Sunday, March 25, 2018

Meal Plans and Budget Checks

Tirteen dollars and thirtyone cents. That is what is left in this final week of March in the grocery budget. Prorating a couple stock up items to April of $20 and I' left with $33.31. My March budget was to also cover the Easter dinner. Not likely, but I think any overage, like the $20, will apply towards April spending, deducting from my starting budget. Easter is April 1 and no doubt we will have one to two meals of leftovers. It's my game, so my rules. I might do better to track annually, but then I'd need spread sheets.

How did I get so off kilter this week? I'll give you a guess of two different letters in my household. Yes, it was DH again. Though, other than him picking up a couple frozen pizza's the other night when we were getting pretty famished after the concert, he didn't really rogue shop-just went off plan. He thought he was helping-twice.Instead of the menu options carefully planned last Sunday, here is what we ended up eating in our crazy week.

  • Sunday-Meatballs and gravy, egg noodles, mixed vegetables
  • Monday-Conglomeration of stuff-it was a stressful night. Toast, frozen Banquet pot pie found in the  freezer, canned soup before I had to run DD2 back to school since the keys had not been found yet. Not sure what DH ate when he got home-maybe Sunday's leftovers?
  • Tuesday-DD2, Jimmy Johns, DH and I frozen pizza
  • Wednesday-Baked chicken, rice pilaf, mixed vegetables
  • Thursday-Country ribs. Now there's a story with this meal. DH went shopping, put these in the crock pot, then had to take DD2 for a physical so she could run track as we hadn't realized hers expired. He then got an urgent call into work, and hadn't thought about anything to go with the ribs as sides. I got home at 6:15 and lamely cooked up some ramen noodles and green beans. I used one seasoning packet for two noodle packets and actually, went kind of nice with the pork. Who knew?
  • Friday-DH and I went out for an annual lent season fish fry. He wore me down. DD2 ate a snack and then her friends mom served a bunch of kids pasta before heading out for the night.
  • Saturday-Pulled pork (from the leftover ribs) sandwiches, potato crowns 

I suppose it is possible to stretch the $34.80 to cover Easter dinner, but we need some vegetables too, as you can see when you look below. I still have not bought the ham, but have some of the items for side dishes already in house such as hash browns for cheesy potatoes, soups  the green beans, lots of eggs for deviled eggs. My mother-in-law is bringing the rolls, and cousin the desert so I guess I don't need that much since only six or seven. It will come down to the ham. If I buy bigger than we need, the extras will go towards April, so I;ll get the best deal and not worry about size. DH actually bought fruit in his shops, so that's something. Plus, as mentioned, a bag of chicken and half of that is left. There are loads of meals I have not made from my inventory last week. I too went off plan when stopping for buns and bread, I bought four $1 bacon wrapped pork cutlets on special. I found a couple other items hiding in the freezer to help the plan. I confess to food waste of three large sausages. The got icky in the fridge and had to be tossed-sad, as I was doing so well. 

Building on what we didn't eat last week, with some changes to accommodate not buying anything else, here are meal options for the week. I have loads of carrots and onions, and a few canned vegetables, but notother frozen vege, so that is why carrots are so prominent. 
  • Penne pasta and red sauce with meatballs
  • Chicken, mashed potatoes, and fruit or veg
  • Chicken wild rice soup, homemade biscuits
  • Black bean, spicey tomato(canned), and cheese burritos with rice
  • Hot dogs (saving the buns from the pulled pork or eating with no bun) with baked potatoes 
  • Chicken cordon bleu, cheesy rice
  • Ring Sausage, au gratin potatoes, green beans
  • Tuna noodle hotdish, with carrots
  • Homemade baked macaroni and cheese, carrots, fruit
  • Rice crust cheesy quiche with spinach, banana muffins
  • Grilled cheese using Velveeta, sandwiches and tomato soup
  • Tuna cakes or croquettes (my croquettes were more like tuna cakes), rice pilaf, and some sort of vegetable if I have any or fruit
  • Pork cutlets, potato wedges
I'll try where possible to have extra portions for easy lunches, plus DH bought more deli meat and there is bread in the freezer. We have oatmeal, pancake mix and a few assorted cereals plus fresh and frozen fruit and juice, so breakfast is covered as well. DD2 just has her regular commitments, heading into her last two weeks of show choir, but adding track throws an extra hour every day in the mix, so heat and eat leftovers might be a good option for her, particularly Wednesday when she goes from activity to activity after school  and is not home until 7:00, then will need to dive into hoework. I am meeting the volleyball girls, but just for drinks-not dinner, and will probably pass if not see DH at all. That might be heated up soup night. 

