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Money, Groceries and Making Ends Meet

April 27, 2008

I met with a friend yesterday who wanted to share ideas about how we plan for meals and groceries monthly. It made me realize how important and helpful it is to sit down as moms to talk about really anything. I learned so much from her and it really reminded me how much further I need to go in my journey to be more frugal.

I thought I would post about a few things that I’ve been trying to do and some goals I have for myself. I’m hoping that in making these goals public, I’ll be able to actually achieve them!

  • Ziploc bags and Paper towels: I have gotten really anal about using ziploc bags, papertowels and other things like that. I rarely use a papertowel to clean up a mess; I have a set of dishcloths that I use to clean up the kids with our any other mess that I might use a paper towel for. My goal is to see how long I can make roll of paper towels last. I also hardly ever use ziploc bags anymore for leftovers or anything like that. If I can store it in a tupperware I will.
  • Breadcrumbs: I have been saving the heels of bread and making breadcrumbs from them. I tell you that homemade breadcrumbs are a TON better than what you buy in the store!
  • Baking: I hardly ever buy any kind of cookies or sweets. If we have sweets in our house at all, I have to make them. This is partly a budget thing, but also a health thing. I’ve got to really be craving sweets in order to get off my rump and bake them 🙂 I also make biscuits every Sunday for breakfast (and we have breakfast for dinner that night too) and I’m trying to make waffles on Saturday for us to eat during the week too.
  • Shopping: I have also been really trying to plan my shopping. I go to at least 4 different stores during the month based on what’s on sale, what I need to get (and where it’s cheapest) and what store brands we like etc. I do end up getting the bulk of my stuff at WalMart, which I totally despise, but you really can’t beat their prices a lot of time
  • Whole Chickens: I think this is one of the best deals I do. You can buy a whole chicken for less than $5. Throw it in a crock pot with some olive oil, spices of choice and put it on low for most of the day. I can get enough chicken for at least 3-4 meals.

GOALS: Here are a few of my goals.

  • Bread: I would totally love to find a good bread recipe and start making our sandwich bread weekly. I want to do this partly to save money, but also for health reasons.
  • Farmer’s Markets: I am hoping to get into a rhythm of going to some local farmer’s markets this summer. While farmer’s are charging more, the payoff for having something local wins with me.
  • Lunches: I am trying to start working on being more creative with lunches for all of us. Hubbie takes his lunch every day and is getting really bored with sandwiches. We are getting bored with PB&J (which the baby is allergic to PB) so we need some help in this area!
  • Price per meal: my friend really looks at price per meal that she makes and she really inspired me to start doing this with our meals that we have weekly too. That is my next step in our menu planning.

LINKS: Here are a couple of good links that I came across recently that have to do with groceries and menu planning.

Coupon Tips and Tricks by The Digerati Life

More Grocery Store Tricks and How to Avoid Them by Blissfully Domestic

and this is a local link: The Thrifty Mom shares lots of different local tips on everything.

Now it’s your turn…what do you do to help plan your grocery budget?

  1. Hey, love your new theme!! and ooooh i see project photos. I’ll have to check them out after I comment here 🙂

    It has been so long since I have used papertowels I can’t even remember. Once you go without you realize you didn’t need them to begin with.

    I should be better about meal planning and food budgeting. I just sort of wing it and really need to be better about that.

  2. Lunch creativity is a tricky one. I have looked at the way Japanese mothers (and others I am sure) have made their children’s bento boxed each day for school. Way too cute and too much creativity out there. I use cupcake liners to separate items like carrots, strawberries, sandwich quarters, etc. and put it in one box so it’s nice and snug. But still Ez gets tired of sandwiches.

    I just got some cloth napkins on Freecycle I will embroider and actually keep (rather than try to sell) and use. They are a little “decorative” (some scallops and battenburg), but I can deal with it. I want to get away from papertowels too.

    Now, if we could think of something for our TP! A bidet?

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