Week 6 — What’s your number?

If you just started following my blog you might wonder how we came up with $100 for a budget? or how does a family with 2 growing teenage boys manage on $100 — they don’t! You need to work out a budget for your own family, but set a tough budget otherwise you won’t be saving.

Here are my general guidelines;

$50/adult/week, the challenge is when your children eat as much as an adult or possibly the lunch box goodies that you buy for them means that you need the $50/week to make it through the week.  I suggest if you have two school age children you count them as a “combined” adult.

If you have special dietary requirements, set a budget per month, say $100 and try to stick to it. There is endless recipes on the internet to experiment with, you will save more and it often taste better if you make it yourself.

This week’s spend: COSTCO… (first time in 2013) No Frills & Walmart (I used $5 in points to get a free snack for the kids and the salads) $108.05Image

3 bricks of cheese, mini cucumbers,3 cans of soup, 8pkg of yogurt, cheese slices, 4 pkg of frozen fish pieces, applesauce cups, bag of milk, kielbasa, ham hock, banana, 2 containers of blackberries, cantaloupe, cauliflower, 4lbs of apples, 8 sweet peppers, green onions, 6 oranges, strawberries, 3 large sweet potatoes, popcorn twists,DD’s bread, granny smith apple, rainbow salad, broccoli coleslaw, IL maple syrup, 18 eggs, 30 cheese strings, 3 jars of marinara pasta sauce & 8 cans of diced tomatoes.

Sunday – out at our friend’s daughter’s birthday party

Monday – fish cakes (leftover fish in the freezer)

Tuesday –  Chicken Breasts, sweet potato mash, Grilled Cauliflower

Wednesday –  Turkey Noodle Casserole with Peas

Thursday – Shake & Bake Chicken Drumsticks

Friday –  Pasta Bake

Saturday – white chicken chili

Emergency / Meat Fund $ -1.10

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Week Five – Are you hospitable or an entertainer?

We are starting a new month this week, at this point I have $200 at least in my pocket that would have been indulgences or food in the garbage (which IMO is way more sad) over last year! There might be some items that you are missing on fixed budget for groceries, whether it’s $100/ week like us or $200 if you have 3 growing  teenage boys, you have to sacrifice somewhere!

My facebook friend, Maggie asked me about entertaining/ having guest for dinner last week and there has been several blogs going around lately about the subject, my favorite is called “Thoughts on Hospitality”. It’s a great read and help me re-focus on allowing visitors to see us how we are everyday. I am no entertainer.. and certainly know that if I had to have everything perfect in a tiny townhouse with a 4 & 2 yr old, we would never have anyone over. We have our great  friend “Auntie” Sarah over most Tuesday nights before Bible Class, some weeks she comes in and there is a calm, nicely tidied house with a great meal on the table. BUT most weeks, I’m sure she thinks a bomb has gone off in our home for all the rumble she has to climb through to make it our dinning room table, the kid’s are not at their best right before our evening meal and the dinner is less than stellar… but she never complains, she’s happy to have a meal and I am happy for the night out at church and her company.

I truly love having people over to make a meal for them, to allow my kids to get to know our/their friends in a less formal setting is priceless, BUT it can be expensive. So here’s my thoughts on hospitality.

1. Bring back the potluck! – No where was it written that you have to do all the prep, cooking and clean up especially if it’s a larger group. If someone offers to bring, take them up on it. I’m always happy to bring when I go to someone else’s home. Pick a theme or a main dish and take it from there.

2. If “entertaining” is something that you are in too, maybe your husband’s boss comes over for dinner frequently, maybe you are a budding Martha Stewart or maybe you husband loves to grill steaks every time you have your in-laws over? Why not set a monthly budget just for that – we have a line in our household budget for “entertainment” and in the summer months – I’ve been known to throw a $25 steak purchase into that category!

3. Everyone loves a home cooked meal — in the fast-pasted world we live in you might be surprised by what someone deems as great food. My brother as an example loves meatloaf and even orders it from a menu in a restaurant  mostly because my sister-in-law never makes it!  Don’t forget if there is kids coming for dinner, pasta is always a great hit and is reasonable affordable. If I do make just a regular family dinner for guests I do try to make something nice for dessert, because dessert is a big treat for my family!

This week I found a bit of challenge, we were out of several things all at once!

Grocery Stores: No Frills, Zarky’s, Fortinos & Food Basics – total spend $107.89

36 large eggs, 2 small packs of Lipton’s soup, Oven Ready Lasagna Noodles, white sugar, 12 BS/SS Chicken Breast (3 meals), green cabbage, 2 cucumbers, green onion, pineapple, 2 pkgs of strawberries, 2 sweet potatoes, mini watermelon, 2 green zuchinni, 2 pkgs of frozen pasta, 18 jumbo frozen croissants, 2% milk,  3 lbs of ground beef, Josie’s pancake mix, coconut sugar, pkg of granola bars, 2 cantolupe, 12 bananas, 750ml cottage cheese, tortillas, reduced produce lemons & limes, Josie’s bread, 4 pkg of sweet peppers, fresh ginger, 4 Delissio thin crust pizzas, white mushrooms & 8 royal gala apples.

Menu

Sunday: Pesto Pasta

Monday: Shrimp Fajitas

Tuesday: Pork Tenderloin

Wednesday: Lasagna

Thursday: crustless quiche

Friday: meatloaf & mashed potatoes

Saturday: Pizza Night for Daddy & Sam, Josie & Mommy are out at Little Disciples Day!

