Category: Goal Setting


July has come to a close. It’s a good thing because the grocery money allotted for the month has been spent. We weren’t perfect but did pretty well.

A trip to Aldi for $21.67

to Giant at $21.85,

and Target at $23.12 – $4.00 for clothing or $19.13,

and with $4 spent on corn on the cob and cantaloupe at a local produce stand,

the month rounds out at exactly $14.48 over budget. Not too shabby. I can only imagine what it would have been without diligence and planning. Hopefully we’ll hit closer to the mark next month.

Some may argue the point about wasting gas to get to multiple stores. This is not the case in this instance. I started out at a haircut appointment and worked my way back home not deviating from the same road the entire trip. It was very convenient and cost effective, allowing me to visit multiple stores and get the best deals at each, making the most of my money. While doing so I scored a nice top at Target for $4 by pairing a sale with a coupon and a free pack of ballpoint pens using a store coupon. Aldi has many items that are just as good as name brand for a fraction of the price, including some quick lunch options my daughter requested, and Giant was having a great sale on the meat for a couple of special meals that were requested. I hope to do even better next month and can’t wait to try.

Whatever reasons we have to try to save money, whether it be to have more to save or invest, have more to give, or to have more to pay down debt, it’s always smart to let someone in on your plan, to help keep you accountable. Of course first you need a plan. Thank you for sharing in my goals by following along with these posts and keeping me honest.

How do you stick to your money-saving goals?

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Summer is in full swing. It’s time to utilize the crock pot and grill to keep the house cool and also keep the cost of preparing the food in check. I love the changing of the seasons and enjoying the various fruits and veg from them. It gives you something more to get excited about.

Sunday – Baked steak in the crock pot with mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and salad (Husband’s special request)

Monday – Leftover baked steak and gravy over bread with mixed veggies, and cantaloupe

Tuesday – Stuffed cabbage rolls with garlic bread

Wednesday – BLT’s and salad (We like our bread toasted. Note the mayo. There are vegan varieties available that taste very close to the “real” thing.)

Thursday – BBQ Chicken with potatoes on the grill and salad

Friday – Grilled Rainbow trout and fresh summer veggies with rice pilaf

Saturday – Family reunion picnic (I’m bringing Italian pasta salad.)

A trip to the farmers market …

Large, beautiful head of romaine $1.25

Three large, perfectly ripe homegrown tomatoes $2.50

Three candy onions $1.50

Five perfectly ripe peaches $2.00

Total $7.25

Left with $52.25 for this last week of July should be interesting because we are almost out of dog food and I generally like to shop for two weeks at a time. We may even opt for fresh fruit this weekend instead of the traditional Sweet Saturday unless I can find a recipe for items already on hand, which I have succeeded in doing in the past. I’m making my list now, scouring the grocery store flyers, and clipping coupons. I also wanted to stop at Target and pick up a few deal as I’ll be in the neighborhood. We’ll see how it all works out soon enough.

The month is winding down and we’re still doing a good job on our $200 a month grocery challenge. Here’s the supper menu for this week.

Sunday – Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with garlic bread

Monday – Marinated, grilled chicken breasts with grilled potatoes and salad

Tuesday – Stuffed zucchini boats with salad (recipe to follow another time)

Wednesday – BLT salads (Originally we were to have BLT’s, but I figured BLT salads would be more filling and healthful.)

Thursday – Spaghetti, salad

Friday – Grilled pizzas, with homemade pizza dough

Saturday – Possibly Chinese takeout

We must be vigilant in the midst of the $200 a month grocery and eating from the pantry challenges. Planning is crucial, as is creativity and a little nutritional forgiveness.

Sunday – Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, recipe to follow at a later date

A gift of a huge head of cabbage from dad made these possible, and I also made a generous stash for the freezer. You can make these even more frugal and healthful by using…

ground turkey instead of beef,

brown rice instead of white rice,

and/or adding additional chopped vegetables.

Monday – Pork chops with peppers and onions, potatoes and fried cabbage.

Tuesday – Oatmeal pancakes, sausage patties, fruit.

