Thursday, July 1, 2010

Stretching Groceries

First I wanted to post a good link to go to on how to make chicken and roast stretch. This is a blog owned by a friend of mine, Dana. She has a nice blog so go check it out!

It's that time of year again where we have to be very inventive and make things stretch. We had a chunk of our savings taken up when we bought replacement cabinets for our kitchen. They are used but in very good, like new shape. We have been needing those for quite some time. Hopefully we can begin installing some soon. Right now James is jacking the floor up to make it level, thus easier to install the cabinets. We did debate on whether purchasing the cabinets was a good decision and we decided it was. I still think it was but now we much be very careful in stretching our dollars. This has always been challenging. James does very well in working to supply all of our needs in our family. Still, with today's standards we'd be considered low income, especially with us being a large family. I count it a blessing, YES A BLESSING, to stretch our money. Even with what James makes we still give the Lord what is His and give on top of that toward missions. We try to be giving toward others in our work as well. I think the Lord has blessed us. He's also blessed me with the knowledge to make things stretch. Sure, I oftentimes make mistakes and get tired (lazy) and don't do as well as I should. I strive to get up every day and do better than before. This is my heart's desire, to share with you my current journey in this.

So, here we are! A week into our grocery budget month. James gets paid every two weeks and so I consider our month to be in four week increments. So far we have spent $502.30 and I plan on not spending more than $550.00 total. This is for ALL groceries, food and paper, cleaners and diapers. We have three weeks left and $47.70 to go! We are quite stocked though. I am projecting just needing milk, bananas, lettuce and maybe some more diapers. I am trying to use more cloth diapers again. :) Then if I feel there will be enough left, I'll be buying a bit of coffee. I don't drink as much as I used to but I still enjoy a cup here and there.

I stick with the pantry method in our menu planning and cooking. I usually buy cases of things from Aldi to keep the pantry stocked but sometimes I'll just buy a certain amount to have enough in the budget. This past shopping trip I needed a case each of vegetable soup, chicken and rice soup, chicken noodle, and cream of chicken. With needing so many soups, I decided to buy only 5 cans of the cream of chicken. Next month I will probably buy a whole case to stock again. I buy a case of tomato paste and tomatoes usually except in the summer months I can skip the tomatoes if our plants are doing well. I try to buy our meat while on sale-- all chicken for under $1 a pound and all beef and pork for under $2.25 pound. Pork is a treat in our house.

I buy a lot of pasta, rice, flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, white sugar, butter/margarine, oil, etc. as well to make many things from scratch. While we do primarily eat from scratch, I do splurge on a few snack cakes and chips. Those go way up so only the big ones can reach them and I monitor this closely. We are a normal family and we aren't fuddy duddies when it comes to normal eating. I like healthy but I use that tool just like any other-- I rule it and it does not rule me. :)

So what do we eat? Here is today's menu. I hope to share more of what we eat and how we stay under our budget.

Breakfast: This started out interesting. We've been drinking a lot of banana or strawberry milkshakes but I was out of either of those fruits. I did have blueberries though. So I attempted to make blueberry milkshakes. Since hubby and I were the first ones up, we were the guinea pigs. The party stopped there. Ha! That's what we had but I made a pig pot of cheese grits for the children. Lucky them.

Lunch: Before you know what we had, can you guess? It's a classic frugal meal which includes pasta. Next clue, it usually has a cream of soup in it. Next clue, it has a fish in it. Yes, that's right! Tuna casserole was our lunch. I tore up two leftover hot dogs buns from a few days ago on top for a tasty bread topping. The buns did not go to waste! I like sprinkling garlic powder on top or if we have leftover garlic bread, it's very tasty on this casserole. I had a small side salad with mine as well. I bought a lot of tuna last month for .41 each. So we will be having a few meals of tuna salad and tuna casserole.

Supper: I am trying to stretch our meat. I bought some chicken breasts for .89/pound. It's a 5.16 pound pack and I hope to get two meals out of this. Tonight we are having chicken and rice. I may add some browned breakfast sausage to this as well. We were blessed with some free sweet potatoes so I plan on making a sweet potato casserole. We have black eyed peas from the garden, so that's free! This meal in all would come to no more than $4.75. This is a hearty meal and would feed our large family of nine! Oh, and almost best of all...we have a watermelon chilling in the 'fridge that was given to us as well. God is so good.

I am thinking that this whole day, complete with beverages would come to under $10, to feed a family of nine! This is including the two sandwiches I packed for James' lunch. Yay! Hmmmm, now what to do with the rest of the chicken breast? I may do a chicken and rice casserole or something. :)

Hopefully I can share what I will be doing to stretch our groceries in this fun, frugal journey. I hope that I can be an encouragement for you to see how you can stretch you groceries as well.


Kate said...

Great post! I like to think of stretching a dollar as a game or a challenge. I try to look at it as fun rather than a burden :)

Dana said...

Hey Susan!!
Thanks for mentioning me in your post!! To be totally honest I have learned alot from you over the years, you have always been very helpfull when ever I had a question about anything homemaking!!

Have a great day!!