Finally getting back to blogging!! Our little trip went good and Cameron did great on his marathon!

I went shopping yesterday and spent $53.45 at HEB and saved $14.19!

  • Saved 99 cents buying HEB brand
  • Saved $7.70 buying on sale items – Tomatoes, grapes, pears, and apples were all on sale. I also got 2 cans of evaporated milk marked down on the clearance shelf for 50 cents each and a can of pizza sauce for $1.
  • Saved $5.50 using coupons – $1 off the Oatmeal Squares cereal, the coupon came with a sample. A coupon for a free zone bar I got in the mail.  Toilet paper coupon I got off of some TP packaging. There were also 2 in store coupons I used for bread and juice, which is a total of 5 coupons…but my receipt only shows 4 coupons…I don’t know which one didn’t get used, I guess I should’ve paid more attention.

I also went to Sam’s club and spent $26.55 on carrots, 2 big bag salads, 2 whole chickens and a block of cheddar cheese. I forgot my list and because of that I forgot to get milk, so I’ll probably be going back today. At least it’s on my way home from work! :)

Menu Plan

Breakfasts: Cereal, toast, eggs, oatmeal and breakfast burritos

Lunches: Sandwiches, leftovers and Cameron will eat out a couple of times

Suppers:

  • Fast Food – It was Monday night, I had almost nothing in the house and it had been a busy day, so we just went to Wendy’s that night.
  • Taco salad, chips and salsa
  • Supper-in-a-Dish – One of my most used crock pot recipes, it’s similar to shepherd’s pie.
  • Chicken strips, brown rice, salad and steamed carrots
  • Rotisserie chicken in the crock pot - I hope this turns out good! I’ll use the chicken to make sandwiches and we’ll probably have veggie sticks and fruit salad on the side.
  • Ramen noodle stir fry
  • Leftovers

What’s on your menu this week?

I needed to get somethings at Wal-Mart, so I got my groceries there too. They don’t have the handy-dandy  savings totals at the end of my receipt like HEB, but I did save  $1 on deodorant using a coupon I got with a free sample. I bought mostly store brand, which is a big savings too. I spent $29.41 on food groceries and $9.08 on non-food (toilet paper and deodorant).

I decided to pick up some smoothies from Flat Belly Organics and was able to get a free 32 oz. bottle of kefir there with a coupon that I got in the mail!

I also went to Sam’s Club to get milk and eggs and as I walked in, I heard over the loudspeaker that they were going to be giving away knives in the meat department, so I hurried over there! I scored two free knives (value of $5 each) and a cool little citrus juicer! Needless to say I was very excited! I spent $10.14 at Sam’s. So my total for food groceries this week is $39.55.

Menu

Breakfasts: BRANana bread (minus the chocolate chips and I used sour cream instead of yogurt), eggs, smoothies, toast, kefir, oatmeal and I might try this Amish Baked Oatmeal Saturday morning

My free knives and juicer from Sam's Club

Lunches: Sandwiches, leftovers and Cameron will eat out a couple times

Suppers:

  • Lentil barley soup-bumped from last week
  • Chicken quesadillas, chips and salsa
  • Pinto beans topped with cheese and crackers (I want to freeze half of the pinto beans for future meals) and steamed green beans
  • Salmon melts, steamed green beans and salad
  • Chili from the freezer
  • Leftovers

 

Most people buy milk, especially if their’s any little kids around the house. Here’s some ways to save a little money when buying milk:

