Sunday, July 26, 2015

Shopping Trips: Last Week of July


Kroger: $21.78

I took advantage of some ecoupons to get staples for a stock-up price. Other than yogurt and waffles, I doubt we will be eating much of these this week. I bought pectin to try a peach pie recipe I've been longing to try.



Aldi: $24.68


Weekly total: $46.46

Monthly total:

$46.46 + $103.63 + $132.11 + $99.52 = $381.72

How I think we got here:

* My fridge was still a little full this weekend, and we had a ton of fruit and veg left over, so I am trying to clean it out and use up what we have. I thought of going to Sam's for bulk bread flour, but we have too much going on socially, and I didn't go, leaving my weekly grocery total pretty low.

* I have been keeping an eye on food waste. It wasn't perfect; I think I bought too many tomatoes at the farmer's market last week and we threw out same baked beans. We have had more "hunt and peck" nights than my menu plan called for, as I did not accurately calculate how long we'd be eating those baked beans from last week and that lasagna from this week. Of the four dinners I planned to cook last week, I only made two.

* I also bought a few more things at Aldi that were on my list, such as dye free marshmallows and graham crackers for s'mores we will be making at grandma's, Goldfish Crackers, buns, and chocolate milk. All were cheaper than Kroger this week. We've been slowly trying out the Aldi brand to see if we like the taste, and so far everything has had a thumbs-up.

* I didn't buy any meat. We have ham, cheese, eggs, and plenty of lentils and beans already, and I have a few meats in the freezer.

* Our monthly Amazon Subscribe and Save order had only toilet paper and dishwasher detergent (that is a separate "household" category for me), so that brought down the monthly average. I have nixed most food items through Subscribe and Save, and only buy loose tea, maple syrup, and pancake mix with that every few months.

Average weekly grocery spending for the month of July:

$95.43!

This is $2.73 per person per day.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Frugal Win/Fail

Win:

1) I read a book, Zero To One, on the Ohio Digital Library. I borrowed two Magic Tree House books for my son as well.

2) I listened to a free history podcast about Diogenes.

3) I baked bread twice this week.

4) A friend came over, and we just chatted and drank mason-jar tea.

5) I used some money I got from selling my son's clothes to go out for a work dinner and to hit one of my favorite foodie joints for lunch with my cousin this weekend.

6) My mother took the kids overnight tonight (free babysitting) and the husband and I are having an in-home date night. I am using the B1G1 Chipotle coupon that was floating around this week to get burritos, and we watched a movie on Amazon Prime.

7) I only spent $47 in groceries this week.

8) I used my Y membership once and the kids played outside with the hose several times.

Fail:

1) I planned to sell 4 boxes of books to Half Price Books today, but left my license in the diaper bag at home, so I couldn't sell them.

2) I threw out a couple tomatoes and a bad orange. We also threw out a couple servings of baked beans from last week.

Win/Fail:

1) I tried to sell huge lots of clothing on Ebay, but people were not biting because of shipping costs. I ended up closing my listings and posting on a FB yardsale. One person showed interest but would not get back when I tried to plan and meet. Still waiting for those to sell.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Menu Plan


Sunday: Pesto Veggie Lasagna

Monday: Leftover Lasagna

Tuesday: BLTs on homemade bread, Roasted Broccoli, Nectarines

Wednesday: Cheese Quesadillas with Tomatoes, Green Onions, Sour Cream, Oranges

Thursday: Hunt and Peck, clean out the fridge

Friday: Spaghetti with Meat Sauce and Onions

Saturday: Kids with Grandma, date night at home. Plans TBD


Also making:
Applesauce
Bread

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Grocery Trips- Third Week of July

Farmer's Market: $14. I nabbed the last dozen eggs! I could get this cheaper at a store, but who wants tomatoes that have been shipped from California, when I can get the real deal during the summer?



Aldi: $37.35



Kroger: $52.28


Weekly Total: $ 103.63

I wanted to squeak it smaller, but I can't seem to get less food without running out/complaints by Friday. Still, $20.73 per person per week is nothing to sneeze at! That's about $2.96 per person per day.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Frugal Win/Fail

Win:

1) I read The Cheapskate Next Door through the Ohio Digital Library (myeh, I wouldn't recommend it).  I also read the latest issues of OK magazine and Shape through a Nook reading app using the Ohio Digital Library.

2) I baked two loaves of bread, made my own pizza crust, and made a huge vat of Boston Baked Beans from dried navy beans.

3) I sold 3 boxes of books to Half Price Books for $32.

4) I paid $5 out of pocket for two 31-load bottles of All Free and Clear and a tube of expensive dry mouth toothpaste, thanks to multiple coupons and Extra Care Bucks at CVS. Original cost $24.

5) I was sorely tempted by the smell of McAllister's Deli next to Half Price books, but I did not give in!

6) I picked up one work shift this week.

7) I used my Kroger Fuel Points to get $0.50 off per gallon.

8) I only drove twice this week- to a local sprinkler park and today for gymnastics and grocery shopping.