This is a repeat meal from last week. We enjoy the sausage from a local butcher/deli. It is very lean and flavorful. We split a pound between two meals that feed three to four. It’s more of a little taste of sausage with our pancakes. Meat should be an accompaniment to the meal and not the main event for better health anyway. The oatmeal pancakes are very filling, and better for you than just plain old pancakes.

Wednesday – Cheeseburgers, Italian breaded zucchini “fries”, Romaine salad

Thursday – Bean with Bacon soup, Peanut butter crackers

A childhood favorite of mine, not being really fond of other kinds of canned soups, I usually keep a couple of cans in the pantry for emergencies. If you’ve been following along you know it’s time to rotate stock in the pantry. I guess I haven’t had that many emergencies or we’ve turned to freezer meals. I like to float the homemade peanut butter rich round crackers in the soup. It’s an interesting flavor combo that goes well with the smokey flavor of the soup, but then I also like to dip buttered toast or English muffins in orange juice. Thank you Aunt Joan for introducing that to my mom, who then showed me. 🙂

Friday –  Marinated, grilled chicken breasts, grilled potatoes, romaine salad

Saturday – Tatertot casserole, mixed vegetables

What’s on your plate?

A trip to Walmart, local butcher, and Wegman’s added a little bit to the tally.

Walmart

2 Lysol bowl cleaner, store brand Magic Eraser 2 pk, and Pond’s make-up removing towelettes

$8.67

Local Butcher

1 lb each of beef cubes and loose sausage

$7.11

Wegmans

1 gal organic 1% milk, celery, 6 lb ground beef, and puff n corn (hmmm, who put that in the cart?)

$23.33

Free garden produce

A huge cabbage, with which I intend to make a freezer full of cabbage rolls. We’ll also make fried cabbage and potatoes with hot peppers with the inside leaves that will be too small to wrap rolls.

Three bulbs fresh garlic

A nice size zucchini

A cuke to slice into salad

Total: $39.11

That leaves $59.49 left to spend for the month. Scary isn’t it? You’d be amazed at what can be accomplished when you set a goal.

Today was our first shopping trip after coming home from vacation. If you’ve been following along you know how I’ll be challenging myself to spend under $200 a month for our family of three and our four pets while also utilizing what we already have in our pantry and freezer.

We scored big at the bread outlet. I rarely eat bread from a loaf, and if I do I prefer 100% whole wheat. Have you seen what a loaf of bread, pitas, and English muffins are going for lately? If you buy three of these items you’ve spent ten dollars already, but not if you shop at the bread outlet.

We found…

2 pkg of Thomas’s High Fiber Honey Wheat English Muffins and a pkg of Honey Oatmeal Bagels for $4.00

2 pkg of Weight Watchers Pita Pockets and a pkg of Weight Watchers Bagels for $3.00 (These appealed to us because daughter and I are looking to consume more fiber and these contained 9 g of fiber per serving.)

1 pkg Multigrain sandwich thins for $.89

1 pkg Maier’s Italian bread (for husband) for $.89

1 pkg Entenmann’s coconut mini donuts (for daughter) for $.50

The grand total was $9.28 and we’ll end up stretching some of these items into next month. We’ll store most of it in the freezer and get individual items out to toast or defrost as we use them. This works really well for bagels, muffins and things you end up toasting anyway. I’ve also had good luck with pitas from the freezer.

My regular shopping trip was at Giant. I spent $92.12 and saved $36.40. I typically save around 50%, so not great savings this go ’round. I suppose it’s good if you think about the $127.77 I would have spent with no savings at all. 🙂

The total so far is $101.40 and I still have a trip to the butcher this week. Because husband is paid twice a week we try to only shop that often and some items last into the next month and even beyond. I recently read a post by a once a month shopper. I’m not sure her list showed enough variety for my family, but I’m still considering it because I love the simplicity of it. More about that later.

Our Giant trip consisted of a little of everything, from produce to diary to pet food. My menu is planned through to the next pay date, and I have all of the bases covered, plus some. It’s always a good idea to leave a little wiggle room in your budget for unadvertised specials and stock up items for which you have coupons. For instance, one of our favorite pastas was on sale and I combined it with a coupon to get it at $.50 a box. Our favorite jarred sauce was also on special for $.99, so I grabbed more than one.

