constant source of eggs. 

6. I take cold lunches or leftovers for lunch everyday. Paige takes a cold lunch at least twice a week.

7. We will be gone at least two weekends this month to Rob's place. We still make our own meals, rarely eating out (too expensive), and cook a lot on the grill. One of those weekends, we will be at his sister's house, but again everything will be about the same as if we were at his house.

With that in mind, what did I buy yesterday at the grocery store for the month?

1 - 16 oz. bag each of shredded Mozzarella, Colby Jack, and Sharp Cheddar cheese ($2.99 ea.)
16 oz. container of sour cream ($2.19)
1 - 8 oz. chunk each of Colby Jack and Monterrey Jack cheese ($1.66 ea.)
8 oz. container of sliced mushrooms ($1.99)
1 head of broccoli ($1.48)
1 box of saltine crackers ($1.49) (I have not learned to make these well yet.)
1 box of Go-Gurt for Dane ($2.00)
1 big box of fruit snacks for the kids ($5.99)
2 whole chickens ($.99 a pound - $7.94 total)
1 pound container of sliced ham ($3.99)
2 - 2 pound bags of carrots ($.88 each)
3.17 pounds of pears ($.88 a pound - $2.79 total)
1 box of organic spinach ($2.50)
1 bunch of green onions ($.88)
10 pound bag of russet potatoes ($2.49)
3 pound bag of yellow onions ($.99)
4 pack of mixed bell peppers ($4.99)
3 - 3 pound bags of Jonathan apples ($.99 each - $2.97 total)
2 bottles of reduced sugar grape juice ($.99 each - $1.98 total)
1 - half-gallon of unsweetened almond milk ($2.97)
4 pack of Activa yogurt for Paige ($2.50) (Paige can handle this yogurt.)
1 - 32 oz. container of plain yogurt ($2.99)
3 - half-gallons of Lactaid milk ($3.99 ea.) 

Total spent with tax was $81.69. A lot of this was on sale which is how I determine what I am going to make for meals for the month. 

I still have to make a run for pet food and possibly chicken feed. The kids should not need any personal products and we should be good on household items. 

I also still need to find Dane a Halloween costume. He is outgrowing everything! And, of course, he wants to be the Joker this year. 

In the next few days, I will post what I am making for meals for the month as well as any snack food and breakfast. I am still finalizing some of this due to still evaluating what needs to be used up.

Please join us in The Once A Month Shopping Challenge! I promise you will learn a lot about yourself, your shopping habits, and your family!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Friday, June 26, 2015

10 Preparedness Items You Should Be Buying Every Month


As crazy as it seems, some people make prepping harder than it has to be. Learning skills can be hard, but the end rewards are so worth it. The work can be hard, but the pay off is that jobs get done and you have accomplished something for the future.

However...preppers still need stuff. We can produce a lot of our own things and survive just fine. We still need the items that will make survival easier now and, heaven forbid, if anything bad happens. We need things to keep our lifestyle simpler and easier if something happens.

Over the eight years or so that I have been prepping, I have some things that I buy almost every month. Some months when the budget is tight, I might not purchase any of these. Then I appreciate having these things on hand!

Below is my list of things I buy every month. I don't make one big trip and buy all these things in one trip. I add them to my cart at the grocery store, department store, online shopping, and whatnot. I spend a little bit every shopping trip or online order to spread out the cost over the month. 

10 Preparedness Items You Should Be Buying Every Month

1. Canning lids, rings, and jars. I buy canning lids every month. Without fail. At least 3-4 packs of them. I pick up canning rings and jars when I have more room in the budget. I don't really think you can have too many of these things. 

2. Soap in any form: bar soap, body wash, dish soap, laundry detergent, castile soap, all purpose soap, disinfectant soap, etc. I usually buy at least 2-3 things of soap every month. Castile soap is probably my favorite soap, but I keep a good variety at home. I really don't think one can have too much soap when you have kids, have a garden, and have livestock. Staying clean is a good thing.

3. Toliet paper. Enough said. I really don't want to be without it. 

4. Paper, pens, and pencils. Especially paper. I write a lot down just to remember it. My kids use a fair amount of paper, pens, and pencils for school even though they have computers. We use paper and pencils to draw and to entertain. Paper is important. 

5. Ammo - whether ammo for guns, arrows for bows, refill cartridges for anything else. Really, this can not understated. I also think if you buy a little every month, you might not draw as much attention to yourself. 

6. Food that will store well: salt, rice, beans, honey, spices, etc. Again, enough said. Food is more than important. It is necessary. Learning how to cook long storing food is a necessary skill. We need food and water.

7. First aid items and medicine. I buy ibuprofen and/or naproxen every month as well as 2-3 first aid items every month without fail. I don't want to be without it even though I have plenty of natural remedies on hand too. Something you just need the little pill to take the aches away. 

8. Seeds. I realize you might not be able to find these every month. As soon as they come into the stores, I start buying. I look for seeds that will actually produce food like squash, beans, peas, carrots, etc. I do not buy flower seeds unless they are edible. During the winter, I buy packages of heirloom seeds already packaged in mylar and oxygen absorbers. I have a garden already, but if you don't, please get one started. Gardening is a skill you can't be without.