9) The kids ran through the sprinkler and we visited a local park for entertainment this week.

10) I packed no work lunches for my husband, but for a month his work will be feeding him 3 times a week while they work some overtime, so that is a win! I'm a little jealous...

11) Prime Day was pretty much a bust, but I did pick up a 9 pack of 80-count Amazon Baby Wipes for $6.80 shipped. That's 2 cents per wipe, which is my stock-up price.

12) I bought a Wahl Color Pro Haircutting Kit on Amazon for $20 (50% off). I cut my son's hair at home today. It paid for itself with one haircut, as we usually spend about $20 for cut and tip at Big League Haircuts. It looks like it's still that price today.

13) I made cold-brewed iced tea in a mason jar for me to drink this week.

Fail:

1) My friend's daughters babysat for us Tuesday and stayed overnight. We ended up getting wings for dinner and ice cream for dessert. Cost: $50. I won't lie, we all had a yummy dinner and they got to try Dairy Queen for the first time.


Win/Fail:

1) The new sitter came and worked half a day as a trial. Cost: $40. I did get to work out on the treadmill and clean out my office, and it looks like we have a new sitter I will be happy with, so I can't call it a fail.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Menu Plan- July 12



Sunday: Hunt and peck- lots of leftovers

Monday: Boston Baked Beans in slow cooker

Tuesday: leftover beans

Wednesday: My Veggie Infused Meatloaf, Nectarines, Peas

Thursday: Scrambled Eggs, Toast of Homemade Bread, Salad

Friday: Pizza Friday- Homemade Cheese Pizza

Saturday: Cheddar Grits with Heirloom Tomatoes, Veggie Burgers


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Shopping Trips- 2nd Week of July


My poor long-suffering husband was complaining this week about running out of soy milk and juice. It is also the time of the month to stock up on his coffee. This coincides with a grass fed beef sale at Fresh Thyme at $3.77/lb (usually grass fed beef is $8-10/lb), so my weekly costs were going to be higher. 

Farmer's Market: $13 for local honey. Did you know autumn honey tastes stronger than spring honey? I didn't know either until I did a taste test at the bee lady's stand. I preferred spring honey. 
I use this for baking bread and occasionally in my tea. Hopefully this will last several months and it supports our local bee population.

Kroger: $60.00

My husband stopped here for soy milk mid-week and spent $14. I shopped there today and spent $46 even. I got a free Skinny Cow Iced Coffee and there was an ecoupon to get peanut butter for $0.99. The Seattle's Best Coffee was $2.99- they let me use an ecoupon and a printable from coupons.com. 




Fresh Thyme: $34.92. 

I got 4 pounds of beef and that was $15.48. You can see why one of our main strategies is eating vegetarian. Beans, lentils, and dairy are way cheaper sources of protein. I had a $5 off $30 coupon in my email to use. I only bought cheap fruit, veg, and meat. Anything else is way too pricey.



Aldi: $24.19

 Nothing special, just our usual milk, OJ, veggies, and fruit. I did pick up a package of Fair Trade coffee for $3.99 to see if my husband likes it. That everyday price rivals or beats what I usually can get on sale with a coupon at Target or Kroger.



Weekly Total: 
$132.11

Ouch! I'll try to bring my monthly average back in line next week by shooting for $85-90.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Frugal Win/Fail

Win:

1)We watched neighbors set off fireworks from our back deck on the 4th of July.We had a 4-pack of sparklers in my stockpile that I bought for 50 cents a few years ago, and used half a box. Cost: $0.13.

2) I picked up 3 shifts to work this week. My mom babysat for one, so I didn't have to pay for babysitting that day. That saved me the $60 I have been paying my teenage babysitters.

3) I KonMari'd 12 boxes of books, and my husband took one box to sell at Half Price Books: I earned $20 this week from that. I hope to take another load Saturday.

4) I posted our baby bottles and accessories for sale on Ebay as a buy it now for $15.

5) I spent $13 of the monthly $50 I allow for myself on alpaca dryer balls. I bought them at the farmer's market from a local alpaca farmer. I quit using fabric softener on Saturday. (Dryer ball review coming soon!) I calculate that if I use this for 9 out of ten loads (I like my sheets and towels to smell April fresh), I will save maybe $50 a year, with no fears about topical allergies.

6) I finished watching Season 2 of The Middle, which I borrowed from the library.

7) I read a book I borrowed from the Ohio Digital Library. I was able to read it on my laptop.

8) I stayed within my $100 grocery budget for the week.

9) I baked 2 loaves of bread.

10) With the exception of a few work lunches for my husband, we ate 100% of meals at home.

11) I used my YMCA membership twice this week. On Monday, we walked there and back (it is 1 mile each way) to save gas. My 4 year old told the childwatch attendant "We walked here to save money on gas."

12) I only drove four days: Saturday to grocery shop, Tuesday to the post office, Wednesday to a doctor's appointment, and Thursday to the YMCA. We would have walked to the Y Thursday, but my community repaved the walking paths and they are still blocked off.

