Thursday, October 31, 2013

Spending Freeze Adventure: Week 7 & 8 Shopping Trips

I know you're all dying to know how I did with the $1.61 I had left for two weeks so without further ado let me tell you. 

During week 7 (aka last week) Liam and I went to NO stores.  We spent $0 last week on groceries.  So yeah, I still had the $1.61 left for this week and I made it.  

Well sort of.  

Ok, I went over by $0.18.  But I really needed to buy some eggs so I could make cupcakes for Will's birthday.  Normally I buy them about 4 dozen at a time from McCord's because they sell them for $0.99/dozen every 4-6 weeks.  However they haven't had them on sale in a while and I ran out.  I was going to wait but birthday cupcakes for my man were practically an emergency so I stopped at Meijer and picked up a dozen for $1.79

Part of the reason we were able to make it work is because we spent several days with Will's parents and of course they fed us (quite well in fact!) so that was less food that we had to use from our pantry.  We also had someone drop off several bags of groceries while we were gone.  This was an amazing blessing that I'll go into a little more in another post!

So technically we didn't make it, but I'm good with how we did!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Spending Freeze Adventure: Week 6 Shopping Trip

Well, if you remember my last shopping trip post you'll recall that I changed my way of buying groceries for this month.  Previously I was only spending $10/week on groceries.  However when Meijer ran their "10 items for $10 and get the 11th item free" deal I decided to switch to $40/month (or 4 weeks to be precise) so I could spend a little more on that sale.  Last week was the first week of this endeavor and I spent $27.73 which left me with $12.27 for the rest of the month. So lets see how I did!

My first trip was to Sam's Club on Wednesday where I picked up 3 gallons of milk at $1.99 each.  I also had to purchase toilet paper because we're almost out and that's not something I want to run out of!  Thankfully Sam's toilet paper is always a good deal, often better than I can usually get even on Amazon.

My grocery total for this trip was $5.97

My "other" total for this trip was $17.47 (for the toilet paper)

Then on Friday Liam and I hit up McCord's for some bananas, eggs, raisins, and one avocado.  I forgot to take a picture of my purchases so you'll just have to imagine how artfully I could have arranged them for you *wink*.

My grocery total for this trip was $4.69

My grocery total for week 6 was $10.66 and my total other spending was $17.47

That leaves me $1.61 for the next two weeks.  This could get interesting folks so stay tuned to see if I can make it!

And just so this post isn't completely picture-less here's a picture of my ever present kitchen "helper"...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Spending Freeze Adventure: Week 5 Shopping Trip

I haven't had a chance to post about the Spending Freeze lately because I have been crazy busy!   Between potty training Liam, canning applesauce (my first canning experience ever!), and helping to plan and execute a fundraising banquet I haven't had much time to sit down, let alone compose a post.  Now that life has slowed down, with the exception of canning applesauce, I feel like I have time to give you guys an update!

I finally found time (and money) to go shopping last Friday morning.  So it had been 11 days since my previous trip.  Will gets paid on Thursdays so I wanted to wait until payday before I went again.  This was an "expensive" week for grocery shopping.  For those of you who are familiar with Meijer they had their "10 Items for $10 and get the 11th Free" deal going on.  And those of you who are familiar with me know that I have a hard time passing these deals up because they can be extremely good.

There were so many good deals in this round of "10 for $10" and I knew I could definitely spend more than $10.  Unfortunately I had a conundrum on my hands.  Should I spend more than $10 and stock up on some much needed items, or should I stick strictly to my $10/week?  It was a really hard decision but I think I came up with a good compromise.  I decided that this month, instead of having $10/week I would give myself $40 for the whole month.  That way I wouldn't have to scrimp on purchasing things we could really use in the near future that were part of the "10 for $10".

So on Friday I stopped at 3 stores with my newly potty trained little buddy!  Thankfully he lasted through all 3 stores without needing to make a stop.  I'm LOVING having him potty trained!

Anyway, here's a picture of the results from our shopping trips:

Our first trip was McCord's where we picked up a $0.99 clearance bag of plums, 2 bags of shredded cheese (cheddar and mozzarella) and a couple pounds of bananas.  The plums (there were 12) were in excellent condition, definitely not what you normally consider "clearanced".   Another reason why I love, love, love McCords!  My total for this trip: $5.38

After McCords we hustled on over to Meijer to cash in on the "10 for $10" deal.  We picked up the following:
  • 6 bags of pretzels (we use these for snacks and Will's lunch)
  • 4 bottles of salad dressing - 2 ranch and 2 ceasar (we use these for stromboli, pizza, quesadillas, and of course salads)
  • 4 jars of salsa (we use these in southwest chicken casserole and other Mexican themed dishes)
  • 2 cans of pumpkin (it was really hard to only buy 2 cans!)
  • 2 cans of refried beans (I know, I know, I could make them for less but with all the canning and other things I've been making from scratch this was a concession I was willing to make)
  • 2 bags of tortillas (ditto the above comment)
  • 1 bag of hot dog buns
  • apple juice
  • 2 packages of butter
My total for this trip was $22.35 

So the total for my Week 5 grocery shopping trip was: $27.73

I also purchased 40lbs of cat litter for $10.60 (a crazy good deal at Meijer and something I said we would continue to buy) and then Liam and I buzzed over to Walmart where I picked up a 21 quart canning pot for $21.17.  I really needed this pot in order to can  applesauce.  I purchased a pot a while ago that had been labeled "canning pot" but it didn't hold my quart jars.  Big problem!  Technically I'm not counting this as money spent because I used the money I make from teaching piano lessons which is not counted as part of our regular income.  We generally save this money to pay to have my piano tuned and for gifts throughout the year. 

