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CINDYTW Posts: 5,783
3/1/14 12:53 A

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MAW that is amazing! I did not do so well on my goal. I have not done the final tally, but it was not even close. I think I was being unrealistic. I do know I can make some cutbacks as well, but I just love great food and sometimes that is more important to me than other things. Great job!

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BUDGETMAW Posts: 11,928
2/28/14 3:02 P

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So, the month is over, and I didn't quite make my $21 budget. I spent $21.46. Still not bad, though.

I started with a budget of $175 a month, then reduced it to $150 to try to keep my total budget where I want it to be. I spent $131.26 in January, though that included what would have been my first February shopping trip. So about $152.72 for the two months, or $76.36 per month. Seems like it should have been less than that. Oh well.

My new budget for the year is $1200, or an average of $100 per month. I hope to keep it lower over the next few months so I have some extra to buy lots of veggies during at the Farmers Market this summer. We'll see. It will depend in part on how long the meat in the freezers holds out.

CINDYTW Posts: 5,783
2/27/14 12:33 A

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I am not a huge fan of ham on its own, which was why I asked. But I can see the other things you mentioned. Thanks!

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BUDGETMAW Posts: 11,928
2/26/14 8:09 A

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I don't know, Cindy. I don't usually buy it. That's why I only bought one ham, even though they were so cheap. I figure this will last a long time, just because I'm not used to eating it, even though I really like it.

I'll freeze it in single slice packages, each about 12 ounces, just because that's how they were cut. Then I figure I'll use them in scrambled eggs, omelets, quiche, etc. In green beans and stir fries. In fauxtatoes. Or just plain. Or in the zillions of recipes I run across that I don't make because they call for ham and I don't have any.

CINDYTW Posts: 5,783
2/26/14 12:57 A

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WHat do you do with the ham, Maw? Do you eat it plain or what?

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BUDGETMAW Posts: 11,928
2/25/14 9:38 P

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Went to Marsh on Sunday for their 69 cents a pound water-added ham or their 99 cents a pound Hormel spiral sliced ham. They were out of both and weren't giving out rain checks. That's what the guy in the meat department said, so I asked at the customer service counter. Was told the same thing. Was told they put up a sign that said the hams were "while supplies last." I said the ad didn't say that. Was told they put up a sign. Asked to speak to a manager. Told him I wouldn't shop at Marsh anymore since I'd made two trips for their 99 cent ham and they were out both times and not giving rain checks. Was told they weren't getting any more in. Never? Well, maybe sometime. Could I have a rain check for when it did come in? The manager said they'd give me another brand of ham on sale for $1.99 for 99 cents a pound. (I checked - it wasn't water added - and was only 1 carb per 3 ounce serving.) And they'd slice it for me for free. So I got it. I asked to have it sliced in 1/4" slices and they sliced it about 1/2", but decided that would be ok. Spent $12.48 on the ham.

Also spent $3.49 on sweet rolls, which I'm counting as mad money because they definitely weren't real food!

CINDYTW Posts: 5,783
2/23/14 11:54 P

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emoticon It is also enough, if you wanted, to get a cow or pig share. I have been thinking about that but I do have great meat vendors now that even deliver in winter. But I can stock up on chickens, the kind like in Omnivore's Dilemma. The farmer I getthem from reminds me so much of him, and will talk your ear off, SINCERELY, about farming practices when you meet him at the farm market.

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HOUNDLOVER1's Photo HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/23/14 10:06 P

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Cindy,
I would consider a freezer in my living room, LOL, right now the dogs are using the furniture more than we do so it's not exactly a formal living room and we rarely have company, either.
I will check out used freezers. 21 cubic feet sounds great to me. emoticon

Birgit

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CINDYTW Posts: 5,783
2/23/14 9:44 P

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I bought a 21 cu ft. chest freezer on Craigslist for $200 delivered. It has been the BEST investment I ever made! I have all kinds of stuff in there! Soups, summer fruits, meats galore, veggies, sauces, DH's bread products, pureed pumpkin that I use for my dog biscuits, and there is a lot of room left. I can use it to take advantage of those sales, or to freeze things I can't get in the winter, such as currants, or the summer such as cranberries. I never run out of room to stock up! If I make something and don't finish it all...there ya go. I don't have room for it either..I tucked it into the back corner of my living room, obscured by a couch, and if I have company, I have a cloth tablecloth that I cover it with so it isn't obvious what it is. A few candles and pictures, it could be a buffet table.

