Sunday, September 30, 2012

SNAP challenge: Shopping Day!

I hope you will forgive me. Pay day was Friday, but we were busy with car repairs, and yesterday was an away game for Soccer Star so I have to shop today. As usual, my plans and menus have gone out the window due to my crippling inability to accurately plan ahead, so I will have to revamp.

Right now, I'm wondering how committed I am to this project and if I can stick to it. Crazy Dumbsaint of the Mind said we don't have to count food we have in our pantries, so I won't because all that running around meant eating out. Several times. Le sigh. Cooking and shopping the way that I do means that it is very difficult to pack a meal for the road. I need to work on that.

So far we have blown $50 eating out. That's really not too bad for a family of six, I guess, but that leaves me about $120 to shop with for the week. I'm going to say a quick prayer in gratitude that all of this is optional and I don't have to survive on a limited grocery budget.

I did it for years early in my marriage. I had exactly $80 a week for DH and I. Then we added our Soccer Star and later Artiste to the family. Food consumption for the littles isn't really reflected on the budget until about age two and again at age four. So, for a family of four I ended up budgeting about $120. Actually $125 because I had to figure in the cost of gas to get to the store. That was six years ago and food and gas prices have gone WAY up since then. What's up with that? 

Modified week of menus (Sunday through Thursday):

  1. Tacos served with corn tortillas, black beans, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, salsa and maybe yogurt
  2. Carnitas, served with lettuce, tomatoes, olives, corn tortillas
  3. Roast chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, and side vegetable
  4. Meatloaf, green beans, salad, and mashed veggies
  5. Chicken paprikash with GF dumplings and salad
  1. Chicken salad (from leftover roast chicken) with tossed salad and fruit
  2. Meatballs and spaghetti (GF noodles)
  3. Tuna salad with tossed salad and fruit
  4. Chicken and dumplings (from the roast chicken leftovers)
  5. Chili served with pumpkin cornbread
Shopping list (my estimated cost), updated to reflect actual shopping trip:
  • 7 4 lbs ground turkey/beef (14) 8
  • Whole chicken (I need two, but I have one in the freezer) (6) 5.60
  • Pork shoulder (10) 8.90
  • Butter or cream (I'm thinking about making my own butter to eliminate residudal whey) (3) 2.7
  • 3 5 dozen eggs (5.5) 6.9
  • 2 lbs bacon (6) 3.78 (I only got charged for one package.)
  • 2 lbs sausage (4)
  • 1 lb black forest ham (2.5)
  • Large can of pumpkin (2)
  • 4 2 cans tuna (3) 1.5
  • pasta sauce (1)
  • 2 cans whole olives (3) 2.6
  • corn chips (2)
  • lentils (1.5)
  • celery (1) 1.28
  • mushrooms (1.5) 1.8
  • jalepeno (.25)
  • spaghetti squash* (4)
  • fresh cilantro* (.5) .88
  • avocados or guacamole* (1-3) 1.92
  • sugar snap peas (4)
  • zucchini (1.5) 1.80
  • tomatoes (4) 2.12
  • cauliflower (2) 2.78
  • rutabaga (1) 1.04
  • turnip (1) 1.64
  • apples (4.5) 5.61
  • pears (4.5) 5.2
  • salt (1) .4
  • paprika (2)
  • oregano (2)
  • GF spaghetti noodles (2) 2.2
  • coffee (4) 4.3
  • tea (2)
  • apple cider vinegar (2) 1.2
Added while shopping:
  • frozen broccoli 1.3
  • frozen green beans 1.1
  • chicken breast 9.6
  • corn tortillas 1.9
  • Truvia 3.5
  • Black beans, dry 1.4
  • salsa 2
My estimated shopping list was $110-112. After some omissions and additions my total at the store was just under $110! Yay! I still have $10 for anything that pops up, or to pick up the things I was unable to get on this trip. The estimation is critical in making your meal plan and shopping list. You need to have a rough idea of what you are going to spend before you start shopping for it. Making radical adjustments to stay within budget while shopping is very frustrating and disheartening.

There's usually some give and take, some things you decide to go with out to accommodate other things you want. Like the Truvia. I don't need it, but I wanted to get it for tea. Also, the chicken breast. I decided that if the really cheap ground turkey is the same price per pound as the chicken breast, I was gonna get some chicken breast and adjust my menu accordingly. There were other things I could have lived without. The olives, fresh cilantro, and avocados were kind of extravagent and in a pinch, items like these can be eliminated to stay within your budget.

So, what's your grocery budget like? What are your favorite meals? How far can you stretch your dollar?

Go here to visit the SNAP Challenge and join the frugal fun!

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