Saturday, October 12, 2013

Stretching your grocery budget!

I have 9 days left to stay within my new monthly grocery budget of $300. I had been spending at least $360. My grocery budget includes pet food, toiletries, cleaning products and household expenses such as batteries, refrigerator filters,etc. I have to make this work since my income has dropped by nearly $400 a month.

I'm always thankful when I can stretch our small income to meet our needs and even a few wants.  My husband reminds me that we have more than so many. I've prayed hard and worked hard this month to keep my grocery budget under my new target of $300. I previously had been spending at least $360.  But, the work is not done just at the grocery store.  Once I bring the food home there is work to be done in stretching what comes through the doors.  I'm always looking for new ways to make the items last longer.  It's like a double savings.

Artichokes (Yellow bags covered with Vaseline to trap white flies)

Here are a few things I do to stretch what I have on hand:
  • Tomato sauce (rinse out the sauce left in the can).
  • Coconut milk ( Add up to 50 % water for recipes).
  • Less meat and double other ingredients. 
  • Hairspray (water added up to 50%).
  • Eggs (water replaces an egg when scrambling). 
  • Washing machine rinse water runs into garbage can with a hose to water plants. 
  • Vegetable leftovers frozen and added to soups or stews.
  • Shampoo (water added to stretch it). 
  • Soap ends (I'm saving these and will make a crocheted sleeve to use them again). 
  • Mascara (water added when it's almost empty to stretch a little further).
  • Face makeup (water added when it's almost empty).
  • Toothpaste: I cut open the tube to use the last amount.
Here are a few things I did in my home this week:

1.  I pulled out all 3 bread makers this week. I remember reading years ago at Laine's Letters how she kept extra equipment on hand if she could find it cheap. I was given 2 of the bread machines and bought the other one for $10.  I made 3 loaves of white bread for my mom. She loves it. I also made 3 loaves of wheat bread for my husband's lunches. I've never priced out the cost of each loaf but I know it's cheaper than store bought because I pay less for 10 pounds of flour (which make a LOT of bread) than I do for 2 loaves of bread.

2.  I had a difficult time grinding the Stevia into powder with my coffee grinder. I think it's fine enough to put into my baking recipes though. I'm looking forward to seeing how it tastes in my low carb muffins. I hope to post that recipe soon. 

3.  I'm sewing a couple of neck pillows for a friend. I had some old T shirts put aside to make rag rugs but decided the material would be perfect for the pillows. There are so many things you can do with old T Shirts.

4.   I preserved my fresh basil in ice cubes.  I'll take them out of the tray and put them in a plastic bag. This winter I can just throw a cube or two into my soups for that wonderful basil flavor.

5. A dear friend gave me a bag of baking apples from her trees. I peeled and slice and froze them for holiday pies.

6. I'm on Goodwill's email list to be notified for their $1 sales. I was able to find 2 pairs of pants and 6 blouses (and another one for my sister) for $1 each. I paid less for 9 items than I would have for 1 new item in the stores.

7.  I have been setting aside $5 a week to stock my pantry if I find a good sale. This week I found mayo and SF syrup on sale for a dollar less than normal retail.

Outdoor canning 

8.  My daughter in love gave me a bag of pecans and I still have some walnuts left that need to be cracked. I tried waiting until the end of the day to crack them while watching TV but I'm always too tired.  I decided to crack a few while talking on the phone. If the conversation is 'light' then it doesn't distract me. I was able to crack a small bowl full this week and put them in the freezer for Christmas baking.

9. The garden is still producing a lot of green beans. I found a new recipe that was wonderful!

Spicy Sichuan Green Beans

 10. I'm still working on Christmas gifts. I'm nearly finished with one sewing project. I'm using the afternoons to sew for 1 hour. I'm so glad that I was able to start early on Christmas gifts. It will help prevent last minute stress and save money.

So how did your week go? I love learning from you gals. Do you have anything to add to my list of stretching what you have on hand?

Blessed to be a keeper at home,

Monday, October 7, 2013

Monday Menus

My menu last week worked well! Several times I referred back to it. The menu helped me stay on track. It also helps me realize I can make it another week without going to the store. Hopefully! :-)


    Breakfast: Scrambled egg, small bit of potato, 1 hotdog, kale (FG)
                                              Low carb milk (for husband)
     Lunch:  Hot Link into 1/2 sandwich (husband), I had peanuts, hamburger
     Dinner: Used a gift card from my husband's birthday to eat out. FUN! 

     Breakfast: Low carb muffins with coconut milk shake (berries FG)
     Lunch:      Cuke, red onion, avocado salad, boiled egg with Italian Dressing
     Dinner:     Spaghetti sauce over spaghetti squash, broccoli (FG)

     Breakfast:  Scrambled eggs with turkey bacon
     Lunch:      Chicken and Kale Soup
     Dinner:     Barbecued Chicken, yam, fresh steamed green beans with garlic

     Breakfast:   Low carb pancakes (extra fried egg for husband)
     Lunch:        Chicken and Kale (FG) Soup
     Dinner:       Spaghetti sauce over spaghetti squash (FG)

     Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, potato, hot dog, kale
     Lunch:     Hot dog sandwich (husband), cuke salad (red onion, avocado, hot dogs) (me)
     Dinner:    Mackeral patties, fresh steamed green beans (FG) with garlic, 1/2 potato

     Breakfast:  Low carb pancakes
     Lunch:  Chicken sandwich (husband), chicken salad for me
     Dinner:   Chile Rellenos  (FG)

     Breakfast:   Low carb shake (berries FG)
     Lunch:      Chile Rellenos
     Dinner:     Fish and fried okra (FG)

FG= From our garden

Snacks: Low carb apricot tarts, sunflower seeds, carrots and ranch, apples, coconut milk Popsicle

What are you eating this week?