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BUDGETMAW Posts: 11,928
2/23/14 8:14 A

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I agree, Birgit, that being single and not working makes a big difference in a lot of things. It definitely gives me more time for cooking, planning, etc. It's hard to believe that I used to work 50 - 60 hours a week and still managed to do some cooking! And while I hate to admit it, I think my house was tidier then than it is now. Maybe because I didn't have time to get it messed up?

The casseroles had nothing to do with saving money. They were mostly made of zucchini or eggplant, and I wanted to have them all year long. They are recipes that I like and that I wouldn't make if fresh veggies weren't available.



HOUNDLOVER1's Photo HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/22/14 11:09 A

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I have thought about the possibility to buy a bigger freezer on occasion, but I have no good place to put it. I also have a food dehydrator, butter never have the time to use it. I find my biggest challenge is to devote any more time than just home cooking to food. At some point time is more valuable than money for me. I think stage of life matters, once my daughter is out of the house and we have fewer animals I may have more time.

I just heard on the radio about the expected droughts in California this summer and the affect it has on vegetable and fruit farming. I will make a point to grow a bigger garden than I had planned, just to be sure I don't have to spend as much money on frozen veggies this year.
Birgit

BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN OTHERS.

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BUDGETMAW Posts: 11,928
2/22/14 7:33 A

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I'm trying to think what I ate out of a can... I think I had two cans of tuna, a can of green beans, and two cans of coconut milk. Lots of meat in the freezers, and I froze a bunch of tomatoes two summers ago that I'm finally using up. I had probably thirty or more individual servings of casseroles that I froze last summer when zucchini and eggplant were at the Farmers Market. I had lots of eggs (still do, as a matter of fact, need to start working on them), and flax to make MIM, a quart of yogurt, most of a quart of cream, about three pounds of cheese and a couple of pounds of butter. Some frozen broccoli and frozen spinach, and a couple of days ago I found a part of a package of frozen brussels sprouts.

What really kept my purchases down this month was that I had just done my first "February" shopping on January 31, when I had to be over by the stores for other reasons. I definitely took that into consideration when I set my budget for $21. I bought mushrooms, lettuce, celery, and carrots which have been my fresh veggies this month, and that's when I bought the cream and butter and yogurt and cheese. I spent $16 on 1/29 and $45 on 1/31. It wasn't to try to beat the system this month (I was doing a Pantry Challenge in January, too, and that really killed it!), but just because I try to combine as many errands as possible into a single trip and so I did the shopping while I was in that part of town.

HOUNDLOVER1's Photo HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/22/14 1:40 A

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Wow, you must store a lot of food in your house. I don't think I ever have more than 2-3 weeks worth of food except for a few things. But then we virtually eat nothing from a can.
Birgit

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BUDGETMAW Posts: 11,928
2/21/14 7:06 P

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There! Another week down with -0- spending on food! Well, sort of, anyway. I should probably include at least one of the two jars of peanut butter that I bought for the dog but that I've been eating out of. And I got some more cheese for her, but I may end up eating some of it. But I'll count that next week. At any rate, officially, anyway, I've only spent $1.50 on food this month! I will be getting some ham next week (it's on sale) and some more cheese (also on sale) but that should be about it. I should stay well under $21 for the month.

CINDYTW Posts: 5,783
2/20/14 10:08 A

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Brigit I am not understanding how much DH eats now that I have him trying to do better and wean the sugar slowly! It's a lot more expensive to feed him good (better) food!

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HOUNDLOVER1's Photo HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/16/14 5:12 P

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Cindy,
I often think I'm doing great when I go shopping, but keep underestimating how much my teenage daughter eats, LOL, and supplies that I thought would last 2 weeks are gone in 4-5 days. But she has so many eating challenges I'm thankful she's eating a paleo diet and is healthy now, I'm not going to start arguing about how much she eats.
Birgit

BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN OTHERS.

