Ready, Set, Go! Monthly Prepration

I am so happy to see some new people checking out my blog. Thank you! I am really just getting things started and have been still trying to find my “niche” I think some super awesome ways to save money, some creative ways to save money, and some tasty CHEAP RECIPES might just be where I am headed, with a little life thrown in. SO stick around! Leave a comment and let me know if there is something you want me to write about or you have a question!

It’s the beginning of the month and that means it is time to stock up the fridge and pantry. We made it through last month on our budget of $150 (click that little link o find out how I shop for a whole month and only spend $150!)  but let me tell you the last few days we had to get a bit creative. This tells me that our budget is working but I could maybe tweak it just a little, in terms of what I make and what we buy!

I just got out of the kitchen and spent the last 3 hours cooking! Here is what I made:

  • A Whole Chicken ($6.93 this was a 7.5lb chicken and came out to .93 cents/ lb)

I always start with the chicken and rotissorie it in the oven, since it takes about 2 hours. I then use every piece of the chekcen to make at least 3 more meals!

Split Pea and Ham Soup (Split Peas $1.19/ lb, Ham left over bone and meat from last month .85 cents/lb)

split-pea-soup

Chicken Stock about 72 oz (free!) This was just the left over Chicken carcus and shavings of veggies and “butt” ends all thrown in a pot with water!

  • chicken-stock

Chicken Noodle Soup (Free, Price already covered in the price of the Chicken and I made the noodles and Broth!)

noodles

Ham, Cheese and Egg Breakfast Sandwiches (english muffins 2 pks .99 cents each, 1pk sliced cheese $1.99, 12 eggs $1.49/ carton of 12) This made 12 sandwiches for $5.50!

Pickled Onions for Pork Tacos ($1.79 for 3lbs I used one onion so arond .44 cents, a cup of vinegar and some seasonings)

Yesterday we had to stop into Meijer for some things off our ordinary list… Hubby wanted Horseraddish sauce, Holy Cow is that stuff expensive. It only a root and some vinegar! So I made 6 times as much for the same price! $3.99 for the root and it makes 24oz! You get like 8oz for that price!

So far I have made 2 dinners and 12 breakfast meals I still have 1/2 a chicken left and I plan to make pasta with it as well as a whole half of a ham (in the freezer for later) I also have enough food left for 15 more meals and most of what I make will get doubled and will work for lunches and left over dinners.

We only spent $124.85 today and it took me about 3 hours to put together all the meals from scratch. It might have taken a little bit of my time today but it saves us SO much money by not buying anything pre-made or in a package, although I did let my hubby get a few bags of chips today as payment for all the dishes I knew he would be helping to clean up this afternoon! Stay tuned, I am going to start posting some super yumy, super easy, and of course super CHEAP RECIPES. If you would like recipes to anything here please leave me a comment. I would love to hear from you 🙂 Be sure to check out my previous posts to learn how to save money while still making yummy meals!

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5 Ways to Spend Less Money Grocery Shopping

Are you looking for ways to save money? Are you saving for a vacation, the birth of a child, a wedding, money to travel, the list of reasons why we need to save money seems never ending. Right now my husband and I are certainly in this same boat. We are looking to make some HUGE life changes (more to come one that in the near future ;)). These changes have really pushed us to scrape and save like we never have. Lets just say I have become pretty creative in the last 3 months! Here are 5 WAYS WE HAVE SAVED MONEY ON OUR GROCERY BILL:

  1. STOP SHOPPING AT EXPENSIVE GROCERY STORES. You are probably thinking well, of course, and wondering what I mean by this? I am talking about stores like Meijer, Kroger, D&W, Pebles; these are all well know grocery stores in our area. The ones that have all the fixings as I like to refer to them. The stores with the deli, coffee shop, cheese shop, susi stand, bakery… These stores have a TON of employees and they have to cover the pay for these employees too! We do 99% of our shopping at stores like ALDI, I LOVE this place! I might have to bring my own bags, bring my cart back up to the building, and the stores are smaller but since they are able to run to efficiently YOU save money too! The best thing about stores like this, they pass on the savings to YOU without sacrificing quality.
  2. MEAL PLAN. Now I do not mean that you have to sit and spend hours looking for tons of fancy recipes and filling in a super organized calendar. Let me tell you, no one has that kind of time and there is no way that you will be able to stick to that plan. I simply choose around 5-10 dinners per month. I do not choose certain days to have everything, things come up! I try to choose meals that are easy to make, and that will go a long ways and leave us with left overs. I fill in the rest of our nights with leftovers. You really can get away with only 10 meals a month if you plan it right. I promise!
  3. BUY LIKE ITEMS AND ITEMS THAT ARE FLEXIBLE. When I meal plan I try and choose meals that do not require a ton of different ingredients and I can only use for that dish. I also choose meals that I can by ingredients in bulk and use for more than one or two meals. I will write a more detailed post on this. But for example I will choose at least 3 meals that include potatoes because you save so much with you buy the big bag, but of they go bad before you eat them, you are just throwing away money. If I plan enough meals to be sure I use them all then I can buy in bulk and not be wasteful and I have enough for 3 of my 10 meals with just one item!
  4. LEARN ABOUT THE DIFFERENT CUTS OF MEAT AND TEACH YOURSELF HOW TO BUTCHER IT! I wont lie, this sounds a little daring, but it’s really not that bad, trust me. This method also saves you so much money. I bought fresh chicken breasts for .82 cents/lb the other day. I was able to get such a good deal because I bought them as a Chicken Split, all this means is that the breast meat has not been skinned and de-boned.  This sounds like a task but it really only takes 3 Easy Steps: Cut chicken from rib cage bones, pull out small attached bone at the top, pull the skin off. You are left with not only the chicken breast for the tenderloin as well, 2 for the price of one! SCORE! This works with pork, ham, and beef as well. I bought a 5lb ham for $4.29 the other day because it was not spiral cut and still had the bone, again a little work on my part but it saves so much money!
  5. USE EVERYTHING YOU BUY. Again, you are probably thinking of course! But, do you actually do this? When you cut celery do you cut off the “butt end” and throw it away? Do you throw away your chicken, ham, or beef bones? How about the skin, do you throw that away too? DON’T DO IT! USE IT! Last time I bought chicken splits I cut the breast off then took the bones and skin, the “butt end” of some celery I saved from another meal, salt, pepper, and some water. I threw them all in the Crock Pot and in 2 hours I had chicken broth to use in soup and many other meals. I didn’t throw anything away without using it and I saved the $3.95 I would have spent on Chicken Stock.

