Thursday, January 31, 2019

2019 Menu Plan

The new Dept of Agriculture thrifty plan numbers are 40 cents per day less than what was allowed in 2018.

That comes out to $146/year less.  Nothing too difficult to deal with.

 I like a challenge and I like beating the numbers.

So, for those reasons, but mainly for health reasons, I am going to try to incorporate more meals with less or no meat.  As we age we just don't need as much.  What's good for us will also be good for our new budget.

So, for meals I will be focusing on:
rice, pasta or potato based
bean based
egg based
low meat

How did we do in January?

Vegetarian     6
Rice, pasta or potato based .   8
Bean     2
Egg .   1, because they are so expensive
Soup.    2
Low meat     4
Regular     8, because sometimes that just happens

Next month I want fewer regular and more of the others.  We will see how it goes.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Broccoli Rice Four Ways

At the beginning of the week I made broccoli and rice for a side dish using peeled broccoli stalks.

We enjoyed it but since I seem to be unable to make a small pot of rice, there were plenty of leftovers.

 So my mind went to how to make it over so it would be eaten and we would enjoy it.

I added some chicken, cheese and cream and made a casserole.  Yum.

The leftovers from the casserole I split in half.

 One half I used to make crepes.

The other half I used with some homemade broth and more peeled stalks to make soup.

Four meals just by using a little creativity.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Celebrating Without Extra Shopping

I serve appetizers on New Year's Eve.  Here is what was on the table this past New Year's Eve:

Cheese ball and crackers
Brie with Apple butter and almonds
Shrimp with cocktail sauce over cream cheese
Shrimp butter and crackers
Shrimp canapes and crackers
 Buffalo chicken dip and crackers
Meg's cheesy things
Potato skins with French onion dip

This was the menu because I had all the ingredients in hand and I had been able to purchase them on sale or when salvage shopping.  I made half recipes of each and estimate my total cost for the evtening to be just about $12.  Not bad for a festive evening.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Frugal Things in December

1.  Sending Christmas cards bought at the end of season sales last year.

2.  Reusing gift bags and tissue paper from last year.

3.  Scaling back Christmas buying to simplify and to better enjoy the season.

4.  Decorating with well loved items and avoiding purchasing new items.

5.  Using our artificial Christmas tree Mike purchased 44 years ago, before we were even married.

6.  Downloading only free books onto my kindle.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Buying and Eating: January 1-15

Under the new thrift plan amount we have $11.91/day for our family of two or $5.95/person/day.  For January that means we have $369.21 to cover all food costs.  We have no cushion as we start the new year.

For January, an effort will be made to eat from our abundant stockpile.

What We Ate:  smoked pork shoulder, sauerkraut, spicy black eyed peas, spiced peaches, pecan pie;  homemade fish and chips, Brussels sprouts, pears; pork fried rice and Chinese onion pancake; leftover appetizers;  Mexican pizza and homemade guacamole;  tuna noodle casserole, peas, homemade rolls; Mongolian beef, stir fry veg and rice;  leftover Mexican pizza and guacamole;  pulled pork, carrot and potato pancakes,steamed broccoli;salmon quiche from freezer, broccoli, baked sweet potato; ham loaf, baked potato, green soy beans; fish with a caper-lemon sauce over stuffing, steamed broccoli;  beef stew from the freezer over pasta with blueberries from the freezer;  couscous casserole from the freezer, mixed vegetables, fruit

What We Bought:

Save a Lot:  salad mix, fresh spinach (2)  $2.77

Vitacost:  almond flour (lb), erythritol sweetener (3lb)  $20.98  low carb is coming back to hopefully deal with the  holiday extras  :)

Giant Eagle:  protein bar  Free with coupon

Costco:  two whole chickens ( 6 pounds each). Originally  $11.70 used an $8 coupon for final cost of $3.70

Total for Groceries:  $27.45

Eating Out:
Lunch with Joyce  $11.21

Total for Eating Out:  $11.21

 Two Week Total:  $38.66

We have $330.55 for the remainder of the month.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

New Year, New Food Budget

The government, in their infinite wisdom, has decided that food costs have gone down so people don't need to budget as much as before!?!

 The thrifty plan, which did allow $12.31 \day for a family of two people our age, or   $6.15\person \day, now allows $11.91\day or $5.95\person \day.

 That is a drop of 40cents\day or 20 cents\person\day.  It doesn't sound like much, but it does add up.

 For the year, we will be working with $146 less.  That might be make or break for some families.

Remember, for us, this covers groceries and meals out.  But, I always like a good challenge.

Let the games begin.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

2018 Buying and Eating Final Numbers

2018 is behind us and here are our numbers.

We were working on a budget of $12.31/ day or $6.50/person/day.  This is the number the government suggests for a thrifty meal plan.  The money had to cover groceries and meals out.

For the year we spent $2222.74 on groceries and $766.64 on meals out.  That breaks down to $$42.75/week on groceries and $14.74/week on meals out.  The combined total is $57.49/week or $8.21/day and $4.11/ person / day, about two thirds of the allotted amount.

We ended up with a cushion of $948.39 of unspent money this year.
Last year's unspent money was $483.08.

Because we have a full freezer and cupboards, I feel comfortable not carrying over this amount into 2019.  Instead, we will start the year with no cushion and build one as we go through the year.

Instead, we will spend the cushion  to help fund the Alaskan cruise we are taking with our children and grandchildren in June.  Now that makes staying under budget worthwhile.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Buying and Eating: December 16-31

For the last two weeks of the month we had $170.45 left of the monthly allotment.

What We Ate:  hotdogs and beans, apple cranberry sauerkraut, cheese bread on rye;  shepherd's pie, cottage cheese and fruit; pizza and chips; leftover smorgasbord; homemade pot pie and salad; Christmas visit to D.C.; Chili and cheese bread; cheese and spinach manicotti; ham and bean soup with homemade breadsticks; turkey in gravy over stuffing, baked sweet potatoes, peas and carrots;  pierogie casserole, mixed vegetables, bananas;  appetizers for New Year's Eve

What We Bought:

Price Rite:  bisquick, bleu cheese dressing, cucumber (2), Buffalo wing sauce, cheese (3)  $8.19

Aldi:  sugar (12#), flour (15#)brown sugar (4#), butter (6#),   $21.31

Aldi:  pretzels (4-33% off), bagels, broccoli crowns (2), raisins, peanuts, almonds ( low carb is coming), maraschino cherries (2), French onion dip (2- cheaper than sour cream), cider ( for vinegar)  $ 22.71

Aldi:  pie crust (2), morello cherries (7), limes (6), avocados (2), gourmet olives (5)  $24.71

Total for Groceries:  $76.92

Eating Out:

Mike lunch  $3.07
Pat's birthday lunch  $24.63
Mike's Birthday dinner. $21.71
Lunch in D.C.  $20.14
Lunch coming home $4.09

Total for Eating Out:  $73.64

Grand Total:  $150.56

To Add To The Cushion:  $19.89

Cushion Total:  $948.39ytd,   $1431.47 over two years