13) We are done with a series of medical appointments for our son, and it will no longer cost us $100/month in copays.

Fail:

1) I returned a movie late to the library and was fined $1. D'oh! I thought I could renew, but for some reason, only that movie was nonrenewable.

2) We threw out some moldy grapes and a bad kiwi.

Win/Fail:

1) My blog revamp and self-hosting is coming soon (look for a whole new blog, a move to Wordpress, and a name change!). I am paying for 24 months of Bluehost to start with and must pay upfront. I'm hoping to write my way into a win.

2) We are using Care.com for our part-time in-home sitter search. We paid for a year's membership ($156) , $59 for an in-depth background search for our prime candidate, and we will sign up for its payroll/tax services, as even part time our sitter will require withholding and tax as a nanny. That will cost around $50/month. However, these are our kids, and I want people to be vetted, have background checks, and not be a random person from craigslist. I can't feel bad about paying for an extra level of safety.


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Menu Plan


Sunday: Veggie Infused Meatloaf (my recipe), Peas

Monday: Simple Spaghetti with Red Sauce

Tuesday: Baked Potatoes, Veggie Burgers

Wednesday: Mexican Tomato Rice and Beans

Thursday: Kid Choice: Hot Dogs, Corn, Peaches

Friday: Pizza Friday- Homemade Cheese Pizza

Saturday: Red Lentil Chili, Corn Bread

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Shopping Trips- 1st Week of July

My husband hit Kroger on Tuesday, and picked up soy milk, orange juice, Clif Builder Bars, and yogurt. Total: $20

Aldi: $33.58. I had actually planned on buying a lot of these items at Kroger, but decided to try and see if the Aldi prices were better. They were! Oats, potatoes, orange juice, peanut butter, bacon, milk, lettuce, and bananas all were better priced than Kroger.



Kroger: $14.94. I got a register coupon for a free pint of Halo Ice Cream last week, so I picked up a pint of chocolate today. I had an ecoupon for the yogurt and a $3 catalina from last week as well. 


Farmer's Market: 1 basket of tomatoes for $4.

Total this week: $99.52

Friday, July 3, 2015

Frugal Win/Fail

Win:

1) I sold my son's 4T shorts on Ebay for $10 and his size 6 jeans for $22. (And yes, at age 7, he just outgrew those shorts. We make 'em skinny here!)

2) My mother stopped by today and brought us a pizza to eat.

3) I bought L.L. Bean backpacks for the big kids with a coupon code and Ebates. These are guaranteed for life, and I am hoping to eke out as many years as I can in these (at least 5?). I bought plain solid colors.

4) I baked bread and cinnamon rolls twice, and made homemade cookies.

5) Picked up two work shifts this week.

6) Used our YMCA membership once.

7) This week's fun activity was inviting my son's friend over for the day to play- no money needed.

8) We watched movies from the library 4 times.

9) I got my quarterly CVS ECB bonus of $3.

10) I packed lunch for my husband twice.

11) I worked a shift Thursday, and drove on my lunch break to the post office and pharmacy. As I got in the car, it occurred to me that it was the first time I had driven since Saturday when I went to the store. (I work from home). That is a lot of savings in gas. On the other hand, I am feeling rather stir crazy.

12) Got a free pint of ice cream at Kroger by using a register coupon received last week.

13) Downloaded a free Kindle First book, The Einstein Prophecy.

Fail:

1) Even though I sold my Angelcare Monitor on Ebay, the buyer has not paid. I will probably have to relist. Ugh! From here on out, I am choosing the Buy It Now option. This is the second time this has happened to an auction. The other clothes I sold this week I listed as Buy It Now only.

2) I own one pair of jeans and 5 pairs of yoga pants. One yoga pair finally tore beyond repair in the washer and had to be thrown out. I am losing weight, so I am going to make do with what I have until I am down another size.

3) Threw out some veggies dying in the back of the crisper drawer.

4) Missed out on packing lunch for my husband once.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Food Blog Lovin'- Freezer Cinnamon Rolls from Money Saving Mom


One of last week's frugal failures was the buying of last minute breakfast pastries for way more moolah than I could make myself. I've been thinking of trying to make something that I could make ahead and freeze.

Perfect timing, I saw this post for Freezer Cinnamon Rolls on Money Saving Mom this week, and it looked easy. All it took was throwing a few ingredients into our bread maker and using the dough cycle, rolling it out quickly, spreading some butter/cinnamon mixture, cutting it, and baking it. We received our bread machine as a wedding gift 9 years ago and I really just use it to make pizza dough, focaccia dough, and other yeast rolls. It took me 2 minutes to throw the ingredients in there, and about 5-10 minutes hands-on time to prep the rolls.

It truly was that easy. I haven't frozen any yet, but I have made these twice now. I haven't made the icing, as we thought the filling was super sweet and didn't need any extra sweetness. The second time around, I also reduced the brown sugar in the filling to 1/2 a cup. This made about 14 rolls each time.  I'm estimating the cost per batch, based on 14 rolls, is around $0.50.