December 16, 2013

Monday Meal Plan~ Week 14 *Bonus post*

Now we have the wood stove installed cooking is a bit more consistent . If you have any meal ideas for us, leave them in the comments!

Things to Remember 

 I try to post as much info as time allows, but if you have a specific question, please ask.. I will be happy to answer. Don't forget to choose the option to receive notifications to posts when you comment.. otherwise you may never know I answered! :)

I try to do bulk shopping once a month a fill in weekly as needed, although lately we have been doing more weekly shopping.  We do a pantry build, so we tend to buy large quantities of basic food items. This is not just because we have a large family, although it helps, but this method also works great for smaller families and even single people. I like to shop sale/clearance items. I rarely use coupons. I will also include here random non-food grocery items, as I do include that in our budget. We shop for ingredients, not meals. This saves money and we eat a bit better I think.

Our Meal Plan
* Snacks are usually cheese and crackers, pretzels, fruit/veggies, or fresh baked goods
*Sundays we fast one meal, the littles usually snack since they do not fast. ( its optional for everyone)
*We do have a small supplement of food from our homestead and friends. Although, its not a lot.

Our weekly menu is brought to you by Quinten, who is officially in charge of planning and preparing the majority of the family meals.

So how does this all work? 
I didn't get a menu written up  this week. Instead I will post a bit about how we put the shopping and menu into action. 

Long Story Short

In 2006 we moved from Texas to Maine. The cost of living increased by 30%. My income stayed the same. I was also pregnant with my 6th child. Our food bill at the time was running us about $700. And we were scraping by on food. I sought the council of a friend who is the Mega Coupon Queen. VIA online, she taught me the ropes. I was able to reduce the budget and increase what we bought. It was a HUGE blessing to our family. By year two, I was a certified Mega Coupon Queen. I think I saved $15k that year... yes SAVED! I not only was feeding my family, but we had about 6 months of food and enough hygiene products, I literally went two years without paying for toothpaste. You can see a sample post of my coupon deals here... and some savings logs here, to see what we were spending. 

I recall one day,  I came home and was proud of the deals I had made. My husband asked, "Great, but where is the food".  I was holding about 20 boxes of poptarts! It broke my spirits, but looking back, we had so much processed "junk" food, we were eating cheap, but not all that healthy. It took me a while to get it all worked out, but we have transitioned our diet, eliminated most coupons, and still maintain a budget. 

The first thing I did was find alternative meals. How can we eat healthy, for less. We incorporated more beans into our diet. Being a vegetarian for 16 years, I was accustomed to vegetarian meals, but I was a "lazy vegetarian" I usually made traditional meals with the "fake meat" substitutes.. and they aren't cheap ( and not all that god for you". I then began to try to cook from scratch ( HUGE CHALLENGE!!!) I do not like cooking and I was/am not all the good at it. Fortunately, my husband is! It was a learning process for all of us. But more and more we were buying ingredients instead of prepackaged meals. 

We also found alternative ways to shop. One of which was the salvage food stores. (sidenote, last summer I wrote a lengthy blog on shopping at salvage food stores and the internet ate it.... I have never had the ambition to rewrite it, maybe I will work on that) Most of the food is slightly damaged, just recently past the sell by dates, or in many cases, merely discontinued items. As I posted in the shopping list, you can find some amazing deals. This peanut butter line has a new label. We got these for .50 each. Over the past 6? months, we have probably bought about 200 of them for .50 each. HUGE savings. I would suggest you find one in your area. They are more common than most people think.

We make meals from the basic ingredients we buy. Having a food pantry like this makes cooking very versatile. And so much healthier. We received a box of prepacked foods ( hamburger helper, rice a roni) this week and reading the labels made me cringe. It was more like a chemistry book. We do still consume processed foods, but we are cautious of what we buy, and try to limit what we can. It is becoming easier and easier to move away from boxed meals, processed food and eat a simple back to basics diet. 

Shopping List
(prices are for each, unless noted )

Kroger 6.77 17.58 
22 yogurt .40
4.69 lbs bananas .59lb
1 pk diapers 5.49
3.81lbs bananas .38lb
3 boxes granola $1.39
2 boxes candy canes $1
5 bag flour 1.67
1 loaf sourdough bread $1.29
1pk wipes $1
14  loaves bread .79
50# bag dog food $17.29
4 bags pretzels $1.25
2 6pk ramen $1.09
2 boxes graham crackers $1.64
2 lbs butter 2.50
2 pkg slice cheese $2.49
2 pkg pickle loaf $1.29
3 pkg margarine .75
1 pkg cookies $1.99
1 pkg bakers chocolate coating $3.19
4.92lbs tomatoes .99lb
2 2lb bags brown sugar $2
1 pkg cat treats FREE
7 cans tuna .69
1 pkg mushrooms $1.69
2 3lb bags appples $2.49
2 cantaloupe $1.50
6 cucumbers .69 ea
1 celery $1.69
4 jars jelly $1.72

Salvage Store
12 pkg tortilla wraps .25
100 granola bars .10
80 jars of peanut butter .50
21 cans spaghetti sauce .50
4 box pack graham crackers $4.50
4 packs hot dogs .50
5 jerky sticks .45
15 1#boxes pasta .75
2 juice jugs $1.50
2 packs gum .40
2 jars mayo .65
4 pkg corn nuts .45
6 candy bars .25
2 cans ravioli .50 
1 4pk scrubbers $1.50 
1 pk corn tortillas .50
2 pie crusts $1
3 cans condensed milk .75
4 lg cans enchilada sauce $1.25

Sharpener .97
2 cans hot coco mix 2.48
Gorilla Glue $3.97
3 quarts oil $2.74
1 roll duct tape $5.77
2.15 lbs broccoli $3.40 

Dollar Tree 
coloring book
2 pks candy canes 
1 3pk socks 
box kitchen matches
1 2pk scrubbers
1 pk kids cups
1 box crayons
1 box sandwich bags
2 bottles lemon juice
1 cheese dip
1 bag chips
1 box thin mints
1 box cherries
1 scrub brush
2 3pks D batteries
1 box push pins
1 book light
1 drink cup

Total week spending $291.95 Total month spending (Dec) $422.81  Total year spending (9/8/13) $2902.54

*If for some reason you think we aren't eating right, then no worries, just move along. I assure you my family is extremely healthy and our diet sustains my very energetic free range children.

1 comment:

  1. I must find a salvage store near me! those prices are awesome!


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