9. Water. As important as life itself. You need water and liquids to stay hydrated. You and I will not live long without fliuds. Enough said. 

10. Reading materials and reference materials. I think this is underestimated by a lot of people, but a good reference library is necessary. As much as I have learned about everything, I still look up things. IN BOOKS. Whoa. I also keep books for enjoyment and to relieve stress. Maybe someday, the internet might be not as reliable or may be heavily censured. You might just want to have a paper copy of things you want to remember. 

This is my list of things I find necessary to stock up on every month. I find other things necessary to have too, but this list is my buy every month list. Your list might look different and that is okay! 

What do you stock up on every month? 

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

September Grocery Spending

In light of my No Spend September Challenge and my goal to keep my grocery budget under $130, I thought I would share what I spent.

Please keep in mind a few things:
1. I have a fairly decent pantry and food storage area that is fairly well stocked.
2. We do have some dietary needs and try to be dairy-free as possible due to lactose intolerance. We also try to keep processed sugars to a minimum.
3. No meat is bought unless it is under $2.00 a pound and can be stretched over 2-3 meals.

On September 7th, at Sunshine Foods, Chatfield:
(We were having a cookout/campfire with the neighbors at Rob's house. This is not at all normal food for us to buy! I also know that their prices are higher than ours and what I would like to pay!)
1 pkg. Graham Crackers  $2.39
1 pkg. Fudge Striped Cookies  $1.70
1 jar Sweet Relish  $1.73
3 pkgs. Hot Dogs Buns  $4.47
2 pkgs. Hot Dogs  $1.98
4 pounds Peaches  $5.12
2 pounds Apples  $4.08
1 Yellow Onion  $1.13
Garlic Toast  $2.99
1 half-gallon Lactose-Free Milk  $4.55

Total: $30.43

On September 8th, at Aldis:
10 pound Potatoes  $2.99
3 pounds Sweet Potatoes  $1.49
2 pound Pinto Beans (dried)  $1.79
Ricotta Cheese  $1.79
Parmesan Cheese  $2.39
2.15 pounds Bananas  $.95
2 dozen Eggs  $2.90
4 half-gallons Lactose-free Milk  $11.16
1 half-gallon Whole Milk  $1.89
1 half-gallon 2% Milk  $1.79

Total: $29.14

On September 9th, my trip to Fareway included:
Boneless Pork Roast (on sale)  $5.04
10+ pounds of Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts   $19.99
3 pkgs. Shredded Cheese  $4.00
1 qt. Buttermilk  $1.25
1 Mac & Cheese  $.88
1 Lasagna Noodles  $1.89
Celery  $.99
1 pound Carrots  $.69
Cauliflower  $2.99
Garlic Cloves  $.50
1 bottle Soy Sauce  $.98
2 jars Spaghetti Sauce  $1.96
2 pkgs. Organic Sugar  $7.38
15 pounds Pears  $13.27

Coupon Savings: $2.75
Total: $60.07

On September 21st, at Fareway:
1 pkg. Shredded Mozzarella  $2.00
2 pkgs. Turkey Pepperoni (pillow packs)  $6.58

Total: $8.58

Combined Total: $128.22

I did spend an additional $15.00 in groceries that I paid cash for that was not included in the budget because it was extra earned cash. That included: watermelon for a family gathering, bananas, avocados, yogurt starter, and a few other things but I can't find the receipts. I did keep to my allotted monthly budget for September because I did discuss in my original No Spend post that extra earned money was not going to be included in the budget.

I have lowered my budget in October to $100 a month! Yikes! Hopefully, I can keep it!

Thanks for reading!
Erica

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Want to Save Money on Groceries?


I know I have written before on saving money on groceries. As my life has revolved and my beliefs changed a bit, a few things have become clearer. I spend about $250-$300 a month on groceries. I am actually trying to drop that amount to $200 a month because I believe I can. I have a few ways that I have dropped my grocery bill to what it is now and I would love to share those with you.

1. Stop buying the crap. Yes, I said it. Stop buying the processed, pre-made, unhealthy crap for yourself and your family. Stop buying the soda, candy, fruit snacks, potato chips, cookies, crackers, juice, and whatnot. If it is packaged to appeal to kids, don't buy it. If it claims to be low-fat, low-sugar, and healthy for you, don't buy it. I can usually find ways to counter those claims for so-called "healthy" foods and you pay a lot for very little.

2. Eat foods that are created by nature. Most of the time they are cheaper. If they are not cheaper, they are healthier for you and that is worth the cost alone.

3. Eat less meat. Meat is expensive and getting more expensive all the time. Eat some meals without meat. Make meat as an accompaniment to meals and not the main course. Stretch the meat out. If you use a pound of ground beef for something like casseroles, try using three-quarter pound instead. You can also use lentils, beans, or oats to stretch the ground beef out while still eating healthy and getting protein/fiber.