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CINDYTW Posts: 5,783
2/16/14 4:22 P

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Brigit I used to go to the co-op but its just too far a drive for me. 30 minutes. I go occasionally if I am in the area for some reason. I do like supporting them as well.

My plan did not work out for me this week. I put back every unnecessary item and still spent $50 when I was going for $20. I guess I will try again next week to hit my $20 goal!

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HOUNDLOVER1's Photo HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/16/14 3:43 P

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I support our food co-op whenever I can , even when I occasionally pay a little more. It pays, because, unlike a grocery store, where the employs work for the store and it's interests the employees at our food co-op are better paid, have benefits and are working for the members. I will get great advice on where to source foods, even the ones they don't carry, and many employees are extremely knowledgeable about all kinds of foods and supplements, more so than most physicians. It's the local food network at it's best. emoticon

Birgit

BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN OTHERS.

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BUDGETMAW Posts: 11,928
2/16/14 1:22 P

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What crazy tricks our minds play on us! At least mine does on me, anyway.

I went to Marsh to pick up the ham, but turns out it was "while supplies last" and they didn't last very long. (In fact, the guy in the meat department said they only had about eight of them!) So I didn't get one. Fine. I didn't need it anyway.

Then I went to the co-op to price their bulk herbs for a handout I'm doing for the food pantry on buying bulk herbs and spices. Not planning to buy anything, just pricing the herbs and spices. So I walk into the store and immediately something is telling me that I have that ten dollars or so that I didn't spend on the ham so I should get something at the co-op instead. Not even meat to substitute for the ham. Just something. Fortunately I realized what I was thinking and didn't act on it, but what crazy talk it was!

CINDYTW Posts: 5,783
2/15/14 12:59 A

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MAW I don't even like ham all that much, but I used to LOVE ham and bean soup or split pea made with the hambone! Maybe a soup with a substitute for the beans? Cauliflower?

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BUDGETMAW Posts: 11,928
2/14/14 2:14 P

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I'm claiming success for this week, since I assume I won't be going out again today. No spending on food at all! And only $1.50 for the month to date.

Next week I will be spending money, but I still plan to stay at $21 or less for the month. Marsh has Hormel Cure 81 Spiral Sliced Hams for 99 cents a pound and I'm going to get one. Just one, though! My first thought was to get two or three of them, but that's just plain silly. I don't eat ham all that often, and just one will last me practically forever. Or at least a lot longer than you're supposed to keep them. I'll cut the slices off the bone and individually package them in 6 to 8 ounces packages, cut the unsliced end meat off and ditto, and then save the bone for soup or something. I may see if they'll cut the ham into thirds or so so I'll have multiple pieces of bone for seasoning.

That's all I'm planning on buying next week. I have enough vegetables and dairy to get me through the week, though I will need to buy some stuff the following week.

CINDYTW Posts: 5,783
2/13/14 11:57 A

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Well, I just tallied up my receipts for this month and I have already spent $350 of my $400 food budget! emoticon I am going to TRY and do a $20 a week challenge for the rest of the month and that will only put me over a few dollars. We have a lot of meats now since part of why I went over was ordering meat, so it should be do-able.

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HOUNDLOVER1's Photo HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/10/14 4:30 P

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Thanks Cindy,
I'll take a look at those. emoticon

Birgit

BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN OTHERS.

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CINDYTW Posts: 5,783
2/10/14 3:32 P

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The best thing I think they have is the stoneware pans. I am trying to collect all of them. They make everything easy and tasty and its non-stick once its seasoned (like a cast iron pan). For example the microwave egg cooker...makes perfect breakfast sandwich sized eggs in a minute and a half, not rubbery, and you can also use it to make a bun for it with a modified MIM recipe. I also make bacon in the oven on the stoneware and its perfect every time. I use them for roasted veggies, baking meats, breakfast casseroles, everything. I also love their knives, and the oil spritzer is way better than the Misto's I keep having to replace. Some of the stuff is not so special, I agree. I also would never pay some of the prices, like for the pots and pans that are $500 a set or something crazy.