Other spending: $31.77

By the way, if you're looking for a piano teacher for your beginner kiddos I've got openings!!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Spending Freeze Adventure: Week 4 Shopping Trip

I know, I know!  I just went grocery shopping on Friday.  In my defense I really only stocked up on basics (flour, milk, etc) so I decided to get my grocery shopping done early this morning in order to help supplement this week's meals.  Plus if you get to McCords (our awesome, little local supermarket) early enough you can get $0.99 bags of produce!

So without further ado here are the results of my shopping trips:

First up McCords!

Liam and I headed out bright and early to McCords and picked up the following:
  • 3lbs of bananas (7 bananas)
  • 2 15oz cans of kidney beans
  • 3lb bag of locally grown onions
  • 2 $0.99 bags of clearance produce
We got the following in our two clearance bags:

We got 4 tomatoes, 5 kiwis, and 4 lemons for $0.99!
In our 2nd bag we got 3 oranges, 1 grapefruit, 1 giant lemon (I think), and a 2lb bag of purple onions for $0.99!

I plan on zesting and juicing the lemons and then freezing the zest and juice for use in recipes later on.  I will also be dicing the purple onions and freezing them because they are nearing the point of "use it or lose it".  We will keep the other onions in cold storage in our basement with produce from our garden. If you notice, none of the clearance produce is in terrible shape.  I think I will have to toss one of the purple onions, but everything else is great!  Side note:  Liam had his first kiwi today and downed the whole thing in under 20 seconds.  I think he liked it...

McCords Shopping Trip Total: $5.15

Next Stop: Meijer!

I purchased the following items:
  • 3 boxes of Meijer Macaroni & Cheese
  • 2 cans of corn
  • 1 can of sweet peas
  • 1 bag of frozen peas and carrots
  • 2 Steak and Cheese Burritos
  • 2 Breakfast Burritos
  • 12 oz bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar (not pictured)
Apple Cider Vinegar was not my first choice for using one of my precious $10 but we have a fruit fly problem and I used the last of my stash yesterday.  I rarely, if ever, purchase frozen burritos, but at $0.16 a pop after coupons I couldn't resist. I can't even make them that cheap!  It also helped that the canned veggies and mac and cheese were both 3 for $1 this week.  I'm envisioning soup additions with those veggies!

Meijer Shopping Trip Total: $4.54

Grocery Shopping Trip Grand Total: $9.69!

So yeah, we slid in right under $10.  Don't worry, I'll be keeping you updated about how our meals are working out!

PS:  In case you're wondering about the first couple comments on this post... I accidentally published the post before I typed a single letter in the body of the post :-)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Spending Freeze Adventure: Week 3 & A Shopping Trip

We're just finishing week 3 of our Spending Freeze Adventure.   If you have no idea what I'm talking about check out this post here to find out more about the crazy adventure we're on!

This week we took our first official grocery trip after we spent the afternoon at ArtPrize. As I mentioned in my original Spending Freeze post I am planning to spend no more than $10 each week to feed my family of 3.   I know it seems crazy, but we do have a small stockpile of food in the basement so I think we'll make do for a while.  

Since we were going to be in Grand Rapids for ArtPrize we decided to do our shopping at Sam's.  With $10.  Yeah, it was a crazy idea.  To be honest if we lived closer to Sam's or Aldis I think I could do $10/week for food fairly easily.  However being 40 minutes away from the nearest Sam's and Aldis does not make weekly shopping there feasible.  That being said I knew my $10 for the week was not going to go very far, especially since I knew I could stand to stock up on flour (I'm baking my own bread now) and milk (it's only $1.99!), among other things. 

I started praying that God would provide more money for us to stock up on a few items.  After perusing Sam's website I determined that I could really use $40 to buy the following items: 25lbs of flour, 1 canister of basil (since Liam dumped mine and I use it a lot), 5 gallons of milk (we freeze it), salt, 2 rotisserie chickens (they're only $4.88!) and a pair of winter pajamas for Liam (they have the cheapest new fleece pajamas around).  I began praying specifically for that amount.  

God answered my prayer in two phases.  First, I suddenly remembered that I had gotten a $5 gift card from Sam's in the mail recently.  I was going to use it when we stocked up at Sam's before beginning the Spending Freeze but Will went for me instead and I didn't have a chance to give it to him.  So I tucked that into my wallet along with my $10.  Then, a couple days later I unexpectedly received $25 as a gift for something that I had done for some friends thus giving me the exact amount I had prayed for.

So we stopped at Sam's on our way home from ArtPrize and picked up the flour, milk, chicken, salt, basil, and pajamas.  Our total: $39.09!  So I guess technically we spent more than $10 but the money beyond the $10 didn't come from our bank account so I'm willing to let it slide. 

Then we went home and I made one of our favorites:  Southwest Chicken and Rice Casserole!

And lest you think we don't eat very well I'll recap a few of the meals from this week:

  • Cold Cereal
  • Baked Oatmeal
  • Toast
  • Fresh Fruit
  • PB&J
  • Deli Meat Sandwiches
  • Fresh Fruit/Vegetables
  •  Ham and Cheese Stromboli
  • Will was able to score free lunch at work several days this week
  • Leftover Chicken Teriyaki and Rice (with peppers from our garden) from last week
  • Chicken Alfredo Pasta, Zucchini sauteed with Italian Dressing and Tomatoes, Salad, Breadsticks
  • Ditto (we had it Tuesday night with Will's parents and then ate leftovers on Thursday)
  • Popcorn (because we leave for church on Wednesdays shortly after Will gets home from work I feed Liam dinner before we leave and Will and I have popcorn when we get home)
  • Southwest Chicken and Rice Casserole with corn on the cob (we'll have the leftovers next week!)
  • Pizza (our Saturday night/Sunday afternoon tradition)
See!  We're not going hungry at all!