We’ll use our fresh produce the first week and rely on frozen or canned during the second. We have strawberries and peaches for fresh fruit choices. Buying ten lbs ($4.99) of potatoes was cheaper than buying two separate five lb bags ($3.49) in two separate weeks, and potatoes keep for awhile, as do onions. I opted for hearts of romaine instead of the clam shell of baby lettuces or the bagged stuff because I find they keep longer. They are also very easy to wash. Don’t forget about the farmers’ market as a great place to look for produce deals. If you have a garden it’s practically like going out and picking free food. I’m really looking forward to roasted garden veggie stuffed pitas for lunch.

What do you do to save money on groceries?

We are on the cusp of an eating from the pantry challenge as well as a feed our family of three plus four pets for $200 or less a month challenge, so if things aren’t adding up to what you consider healthful, or look a bit strange, that’s why.

Sunday – Pork chops with onions and peppers, potatoes, salad

Pork chops are on sale this week, potatoes are always on the cheap side, and salad is a bargain at farmers’ markets this time of year.

Monday – Poorman’s meal

We have it too easy these days. I agree that the economy isn’t the greatest, but be realistic. My grandparents had it much, much worse during the depression. This lovely great-grandma, Clara, reminds me of my Italian grammie. She knows how to stretch a dollar and still make a meal everyone will enjoy. Click the link for a nice tutorial on how to make Poorman’s meal. My grammie had to quit school and go to work to help support her brothers and sisters, and we think we have it bad. She is the oldest sibling, and she is 92.

Tuesday – Pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans), salad, garlic bread

There are no complaints when I serve this hearty, meatless meal. For a change of pace or a more thick soup or stoup (stew/soup) use jarred tomato sauce instead of the broth and tomato products. Any pasta shape that you have on hand will work.

Wednesday – Ham BBQ, Baked beans, Fruit cocktail

You may already know from previous posts that we have lots of ham in the freezer. I also have some buns in the freezer that I need to use. The makings for some homemade bbq sauce and the other items are hanging out in the frig and pantry. Cook a hunk of ham in the slow cooker. Tear it apart with two forks, add your bbq sauce and let cook until flavors combine. Serve on buns or over cornbread. It’s also good served with coleslaw.

Thursday – Salmon cakes, Corn cakes, Italian green beans.

Canned Pacific wild salmon is frugal and healthful. Don’t forget to eat fish twice a week to get your Omega-3s. Canned salmon and tuna help accomplish that, even on a tight budget.

Friday – Crockpot beef stew, Garlic bread

I’ll post this easy recipe and photo in the future. We’re planning a yard sale, so it’s important to have a meal that I can fix and forget until it’s time to eat. We can make the garlic bread while we are setting the table.

Saturday – Leftover beef stew

Beef stew is even better reheated. 😉 It will be appreciated on this busy day!

Check back next week for a new Sweet Saturday recipe.

This week we ran into a few snags with a painting project that we needed to finish before getting ready for a little vacation. Although you may find that posts are sparse over the next couple of weeks, I’ll try to make up for it with some great photos and I’m sure many new life experiences. It’s always good to do something different. It does wonders for shaking up my creative side.

Stayed tuned for maybe joining in on an eating from the pantry challenge and

Challenging myself to feed a family of 3, 2 dogs and 2 cats for $200 a month

Garden updates

Beach and boardwalk photos and experiences

Making black raspberry preserves

Canning tomatoes

Canning pears

and much, much more.

I hope everyone is enjoying the summer season as much as we are here at the Frugal and Healthful house.

We’re busy, busy, busy gearing up for a beach vacation and painting two rooms for my parents. More excellent reasons to know well in advance what we’ll be eating for our main meal of the day.

Sunday – Turkey burgers with carmelized onions, zucchini cakes, baby spinach and field mix salad

Here are the zucchini plants.

Monday – Rotini pasta and meatballs with sauce, salad

Tuesday – Ham and potato hash, pancakes

Wednesday – BBQ chicken, Aunt Connie’s Yukky Potatoes (recipe and story to follow), Fresh broccoli from dad’s garden, baby spinach and field mix salad

Thursday – Broccoli and cheese stuffed baked potatoes, salad

Friday – Hot dogs and beans

Saturday – Steak salads

What’s on your plate this week?

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