After that pounding, I had finances in my head the whole way to the store. When I went grocery shopping, my intent was for items for the rest of the week and road trip and snacks for the hotel room for next weekend. I decided once I was in the store, there was no reason not to just shop for the rest of the month, only needing perhaps more produce, milk, and bread. Well I did that and then some! I'm at $302 for the month and my fridge, freezer, and pantry is filled to near spilling over. I a confident I will be under $350 for the month-all Household and Grocery items. Considering two of the weekends we were away, and one DD2 and I were gone, that is how it should be, but January is also a long month. As I know I under budgeted for show choir trips by at least $600, I'm trying to skinny down the H&G, the eating out, and the entertainment budget.
Incorporating more vegan and vegetarian meals that are enjoyed by DD2 and DH, combined with some meat based meals seems to be a winning combination. It has also greatly helped, and this sounds mean, that DH has been so swamped going into work even on his day off, he has not done any big rogue shops. He had a minor one yesterday when he was running an errand for fixing the faucet in the bathroom. He ended up bringing back more snacks than anyone needs for a football game, and couldn't find what he needed at Walmart for the faucet, so hopefully will find at the hardware store.
He couldn't find the vegetable spaghetti noodles either-I'll have to get the next time I am near a Hy-Vee for future meals. I improvised and DD2 was perfectly happy with penne pasta and sauce, which I doctored up with cooking down with garlic and Italian seasoning, a bag of spinach salad that was wilting, Here is my new uber list of meal options.
- Veggie Curry (I want to use up the vegetable broth and more of the coconut milk)
- Chicken and vegetable cottage/shepherds pie
- Vegetable noodle soup with ham, drop cheddar biscuits
- Turkey Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and creamed corn
- Country Spare ribs with baked potatoes and green beans
- Pork Stew with baking powder biscuits
- Brats and macaroni and cheese
- Roasted Chicken with Tri-Tators
- Chicken Noodle soup, crackers and egg salad sandwiches
- Bean and Cheese burritos with black bean and corn salsa/salad and taco flavored rice
- Spaghetti and meatballs
- Meatballs and gravy with rice or potatoes and green beans
- Chicken and vegetable fried rice with egg
- Cheese ravioli with vegetables-crock pot version
- Homemade pizza (leftover sauce from Sunday was put in freezer) with whatever toppings we have handy
Chicken legs were $ .89 a pound, and country style boneless ribs were $1.99. they will both do double or triple duty for different meals. The stew meat/roasts were pretty spending so I'm adapting to the lower priced meats. Pretty much everything will yield leftovers for another night or two of dinner plus lunches. I feel like I did insanely well with my shop and if I execute, we have a lot of variety, nutrition, and time savings in the options above. My veggie and fruit drawer is full, as is the drawer I keep cheese and deli meats. We have canned tuna and some condensed soups as well for quick lunches. We're stocked for the weekend with crackers, cheese, salami, veggies and hummus, and will use our wine stash, though may get bottle water and some beer-entertainment budget for that. I have DD2 snap pea and cheese cracker snacks she likes, plus some clementine's and apples as she'll be on the bus for six hours.
Aldi really works for me since I am not brand loyal and overall, do well without having to clip coupons and match deals since I have neither aptitude nor time to do so. What are your thoughts on discount grocers? Is there enough variety to keep your family happy? While some have reported bad experiences with produce expiring or going bad, I've not had any more issues than any other store I shop. What might you do differently if you are trying to stretch your dollars, but aren't big on deal matching?