4. Buy in bulk. I am not talking about the 10# cans of vegetables or baked beans. I am talking about flour, oats, chocolate chips, sweeteners, oil, honey, and other baking/cooking staples. Store them in buckets and glass jars. They will last awhile and you will save money.

5. Cook from scratch. I can make a loaf of bread for a quarter of the price of a store-bought loaf. I make my own cakes, cookies, granola, and other baked goods for our household. I buy the ingredients to make my own stir-fries instead of the prepackaged stir-fry kits. I make my own yogurt with very little difficulty and cost. Yes, it may take a little more time, but the savings are totally worth it.

6. Look at the store/off brands. I will usually buy whatever price is the lowest without compromising my eating beliefs. I shop at a lot at Aldi's because their prices are usually cheaper than the local grocery stores and they have started carrying organic goods. I buy a lot of store/generic brand items. Sometimes they may only be a few cents cheaper, but those cents add up!

7. Cut down your grocery trips. Go once a week, bi-weekly, or once a month. The less you shop, the less you spend.

8. Always carry a list and write down the sales. Read the sale flyers and shop from those. Plan your meals around what is on sale and stock up when items are on sale.

9. Shop online. I shop a lot online to save money and get great deals. I use Amazon and Vitacost a lot to get the items we use at a great price! I always, always go for free shipping!

10. If you have multiple grocery stores to shop from, spread the love. If different stores are having great deals, shop at those stores. Some stores, like Fareway, will price match other stores within a reasonable distance. Just don't waste gas driving out of your way to get the deals.

I hope these tips help you on your next shopping trip!

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!
Erica


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Once A Month Grocery Shopping


Do you hate grocery shopping? (Um, yes I do. If you like it, that's ok!)

Do you want to save time and effort? Do you want to save money and be frugal? Would you like to look into your pantry and see all the food you have to make a meal without thinking about it?

Of course you would!

Something I have been doing the last three months is doing my major grocery shopping only once a month. This has been such a blessing to me in the way of freeing up my time, being more organized, and creating less stress. I have been saving money because I am not in the grocery store every week and making impulse purchases every time I am there. I feel good knowing that I have at least a month's worth of groceries at home in case of emergencies.

I usually end with more than a month's worth of groceries because I plan for thirty days of meals, grab and go breakfasts during the week, and breakfast and lunches on the weekends. And y'all? We never eat that much and that often at home. We end up eating at a ball game almost once a week. If I am down to just one kid at home, we eat simpler meals like eggs and toast or leftovers.

Once a month grocery shopping is overwhelming at first unless you plan for it. The first thing I did with my planning is write down all the meals we like to eat. I made a list for lunches and suppers and a list for breakfasts with the thought that these can and will be used interchangeably. I went through my cookbooks and binders and wrote down my list. Some day I will get my list typed and I will share that list with you.

Once I had my lists ready, I made my grocery list. There are several ways one could do this. You can print off a master grocery list and make a list from there. You can make your own master grocery list. I don't use a master grocery list, but I can definitely see the benefit of using one! I start a list almost right after I make my once a month grocery trip. I write down what we ran out of, what we need more of, what I would like to have more on hand of, what I need to stockpile, and so on. Then I add to the list the ingredients for the meals I want to make for the month.

At this point, one would benefit from organizing the grocery list to the layout of the grocery store so one could get through the store faster and more efficiently. I will get to this point some day. Sigh.

Time to go to the store! I try to make this fun because, again, I really dislike grocery shopping. I have brought my children along because extra hands make the work easier, especially if you are shopping at Aldi's. I have brought a friend along and we made it into a girls' night out! One could take their spouse or significant other along and make it into a date night. Having someone else along makes the time go faster and gives me someone to bounce ideas off of.

Most of the time, my once a month grocery trip spans two stores. I like Aldi's because of the money I save there, but they do not carry everything on my list. I usually end up at Fresh Connections, Fareway, or Hy-Vee to finish off the grocery shopping. I know of people who go to Aldi's or the store of their preference and then just order the rest of their groceries online at places like Vitacost or Amazon.

I do usually end up making a small trip to the grocery store in the middle of the month for milk and produce. I will also go back to the grocery store if the store is having a super fabulous special going on and I want to take advantage of the deal. Lately, that hasn't been happening as much.

Once a month grocery shopping does take some planning in other ways. I always try to keep on hand the ingredients to make bars and cakes in case we are called upon to provide bars or a cake. We have gotten very good at making brownies and pumpkin bars from scratch. I also try to keep the ingredients to make a fruit salad in case we need a salad for anything. Keeping those ingredients on hand will keep you from running to the store and will save you money because you will not be using gas and you will be less likely to make impulse purchases while at the store.

Doing the once a month grocery shopping will take a few months to get the hang of it. I actually started this five months, but I struggled the first two months until I got my lists in order and became organized about shopping. I also had to get an understanding of what we used every month in the staples like flour, sugar, rice and oats so I could stay on top always having those things on hand. We make a lot of food from scratch so keeping the staples on hand is extremely important.

My hope is to help you simplify your life and free up your time so you can spend more of it doing things that you love and need to do to survive. I believe once a month grocery shopping is one of these things!

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

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