  • Powdered milk – I know this used to be a big savings, but I’m not sure if it is anymore, you’d have to do the math and figure it out. It’s debated weather powdered milk really is as good for you as regular milk.
  • Stocking up when on sale – Since milk can go bad pretty quickly, I’ve heard of people freezing it, but I’ve never done it personally. If you do try it, make sure there’s room in the jug for the milk to expand as it freezes.
  • Using coupons – Occasionally I’ve seen milk coupons on athriftymom.com, but to be honest I’ve never used them.
  • Make sure it all gets used – Milk that is starting to go bad, but isn’t bad enough to toss can be used in baking.
  • Get the furthest away expiration date – Sometimes you have no choice on the expiration date, but occasionally I’ll see newer milk towards the back.
  • Buy the generic brand of milk.
  • Buy milk at Sam’s Club – According to my price book it costs $2.78 for a gallon of milk at Sam’s Club, and the last time I bought milk at HEB it was $3.38, both of those prices are for the store brands. That means that Sam’s Club milk is $.60 cheaper. If we use 1 gallon a week, I can save $31.20 a year by buying all my milk at Sam’s Club rather than HEB! That’s a savings in milk alone! What I love about this is how easy it is. I don’t shop at Sam’s as much as HEB, but I do drive by Sam’s everyday on my way home from work, so if I need to stop for milk it will only take a little extra time and no extra gas!

This post is shared at Tammy’s Recipes for Kitchen Tip Tuesdays.

Out of the $72.47 that I spent at HEB I saved $12.06! Woo hoo!

HEB and Albertsons Groceries

  • Saved $4.34 buying generic brand
  • Saved $1.72 buying sale items
  • And saved $6.00 using coupons! If you read my grocery posts, you know I don’t use coupons all that much. But yesterday was my coupon record! I used a few in-store coupons, 1 HEB coupon I got from their free magazine, and a Suave body wash coupon I got with my free suave samples.

At Albertsons I bought ground beef, grapes, cucumbers, and asparagus all on sale except the cucumbers. It cost $29.49, it would have been $10.92 more if I had bought the items not on sale.

And I went to Sam’s Club, but can’t seem to find my receipt. I think I spent between $30-$40. I bought sharp cheddar cheese, mozzarella, bread and milk.

 

Here’s my 2 week menu plan:

Breakfasts: Oatmeal, toast, eggs, smoothies, power pucks

Lunches: Sandwiches or leftovers with fruit, veggies, chips and salsa, etc…

Pizza Bagels-Super yummy and super easy!Suppers:

  • Bagel Pizzas (I’m working on calculating up the cost to see if it’s a lot cheaper than ordering pizza, if the results are good I’ll share them) UPDATE: Here’s the price comparison!
  • Stir fry
  • Bean burritos and chips and salsa
  • Pepperoni pasta bake and steamed asparagus
  • Egg salad sandwiches and baked sweet potatoes
  • Chicken fajita burritos with chips and salsa
  • Spaghetti and meatballs (thinking about trying crock-pot meatballs) and cucumber tomato salad
  • Reuben sandwiches (I totally forgot to buy the thousand island dressing and swiss cheese, so I’ll either have to go to the store or improvise, anybody out there have a good thousand island dressing recipe?) and steamed asparagus
  • White chili (and I’ll top it with tortilla chip crumbs)*
  • Crock-pot potato casserole
  • Leftovers

*Another great way to use up those tortilla chip crumbs is to use them in meatloaf.

 

 

An overflowing couch of groceries!

As I put all of my groceries on the couch for this picture, and I almost ran out of room on the couch, I was reminded how blessed I am to not only have plenty to eat and feed my little family, but also to be able to have such a big variety! It’s so easy to forget how much I have.

Anyways…on with the groceries. I went to HEB and saved $9.81 (by “saved” what I really mean is spent less than the original price, because I did have to SPEND in order to “save” that amount).

  • Saved $5.54 by buying generic brand
  • Saved $.27 by buying on sale items
  • Saved $4.00 by using in store coupons

At Albetsons I only bought a few things, all sale items (except the bananas, which right afterwards I saw they were cheaper at HEB, guess I need to finish my price book and carry it with me so I’ll know better next time). I saved $4.99 by buying sale items at Albertson’s.

I also went to Sam’s Club and bought some things. I was hoping I’d find some “Reduce for Quick Sale” hamburger meat, but didn’t. :( So I just bought it at full price.

My total for everything was $129.29.

$11.50 for toilet paper and some cleaning supplies.