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HOUNDLOVER1's Photo HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/10/14 11:17 A

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Cindy,
I've never looked at Pampered Chef stuff before but just took a look at what they have online. I don't see anything different than what I see in local stores. What do you like in particular? I'm always open to things that make life easier. emoticon

Birgit

BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN OTHERS.

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CINDYTW Posts: 5,783
2/10/14 1:34 A

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I did OK I took money from the bank, not the credit cards, and kept it reasonable and things I will really use to keep on healthy cooking! Pampered Chef has amazing things that just make life easier and so much tastier!

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HOUNDLOVER1's Photo HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/9/14 11:52 P

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I'm working hard to use up stuff we have this month since most of the money in our budget is already spent (we've stocked up on a bunch of stuff).
Tonight we ate the last summer squash from last fall with some sea vegetables that I had for quite a few months and never really wanted to try. My husband and daughter liked them mixed in with the squash and some ground pork and mushrooms.
Last night we used up 2 packs of kelp noodles, some frozen veggies, soft-boiled eggs and 1/2 jar of tomato sauce.
Tomorrow I'll find use for some canned water chestnuts.

Birgit

BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN OTHERS.

http://whippetsandducks.weebly.com/




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FITKRIS's Photo FITKRIS Posts: 3,957
2/9/14 11:16 P

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Thanks for that link, Maw. Just wanted to report on my $35 challenge. I made it and put $75 to a medical bill and about $18 to a grocery fund for extras - sales, bigger food months due to celebrations, etc. I'll be trying this challenge again soon, maybe in March sometime.

One of the most important keys to Success is having the discipline to do what you know you should do, even when you don't feel like doing it. - Unknown


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BUDGETMAW Posts: 11,928
2/9/14 8:38 P

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Check out goodcheapeats.com for info about pantry challenges, where you budget a smaller amount for a week or month while you're using up what's in your pantry and freezer and fridge. She's not low carb, but there's some good info both about pantry challenges and also about budgeting in the kitchen in general.

CINDYTW Posts: 5,783
2/8/14 11:42 P

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Well, I have used my cash budget for the first time in a long while this week, including paying for a shortage at my egg supplier I had from last time. I did go over on groceries, but used my random "shopping money" to do so, and still have a few dollars left in my wallet. My big challenge this week: Pampered Chef party tomorrow!!! I am a stoneware junkie, and I really love the knives as well!! I will be looking at my accounts before I go to see what I can afford. I need to leave the credit cards at home!!

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BUDGETMAW Posts: 11,928
2/7/14 9:11 P

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I made it through the week only spending the $1.50 on food, so I'm considering it a success. My budget for next week is $5.00.

Edited Saturday morning - My food budget for this week is $2.00. I need some more cream, and that's all I need. The $5.00 was so I could buy some pork rinds, and I don't need them. The challenge this month is to eat from my pantry and freezer and there's plenty there without pork rinds. And anyway, while the pork rinds themselves aren't bad, I use them as a binge food and I don't need to do that, either.

ps - I am making progress using up food. My inside freezer (on top of the fridge) is almost empty! I need to bring some stuff in from the freezers in the garage. One of these days, if it ever warms up, I'll take an inventory of what's out there.

Edited by: BUDGETMAW at: 2/8/2014 (08:36)
BUDGETMAW Posts: 11,928
2/7/14 8:59 A

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Rats! I was doing a $0 challenge for the first week of February. I was going to spend zero, zilch, nada. Which wasn't really a challenge since I did my first February shopping on January 31. I blew it yesterday, though. No, I didn't blow it. Blowing it implies a big time failure, and I didn't do that. But I did spend $1.50 for a bottle of pop from the vending machine at the library yesterday. I was working from 1:00 to 5:00 after working at the Homeless shelter from 2:30 am to 7:30 am and I was sleepy. Almost groggy, in fact. So I got a bottle of Coke with caffeine to keep me awake. Not a big deal, and it was the right thing to do at the time. But I could have at least taken a bottle of water with me, which would probably have been enough for me. However, $1.50 a week isn't bad!