Who knows if this plan will be on point either, but it gives me a starting place. I'm getting a bit bored with our meals, so in April, want to start with some new ideas, get the grill propane tank filled, and eat lighter. If you are watching your grocery and household budget, how are you doing? Are you thinking about leaving cold weather cooking behind for some spring time fare?


  1. We spend £75-£100 a week on groceries this is everything so cleaning products and personal care items etchowever reading a lot of frugal blogs I’m aware some would still shudder at the amount, however we do have my daughter and two grandchildren living with us at the mo and everything we buy is organic and eco friendly which I won’t compromise on. We don’t eat much meat just one large organic chicken each week and fish with lots of veg lentils peas beans grains and salads etc. The chicken carcass is made into stock for soup etc every week. I’m still trying to reduce our grocery spending but hubs likes his wine and as we don’t spend on take outs or going out too much I don’t worry about it lol. I don’t waste anything if salad or veg is leftover it gets used in omelettes or rice dishes or thrown into the soup reminds me of the old English pottage lol

    1. PS I don’t buy any baked goods bread pastries or desserts as I bake my own always have done even when working full time now I know this makes me sound very self righteous but I just like to know what’s gone into stuff and the only way I know this is if I’ve made them myself lol

    2. We all prioritize money and time to what works for us. I woudl never clal someone self righteous that has different (helahtier and more eco friendly most likley) shopping and food prep habits than I do. Ilike simple meals, though do get bored, so spending a lot of extra on expensive versions of similar food isn't a high priority, but I don't want to serve my family poor qulity stuff either.

  2. I admire your discipline to have a budget and strive towards one. Good for you! On the other hand frozen pizzas are a budget-wrecker at our house too.

    1. SOme are bordering on take out prices. HAndy though, like after concerts when you are hungry and I wish we would have alreayd had on ein th ehosue so he wouldn't have picked up other items.

  3. I am in the process of trying to eat down our pantry and freezer in anticipation of a move. (New house built in same town, no way I am moving the entire contents of the pantry!) It's causing me to get creative, that's for sure.
    Here in the PNW, we can grill all year round, so that isn't something I miss. I am, however, excited for the berries to come into season.

    1. We can grill year round and some folks due, but standing in a foot of snow, freezing is not my idea of fun. I understand not wanting to move the pantry. In the old cabin, my mother in law woudl buy so many gorceries over th summer-not sure why, and we would pack up 4-6 bags and boxes to cart back to her house.

  4. We did okay for the month. Over slightly. Our budget is high ($625) & we spent $642. My husband did the Costco shopping for the majority of the month, and he sometimes assumes we're out of something that we're not. He's trying to make sure we have everything, so well intentioned. But, we often have the item at home. :-)

    We're done shopping for March, so I'm calling it the complete spend for the month. I know we can do better next month!

    1. With your travel schedule earlier, staying focused on anything is an accomplishment. From when I wrote this Sunday morning, I'm about to throw in the towel.I keep thinking of things we need like laundry soap, breakfast cereal, and already being $20 prorated to April, perhaps I can reing things in for next month. In my defense, I started the month with over $50 in my daughters helaht and beuaty stuff as she was out of tons of things bought in December of Janaury. I shouldn't have such a huge need for a while.

  5. I love it, my game my rules. I am so glad I bought my ham a few months ago.

    1. I'm only cheating myself though, but still, it is a personal challenge. I'm not tackling the national deficit. I have limiited storage-wishmy ham was lareday bought.


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