$117.79 for food groceries, which I’m VERY pleased with! I tend to go crazy with my groceries the first trip of the month then leave only a little for the rest of the month, but I didn’t even spend half of my $250 a month goal! And I feel like I got lots of healthy food!

 

Here’s my 2 week menu plan:

Breakfasts: oatmeal, peanut butter granola (if I get around to making it), toast, eggs, smoothies, peanut butter power pucks

Gracia drinking a chai tea smoothie

Snacks: fruit, popcorn, trail mix, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt popsicles (just yogurt poured into popsicle molds and frozen)

My helper making trail mix with me

Lunches: Sandwiches (chicken, pbj, cheese or egg salad), bean burritos, chicken pasta salad, leftovers

Suppers:

  • Giso and Sopa Paraguaya – Giso is a very common meal eaten in Paraguay, it can be made with rice or noodles, but my favorite way is with rice, hamburger meat and potatoes. Sopa Paraguaya is  like a cornbread, but a lot better in my opinion. (I grew up in Paraguay as a missionary kid, hence this meal)
  • Roast (bumped from last week, this will probably last us for at least 3 meals)
  • Enchilada casserole, chips and salsa, sautéed zucchini
  • Pizza (I want to make enough to freeze some), veggies and dip
  • Stretched taco meat burritos, chips and fresh salsa, fruit
  • Taco salad with leftover taco meat
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches, steamed green beans
  • Chicken burgers, homemade oven fries and salad
  • Leftovers

 

I didn’t take a picture of my groceries this week. But on the bright side I didn’t have to buy any meat (other than sandwich meat) because I have a roast, whole chicken and some chicken breasts in my freezer! Yay!

I saved $6.75 at HEB:

  • Saved $4.43 buying generic brand
  • Saved $1.82 buying on sale items (ketchup, sweet potatoes, zucchini) I don’t think this counts the 2 items I bought on clearance because the packaging was damaged. I got a pack of 8 juice boxes for $1 and 8 lbs of cat food for $6, oh how I love clearance items!
  • Saved $.50 with Tabasco coupon I printed off.

My total in food groceries at HEB was: $52.70

I also went to Sam’s. I got cheese, salad mix and olive oil. And I spent $40 renewing my membership, which I think should count towards my grocery bill. My total at Sam’s (counting renewing my membership) was: $69.60

So my grand total for food groceries was: $137.20 bringing my total for this month up to $280.70, a little higher than my $250 goal, but I did spend $40 renewing my Sam’s Club membership. Hopefully my groceries will last for the next two weeks with only a small trip to the grocery store if I need produce or milk.

Here’s my 2 week menu plan:

Breakfasts: Chocolate zucchini bread (Recipe coming tomorrow, it’s my favorite sweet bread!), oatmeal, toast, smoothies, eggs, bananas

Lunches: Sandwiches, leftovers, bean burritos

Suppers:

  • Ramen noodle stir fry
  • Chicken spaghetti with sweet potatoes on the side
  • Pizza with salad
  • Chicken burgers with homemade oven fries
  • Chicken pasta salad
  • Bean Burgers (I’ve made bean burgers before, but it’s been a long time and I’ve never tried this particular recipe)
  • Roast (remember how I got buy one get one free?)
  • Stew made from leftover roast and if feel like it I might make whole wheat bread or biscuits to go with this
  • Bean burritos with fresh salsa, chips and avocados
  • Chicken strips  served over a salad
  • Leftovers

I have some brown rice leftover from last week. Any ideas on how I can use it? I’ve already wasted enough food this week, don’t want to waste more!

HEB groceries $97.67

Here’s my groceries for the first 2 weeks of July. I went to HEB, Sam’s Club and Albertsons.

How I saved at HEB:

  • Saved $11.41 by buying generic brand
  • Saved $1.36 by buying on sale items
  • Saved $3.75 by using coupons (in store Tabasco coupon,  in store, buy one get one half off make-up brushes, in store, buy Tostitos chips get HEB chips free, and a printed out Newman’s Own coupon)

My total at HEB was $97.67.