I need to go to Walmart to update my price book and check on some prices for my column for the food pantry blog, and had planned to go today while I'm out anyway. I'm not going to do it, though. Too much chance that I'd end up buying something there! I'll wait until next week.

HOUNDLOVER1's Photo HOUNDLOVER1 Posts: 8,869
2/6/14 2:53 P

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For those who like to buy in bulk: Tropical Traditions has a sale on their organic Gold label coconut oil. We go through a bucket of it in about 14 months and it keeps much longer than that. Price was under $200 dollars, shipping is from Missouri, I paid about $35 to Washington.

Birgit


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BUDGETMAW Posts: 11,928
2/4/14 3:12 P

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I stopped at the store to get some stuff to make dog treats (they've got to be cheaper and better for her than the hot dogs I have been using for training!) AND I DIDN'T BUY ANYTHING FOR ME! I definitely would have if it weren't for this challenge, so thanks, everyone!

BUDGETMAW Posts: 11,928
2/4/14 8:54 A

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Another big storm moving in this afternoon. We're supposed to be on the southern edge of it, so 1-2" of snow this afternoon, followed by another inch of a snow and ice mix. Yuck! I have a doctor's appointment this afternoon, but then plan on coming home and hunkering down. As I was planning my day, I thought about how nice it was that I don't have to go to the store to stock up on food (traditionally bread and milk, which I don't get anyway, but you get the picture) before the storm. I have plenty and I'm planning on eating just from the fridge and freezer and pantry this week anyway.

FITKRIS's Photo FITKRIS Posts: 3,957
2/2/14 5:46 P

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Went to Target to get the remaining items I needed. Spent $6.78 for a running total of $32.67 out of my $35. Now to make it through the week!

One of the most important keys to Success is having the discipline to do what you know you should do, even when you don't feel like doing it. - Unknown


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BUDGETMAW Posts: 11,928
2/2/14 12:42 P

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Yikes! So much for a $50 grocery budget for January! I spent $123.53! That's almost a regular month's budget, and almost all of my meat was from the freezer. All but two pork chops, in fact. And a bunch of hot dogs that I got for training Bella Blu and ended up sharing.

There are a couple of reasons for this. For one thing, I did my first February shopping on Friday because I had to be on that side of town anyway. That was about $50. And I bought enough eggs to last most of this month, because they were on sale. That's another $10 or so. Which actually brings me down to my budgeted amount, except that the budget should allow for some stocking up.

Oh well. A better month this month!

CINDYTW Posts: 5,783
2/1/14 8:28 P

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I just finished setting up and tallying all my receipts in an Excel workbook. I was $75 over my food budget in January, which was pretty generous. The rest of my expenses were pretty random and not things that would normally come up, such as having to buy a new humidifier and electric razor for my husband. I spent more on gas because a friend was in town. In all we spent just under half of our income...on STUFF and miscellaneous expenses! emoticon YEP, that was sobering!

For January I spent $600 on groceries (just food). For February I would like to cut that down to $400. I think that will be reasonable, I have a lot in the chest freezer and am going to be changing my diet up (a topic for another thread). One of my big expenses, organic dairy, will be going away for a while. I don't want to cut it too much just yet...so I don't rebel against my own rules! emoticon

Edited by: CINDYTW at: 2/1/2014 (20:29)
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FITKRIS's Photo FITKRIS Posts: 3,957
2/1/14 5:53 P

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Maw, that stockpile you talked about is actually what I try to do. But I found that I had too much canned stuff that wasn't getting eaten before it expired and I lost track of what was in the freezer so a while back I starting using it up. I've done well to the point that I don't have much extra in my freezer or pantry. I think I've gotten more realistic about what my family really eats so I will be more picky when restocking this time. But last week the frozen pizzas that my son likes were on sale for .88 (usually 1.39) and I only bought 2 because that's all the money I had available. It was hard not to stock up but I stuck to my budget knowing that when I have some extra money put away I can stock up, after all they'll be on sale again at some point!

