Saturday, January 14, 2017

Food Challenge January: Week Two

This week there were no restaurant meals.  That saved a huge amount of money.

Our purchases at the grocery store were also kept to a minimum.  We shopped only a couple of loss leaders that we could also pair up with coupons.  So, we spent an additional $9.70 to buy natural peanut butter, several cans of chunk white tuna (current and stockpile) and a bag each of frozen green beans and broccoli.  Otherwise we were eating from our pantry.

But I did do my monthly salvage grocery shopping.  That ate into the remaining monthly budget to the tune of $ 28.98.
For that I managed to purchase:  SF pudding mix (2); small bag walnuts and pecans; can of kidney beans; can of white kidney beans; Smuckers Natural peanut butter(3 for stockpile); Swanson beef broth; fresh chopped garlic (2); can of red salmon; white Albacore tuna (5 for stockpile); bags of Starbucks(2) and Folgers coffee (3 partial stockpile); tubs of SF frosting (2); Hershey cocoa powder; mayo; hot sauce;Atkins shakes (8).

As noted, some of these goodies will go into my stockpile and last into February or even March, but they are part of this month's budget expenditures.  So, subtract the amount I did.

So, what did we eat this week:  soybean and ham soup; pepper steak with cauliflower rice and chocolate pie; mashed cauliflower, Greek yogurt, and shredded zucchini fritters ( I had a tooth out so soft was the name of the game); creamy Italian chicken, winter squash and cream of asparagus soup; hamburgers with sauteed onion, mushrooms and peppers with winter squash; Swiss steak with blackberries and the odds and ends of leftover vegetables.  Definitely not fancy, but tasty.

So, of our $381.60  allotted to food this month, we have spent $63.18 on restaurant food and $188.00  on groceries.  Our total at about halfway through the month is     $251.18 ($17.94/day).

  For the next seventeen days I have $ 130.43 ($7.67/day) to feed us.  It looks fine if we just stay out of restaurants.

But, I'll get it done because I have a stockpile in my cupboards and freezer.  As the year goes on you will see how it gets used and replenished.  I would be broke without it.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Food Challenge January: Week 1

We are one week into my 2017 cut the cost of eating challenge.  And I am already in trouble, I think.

The government, specifically the Department of Agriculture, keeps track of the cost of eating a nutritious diet.  There are three different levels but I decided to see if I could feed Mike and I at what the government labels the thrifty level.  This is the level upon which SNAP benefits are based.

According to the government, it should cost me $86.20 per week or $12.31 per day to feed us.  That means in January I have $381.61 to cover food eaten at home or away from home.

I think deciding to start a food cost challenge the same time I decided to start a high protein/ low carb diet may not have been my brightest move.

Protein costs money, as we all know.  And we are eating a lot of protein.

And, when we traveled home from D.C. we paid a lot of money to buy that protein.
This diet had better work, or I have really wasted a lot financially.

So, what have I bought:
butter, cheese, eggs, nuts, summer sausage, low carb wraps and bread, almond meal flour, sugar freechocolate and hard candy, flax tortilla chips, vanilla protein powder, psyllium, sweet peppers, blackberries, pickles, soda, heavy cream and dry soy beans.

And what have we eaten:
Wraps, meatza and spinach patties, almond flour chocolate chunks cookies, sugar free pistachio pudding, chef salad, eggs and bacon, omelet, chicken, turkey sandwich on lettuce, ham with asparagus and broccoli, mushu pork with fried green beans and blackberries, soybean and ham soup with grilled cheese.

What have we spent:
Restaurant.    $63.18. ( The D.C. trip and Mike's barstool sailing )
Groceries.       $140.22
TOTAL Week One:     $203.40

Money remaining for the month:  $178.21.

I still have salvage grocery shopping to do next weekend.  But, if I can keep us out of restaurants, we MIGHT just do this.

Fingers crossed.

Saturday, December 31, 2016


A New Year full of possibilities.

12 months to express gratitude.

365 days to reinvent yourself.

Countless hours to fill with creativity.

Endless minutes to learn new things.

Numerous opportunities to feel joy.

Let's not squander it.

December's Simple Savings and Year End Computation

$459.76 was saved this month by using small strategies.

$13,854.39 was saved in total this year with those small strategies.

That is $1,154.53/month on average.

This month the strategies used were:  E-books, free coffee, salvage groceries, thrift store sales, sale foods, Aldi $5 coupons, gas buddy, hotel breakfasts, store sales and Mike's free birthday burger.

What have I learned this year?  That doing small things can add up to big money saved.

And, the opposite is also true.  Small expenses can drain your bank account of a lot of cash.

You decide which you prefer for your future.  I know what side I prefer.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2017 Word For The Year


Of consumerism.  Yes, I will consume, but from thrift stores and of used items.  Help your budget and your planet.

Of purchases.  Don't buy without thinking.  Buy only what is needed, not just what is wanted.

Of relationships.  Take time to cultivate them.  Be sure to honor them.

Of goals.  Make them.  Work towards them. Hopefully meet them.

Of emotions.  Feel them. Control them. Don't dramatize them.

Of gratitude.  For people. For gifts of time and the heart.

Of the moment.  Remember, yesterday is past.  Tomorrow is yet to be. Live in the moment.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2017 Challenge

2017 will be the year of the grocery budget.

I'm challenging myself to keep detailed records of what is spent, what is bought and what is eaten.

I haven't done this in an organized fashion in far too long.  It will be interesting to see how much is really spent feeding the two of us.

The U.S. government says that spending $ 75.80 per week ,   $330 per month or $ 3960  per year is considered thrifty for our family.  I wonder how close I can be and still provide the healthier choices we prefer.

I'll be shopping sales, eating in season foods, trying not to waste, and shopping discount sources when available.

Coupons will be a VERY small part since they don't do those in England.  And, in the U.S. we eat things that rarely have coupons.

I'll be, as usual, cooking the majority of our meals at home, from scratch.

My collection of cost cutting tips and recipes will be dusted off and put to good use.
And, I will be stockpiling sale items to use later when the sales are thinner on the ground.

In fact, January will be a time of using up some of the great deals from November and December.

But over the year it will all even out and I will get an honest view of our food costs, and how it fluctuates from month to month.

Monday, December 26, 2016

43 Years Ago Today

That is when Mike and I had our first date.

He impressed my dad with his ROTC haircut and his knowledge of words in crossword puzzles.

My mom liked him because of his manners.

We didn't do anything fancy.  We sat at McDonald's and talked for hours about whatever came to mind.  At the close of the evening I felt like I had known him for a long time.

Two weeks later I was in love.

It took him quite a bit longer.  :)

Happy Anniversary, Mike.  I'm glad we had that first date.