My Albertson’s trip I spent $38.20 and saved $31.38!!!! It was all done by buying on sale items. The 2 roasts were buy one get one free (perfect since Cameron requested a roast as his b-day meal). The chicken breasts, whole chicken, grapes, apples and corn were all on sale too.

It seems like HEB’s everyday prices are generally cheaper, but Albertsons has some great sales, especially in meat. So I’m trying to mostly shop at HEB and stop in at Albertsons for any great sales.

Sam's Club and Albertsons Groceries. Saved $31.38 at Albertsons!

And I spent $43.44 at Sam’s club.

My total in food groceries is: $143.50, leaving me with $106.50 for the rest of the month, which I think is do able, especially since I have 1 roast and 1 whole chicken in the freezer that I’m not even planning on using yet, so I can use them later in the month.

My total in non-food items is: $35.81, leaving me $4.19. I bought toilet paper, toothpaste, aluminum foil, laundry detergent and make-up brushes, I don’t think I’ll have to buy much more in this category this month.

Here’s what’s on the menu plan for the next 2 weeks:

Breakfasts: Granola, oatmeal, peanut butter power pucks, toast, smoothies, eggs

Lunches: Leftovers, sandwiches, burritos

Suppers:

  • Roast with carrots, potatoes, gravy and rolls (my mother-in-law brought the rolls). And whole wheat honey carrot cake for dessert. This was Cameron’s birthday meal.
  • Stew or pot pie made from leftover roast and rolls
  • Black bean quesadillas, fresh salsa and chips, grapes
  • Salad with hard boiled or deviled eggs, some sort of fruit
  • Chicken and brown rice made with homemade chicken broth and steamed broccoli
  • Stuffed peppers made with leftover brown rice and black beans, apples and cream cheese dip from Tammy’s Recipes
  • Chicken strips, corn on the cob, millet
  • Ramen noodle stir fry (if there’s any leftover millet, I’ll throw that in too)
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches (with slices of tomato in them if there’s any left), veggies and dip, mangoes
  • Chicken burger sandwiches, homemade oven fries, salad
  • Chicken quesadillas (with any leftover chicken), fresh salsa and chips, apples and dip
  • Leftovers

I’m realizing that planning my meals for 2 weeks, I don’t have to come up with 14 different main meals, between leftovers and eating out I don’t usually end up making every meal I plan.

HEB groceries

Here’s my second update on my June Challenge!

HEB

Here’s how I saved:

  • $2.96 by buying store brand
  • $13.20 by buying sale items (squash, grapes, mangoes, potatoes, canned tomatoes, shampoo and conditioner, and the energy teas were on the clearance shelf.)
  • $2.37 by using coupons (a Tabasco coupon I printed offline and an in-store coupon where I got a free loaf of HEB bread if I bought a loaf of Nature’s Own)

Total food groceries: $58.38

Total savings: $18.53

Albertsons

Albertsons was having a a good sale on boneless skinless chicken breasts ($1.69/lb.).

Total: $8.85

Total savings: $1.64

Sam’s

I got spinach, Parmesan cheese and reduced for quick sale hamburger meat.

And I bought cheese, spinach, eggs, carrots and tortilla chips as Sam’s earlier this month, but never got around to recording it on here.

Total from both trips: $50.34

Total saved: $2.39


So my total for groceries so far this month is: $189.86, which leaves me with $60.14, which doesn’t sound like a lot but the food I bought should last me for 2 weeks, so I think I’ll stay under this month! =)

And by using my grocery shopping strategies I saved $22.56 this week!

I haven’t tallied up my non-food groceries yet or eating out yet. Maybe I’ll post them at the end of the month.