The best thing I did was go back to using cash for groceries. It has really helped me evaluate whether or not I really need something or if I have enough left at home, if I can substitute or do without. Today I forgot my calculator so I had to keep a running tally in my head. Not so easy to do! I estimated $25 at Fareway and came in at $20.97 so I was happy. Then stopped at another store that had milk on sale and found their cream was cheaper too, so spent $4.92 there. That puts me at $25.89 out of my $35 for the week. I still need to buy oil to make my daughter's birthday cake and eggs. Still should come in under $35! That leaves almost $100 to put to the medical bill and grocery "extras" fund. Happy dance!

One of the most important keys to Success is having the discipline to do what you know you should do, even when you don't feel like doing it. - Unknown


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LIVINGLIFENOW's Photo LIVINGLIFENOW SparkPoints: (54,035)
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2/1/14 2:41 P

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Maw- I'm moving back to my home town for a couple of months, it's a really long story. But it's going to a stressful couple of months.

Colleen

It's important to live you life now not when you've lost the weight

"Every year on your birthday, you get a chance to start new." - Sammy Hagar docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1nBMb
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BUDGETMAW Posts: 11,928
2/1/14 7:59 A

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Are you moving somewhere fun, Colleen? Good luck with the move!

I read a whole bunch of budget/frugal type books last year, Kris, and one of them talked about putting aside some money each month to buy things on sale and stockpile them. The idea is to have a little "store" of your own of things you have bought on sale, and then when you need something you just get it from your own store. That way you get everything on sale instead of having to pay what the current price is on what you need. And, if you're like me, things are never on sale when you need them!

I pretty much do this with meat, but that's about it. I eat very little canned stuff, and you can't really stockpile fresh veggies, though I do with onions when they're 99 cents for a three pound bag. They keep a long time. And cabbage and carrots. But that's about it. I should pay more attention to prices on non-food items - toiletries, paper products and cleaning products. Those I just buy when I need them.

OK, that's my challenge for this month! It's not exactly food, but it's close. I'm going to make a list of the non-food items I buy and price them at the different stores. Fortunately there aren't many stores so it shouldn't take long. Then I'm going to watch for coupons and sales. I usually just buy paper products at Sam's and the rest at Walmart, and almost never on sale at Walmart or with coupons. I have no idea whether Sam's is actually cheaper.

Thanks for the idea, Kris!

Edited by: BUDGETMAW at: 2/1/2014 (08:00)
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1/31/14 11:58 P

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My first goal is just for this coming week. I normally budget $132.50 per week for groceries. But I read about the $21 challenge on the other thread and decided to try it with a little modification. I'm going to try for $35 this week. $21 just doesn't seem realistic with a teenage boy in the house, LOL. And also not much meat in the freezer to use up. But $35 might be doable. Whatever extra I don't spend will be split between a medical bill and building up a grocery fund cushion to take advantage of good sales later and for months when we have people over for dinner or special meals planned.

One of the most important keys to Success is having the discipline to do what you know you should do, even when you don't feel like doing it. - Unknown


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1/31/14 11:25 P

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My goal for February is $50 dollars, we're moving this month. Actually in 20 days so I want to try to get through as much food in my house.

Colleen

It's important to live you life now not when you've lost the weight

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BUDGETMAW Posts: 11,928
1/31/14 8:16 A

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Thought I'd move the food budget thread over here to Challenge Central and call it a Challenge.

I need to take some papers to a new doctor and it's right by Walmart and Aldi, so I'll do some grocery shopping, too. So much for my $50 budget for January! I'm already at $66.89, and today's shopping will probably run another $25 or so. I had planned to wait until Saturday to do it, and get it into next month's budget, but I'd rather do it today, while I'm out in that direction anyway.

My "real" budget is $150 a month plus another $50 for eating out (which actually goes under the heading of entertainment/social activities), but I still want to eat out of my cupboards and freezer as much as possible, so mostly what I buy will be veggies and dairy. And eating out if the only reason I'm eating out is because I didn't get around to fixing and taking my food. I'm going to say $50 again for February. I have some veggies left and I will have just bought most of the month's dairy, and I have lots of eggs left from when I bought 10 dozen because they were on sale, and lots of meat in the freezer, so I should be pretty much all set.

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