There are so many ways you can find to save a little money, it just takes a little creativity. Stay tuned, I will go into more detail in my next post about how to buy Flexible foods and how to put together a meal plan, that won’t take you all day to make. Also, if you missed my previous post  to learn how we spend only $150/ month on groceries! https://ourlittlewhitehouseblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/13/how-we-spend-only-150-month-on-groceries/

How we spend only $150/ month on Groceries

grocery-budget

I have to start by saying I am sorry I have not posted in FOREVER, I have been wrestling with the idea to keep this blog or try something new. I have also been trying to educate myself on how to better run my blog, or and how to pull permits to build a house. Needless to say, I have been busy!

On a better note, I have been working on our budget, and by working I mean we are on a STRICK spending FREEZE. Let me tell you this has not been easy with the holidays but the hubby and I have been doing amazing! I think it helps knowing every penny we SAVE is going towards building our dream HOME!

The first place I started working to cut out our spending was with our grocery bill. I feel like we spend so much more money when I want to live lazily. When I do not want to think about our meals each week and do not buy groceries in order to make meals. When I am lazy we tend to do two things that are terrible on our budget:

  1. Eat out/ Order take out
  2. Waste/ Throw away food, meaning we didn’t use produce before it went bad or I am throwing away left overs that did not get eaten 😦

Now I am not about to start telling you to make a meal plan and a calendar and be some super type A wife (even if I am I don’t even enjoy it!). What I am going to tell you to do are two things:

  1. Stop buying NAME BRANDS and/or shopping at large EXPENSIVE grocery stores. Here we have Meijer and D&W both have all the nice amenities like a Starbucks and a little Deli and bakery… Let me tell you these nice things are what make these stores charge more for groceries.
  2. Think ahead and have a few meal ideas. This does not mean you need to plan out the whole month day by day and have a color coded calendar and blah…blah..blah. I mean just think of about 5-10 meals you know you want to make for the month. I will write another post on the meals I have chosen for the month and how I am able to feed both me and my husband (who is a big guy and almost eats for two; with his physically demanding job he is hungry) all three meals a day for 30 days for $150!

When I am picking meals I try to pick 3-4 different meats, some stove top meals, some casseroles, some make ahead/ dual purpose meals, and some crock pot meals. This way I have options. I like to stick to cheaper meats like large halves of ham, buying ground beef in bulk, sausage, chicken on the bone, and my all time more bang for your buck meat PORK! Buy all your meat in huge pieces you can use a knife and cut them, you have a freezer so use these things! It’s a little more work but I am telling you it saves us SO much money! People I do not pay more than $2/ lb for meat, ever….

When it comes to vegetables I buy a lot of things frozen or in a can, they keep WAY longer and are very versatile. If I buy fresh produce I buy potatoes and onions, two things I know I will use up before they go bad. They also work in so many dishes and potatoes are filling! I try to pair foods together and make a filling meal so my hubby does not need/ want a snack later. I’m telling you my husband can eat!

Speaking of snacks, I do not buy them. They are expensive, no good for you, and not filling at all! Snacks are a budget buster for sure! Instead of bags of chips try to think of other things you can eat when you need a quick snack. Peanuts, any kind of nut, cheese slices, crackers, fruit, veggies… I buy very few pre packaged foods of any kind….

I do all of our shopping at the beginning of the month and buy all the things I will need for each meal. I buy bread and milk and pay close attention to the sell by dates. I usually have to make one more run to the grocery store for milk and bread half way through the month. This is another good way to cut down on spending. If I am only at the store 2 times a month I do not have as many chances to impulse buy! If I do buy something that I know will go bad rather quickly I am sure to use that item in a recipe within the first week of the month.

Once we get to the last week of the month I need to start getting creative, I have made myself not only not allow myself to run to the store for one or two items but also have pushed myself to come up with meals that will use only what we have at the house. Let me tell you I have come up with some AWESOME recipes, ask the hubby, he approves!

This is just a general over view of how I start my process to save money each month. We are saving close to $600 to be exact! I will get more into detail in my up coming posts. I will also share with you some tips and tricks to buying groceries cheaper than your local large grocery store, and how to stretch your groceries depending on the meals you make to last you the whole month! Stay tuned I have so much to share with you!