Here’s our 2 week menu plan:

Breakfasts: Oatmeal, cream of wheat, toast, smoothies, eggs

Lunches: Leftovers, sandwiches (sandwich meat, chicken or pbj), bean burritos, leftovers

Suppers:

  • Salmon patties (these were on my last menu, but we never ended up having them)
  • Veggie soup and sandwiches (I have some broccoli stems in the freezer and some wilting celery I’ll use in this, among other vggies too)
  • Baked potatoes with chili (chili already made in freezer)
  • Black bean quesadillas
  • Chicken and brown rice
  • Taco meat burritos
  • Taco salad (with the leftover taco meat)
  • Meatloaf and potatoes (I’m going to try using corn tortilla chip crumbs in place of the regualr crumbs in the meatloaf…we always have so many chip crumbs in the bottom of the bag!)

    Taco Meat

  • Chicken spiedies (this is a regional food from the area I was born. I’m going to make them as our Father’s Day meal).
  • Egg salad sandwiches
  • Bean burritos
  • Ramen noodle stirfry
  • Leftovers

Side Dishes: salad, veggies and dip, potatoes (fries, mashed potatoes), carrot raisin salad, chips and salsa, grapes, big soft ginger cookies , and one night we’re going to someone else’s house and I’m bringing dessert, I think I’ll make chocolate wacky cake with peanut butter icing.

This is a kind of random post, but I thought I’d share a couple ways I used up some leftovers. First of all we had a whole bunch of hot dogs leftover

Cameron eating our leftover hotdog-chili concoction.

from Gracia’s birthday party. And other than just eating hotdogs as they are, I decided to chop them up small and combine them with the leftover chili also from the party. With the hotdogs choped up so small, you hardly noticed them in the chili.

I also had some spinach. I like to buy big things of spinach at Sam’s Club. We eat it in salads and in sandwiches in place of lettuce, but when it starts to get a little wilty, it’s just not as good. So then I like to steam or saute it. My mom gave me the sauteing idea, she had some at my cousins house once. It’s super easy, just heat up some olive oil in a pan and saute the spinach until wilted. You can saute onions and garlic in it too if you want. When it’s done add salt, pepper and garlic powder (if you didn’t use fresh garlic). It’s really quick, healthy and yummy! And best of all, keeps you from throwing out the spinach! =)

So, this past month has been hard (if you wanna know why click here)and I haven’t kept track of our purchases. And it was very interesting, because when I decided I had other things to worry about other than adding up all our expenses, I started to see myself not caring. I’d think, “it doesn’t matter if I spend a lot on groceries, after all I’m not going to add it all up this month.” What a reminder that it really does help to keep track of where our money goes!

So this month I’m starting all over again, but I’m going to try to a challenge. The lowest I’ve had our grocery bill has been about $250 a month. So I’m going to try to see how low I can get it this month. I really want it to be under $250, and hopefully a lot under! I’m going to keep track of all the food I buy and I’ll keep you posted. This is only for food items and does not count toiletry items or eating out, however I’ll keep track of those things too and maybe show you the results.

Here’s my strategies for keeping our grocery bill low:

  • Buy mostly generic brand.
  • Shop at Sam’s Club (using my price book to make sure what I’m buying there is actually cheaper than other stores).
  • Buy sale items (checking out sales online before hand).
  • Stocking up on good deals that won’t go bad before we can eat them.
  • Going to multiple stores when there’s really good deals.
  • Cooking with cheap ingredients (beans, potatoes, oatmeal, rice, in season produce etc…).
  • Wasting as little food as possible. I’m even thinking of maybe keeping track of all wasted food. A lot of other blogs do that.
  • Going grocery shopping every other week instead of every week (if I plan well enough hopefully I won’t even need to run to the store for milk or produce in between my regular trips).
  • Cook with food I already have (pantry and freezer).
  • Use any coupons I find on internet, get in the mail or see in the store (but only if it’s something I actually use).
  • Cooking from scratch, rather than buying already made meals.
  • Plan, using what I already have, sale items and coupons to help me.

So in conclusion I want to keep our food groceries well under $250. It’s my personal challenge for the month of June. Anyone else want to join me in a grocery budget challenge? How much do you plan on spending for you or your family? How do you plan on keeping under the budget?

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