Taking my emergency/meat fund down to: $6.95

Week 4 – Time to Reassess

Once a month, I go through one cabinet in my kitchen — my sundries cabinet… it’s sometimes not pretty but it helps me stay motivated with my meal planning! I pulled out 4 items that I will include in this week’s menu. This helps me stop buying another 10 cans of tuna when I already have a stockpile. My items include canned crushed pineapple, black beans, jar of Curry Marsala & a tin of dried bread crumbs.

Shopping at No Frills this week. $64.72

2 pints of blueberries, 2 containers of strawberries, 2 english cucumbers, (regular price for $18.96 but I price matched and got all six items for $7.98)

dozen eggs, Josie’s bread, english muffins, ww tortillas, celery,  2 -3lbs of carrots, basil, mushrooms, sour cream, egg noodles, jar of chopped garlic, 5 bags of avocado  Havarti cheese block, 3 lemons, fennel bulb, oranges, banana, cantaloupe, 1 kg peanut butter, 3 can’s of tuna, green onions, 2 lbs of butter, large bag of raisins & 2 bags of chocolate chips.

Shopping at Shoppers $0.46 ( I used my $10 gift certificate from week 2)

milk, 2 dozen eggs & 4 pkg of lipton’s soup

Menu

Sunday: soup & grilled cheese

Monday: Chicken Curry Marsala, rice & steamed broccoli

Tuesday: Whole Salmon with lemon & Fennel

Wednesday: Baked Chicken Parmesan & Spaghetti

Thursday: Turkey Sheppard Pie

Friday: Weight Watcher’s Chicken Cacciatore & Egg Noodle

Saturday: Pesto Alfredo Pasta Bake

Baking for Desserts & Josie’s lunches: Carrot Muffins  and Black Bean Chocolate Cake

Taking my Emergency/Meat Fund to: $35.66

Week Two — Getting in the groove

I did make a deal with my husband when we started this challenge this year that I wanted to grocery shopping sans kiddos, so Saturday morning I started out at 8:30am to tackle No Frills inspired by my Momstown Burlington friends to price match produce! I have been price matching dry goods for a while now but produce ~~ would they give me a hassle? No Frills was “no produce” on Saturday morning which was a bit of a disappointment. I manged to re-jig a few things on the fly but reminded myself that Friday shop is where it’s at if you want the deals.

Price matching isn’t that hard in theory but it does help to be organized; I’ve taken a few tips from our Momstown Message Board over the last year that have really helped. I always write the grocery store, size and price of the item I want to match on the back of the grocery list. Once I have located the item I usually put it in the basket with my purse along with the flyer and I always check out couponed or price matched items last, the cashiers always seem happier with that!

You will soon see that much of our groceries are fresh fruits and veggies. We always eat what is on sale and by extension what is in season. I ask my two-year old Sam last week what he wanted for breakfast and he said “just blueberries”, poor thing hadn’t had them in several months. I am still a busy mom of two so driving around to multiple store just doesn’t make sense for me, so price matching got Samuel 2 pints of blueberries and container of strawberries and a rather large cantaloupe and I spent $7, regular price would have been $14.10.

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The last tip is to think outside the box sometimes. My sister-in-law, Candice mentioned at Thanksgiving that a 3-bag of Neilson’s milk is always $3.99 at Shopper’s. (you can’t price match because Shopper’s is not considered a grocery store) This week I was out of always every paper product imaginable and Ed need razors desperately, they did have okay sales on and I had a coupon for the razors, paper towel and kleenex. I added on milk, eggs and some cream of mushroom soup which was 69 cent/per and that took me up to just over $75. Their weekend promotion was spend $75 and get $10 in a Shopper’s card (next week’s milk & eggs and Josie’s Valentines) and $10 for Tim Hortons!  I do keep track separately for household consumables and spend $100 per month this includes items such as kleenex, toilet paper, paper towel, medications, vitamins, probotics, diapers,or a new sippy cup for Samuel.

Spend: $86.48

milk, 2 dozen eggs, 7 cream of mushroom soup, fish crackers x2, pesto, frozen mixed veggies, peanut butter, cheddar cheese, 4 boxes of chicken stock, butter, crackers, pre-made biscuits, 4 loaves of Flax & quinoa bread ( 3 of these will go into the freezer for later weeks $1.88 you can’t go wrong) 2 loaves of Rudolph’s multigrain (Josie’s bread – no sugar), club pack of chicken drumsticks, bananas, blackberries, 2 pints of blueberries, strawberries, brocolli, cantaloupe, 3lb bag of carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, Dole Ceasar kit, 4 sweet peppers, green onions, 10lb bag of onions (hoping that the cold room keeps these okay – $1.88 so I can’t go wrong), pears, 10lb bag of potatoes & spinach.

Menu:

Sunday – take “in” pizza & veggies sticks $10.26 (sometimes it’s good for momma not to cook)

Monday – turkey dinner, stuffing from a box, mashed potatoes, corn (if you don’t have one in your freezer consider buying a utility turkey (some stores have them on sale for 99 cent/pound ) I usually get a 8-10 pounder – I cook it breast side down because I don’t care what it looks like – I makes the meat so tender. We will have this meal, I will freeze 4-5 others for fitijas, casseroles or even on pizza; plus make soup with the carcass. That is $2/meal for meat!

Tuesday – Pork Tenderloin & Cranberries (to use up from Monday night)

Wednesday – pasta bake (making turkey pot pie with tea biscuit top for my friend Joanne for dinner)

Thursday – shrimp & oven fried rice

Friday – Grainy Mustard Chicken  I have bone-in chicken legs so I’ll adapt the recipe to make that work

Saturday – Hashbrown Casserole for our Sunday School Outing

Meat/ Emergency Fund: $17.94