Life. Love. Family. My Perfect Imperfection.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Six Ingredient Challenge: Week 5

Six Ingredient Challenge buttonJoin the Six Ingredient Challenge hosted by Hobo Mama and Anktangle!
We're on a six-week path to eat more whole foods, guided by one simple rule: Buy foods with six ingredients or fewer. And we're blogging about our journey on the way.
This week we're answering the question: How's your budget? What money-saving strategies have you been employing?
You can see all the responses to this question on March 7 at the link-up post.
To join in the Six Ingredient Challenge anytime during the six weeks, visit the sign-up page for a list of posts and to link up!

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I can't believe we are already in week 5 of this six-week challenge! No, you didn't miss a post for week 4, I actually forgot to write one. Oops! Oh well. 
The budget. I've actually been trying to bring down our weekly/biweekly grocery budget some. Jason thinks we spend too much for groceries ;) but the price of organics alone are crazy-high. However, they are so worth it, in my opinion. I can't drink non-organic milk any more without stomach issues and that means I'm spending $6.29/gallon for milk (store brand!). We have cut back our milk drinking some though so I'm usually buying 1 1/2- 2 gallons for a two-week period. This week I budgeted and spent $80 less than I typically do for the next 2 weeks. I will of course have to buy bread and milk next weekend as well as possibly some more fruit. We also didn't need a whole lot of other stuff (dog food, diapers, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc) so that saved us a lot this week. 

Eating from the pantry as well as finding recipes that use some of things we have and only needing one or two things for the meals has definitely helped lower the budget some. For example, we are having "spaghetti surprise" - we have rice, cream cheese and cheddar so I just bought sour cream, spaghetti sauce (which was on sale!) and ground beef. Since I always buy the organic ground beef from Costco and it comes in a three-pack, I was able to figure out 3 more meals with ground beef for the week from that! We also have lentils so I looked for a recipe that I could use them in and I found an awesome sounding one. It doesn't need meat, we have frozen homemade chicken stock and all we needed was some kale! $3 and there's a quick dinner! I'm going to also finally use some of the chia seeds we have in the cupboard as well as use up some more of our quinoa in a crockpot breakfast cereal. I hope it turns out good. 

I try to use coupons when I can and our local grocery stores - Kroger and Meijer - have e-coupons that you can "clip". I especially love Meijer's mPerks program because you can use both e-coupons and paper coupons on the same product and they double any paper coupons up to 0.50! Sometimes they even have specials for loyal customers and tailored-to-you coupons for items you buy often. I actually set up separate accounts for my husband and myself.

I'm not always good at buying things on sale, but this week I just planned to buy "fruit" and ran across strawberries for 10/$10 and bought 2 packs of them, and some others that were on sale. That way we have fresh fruits for snacks and to go with lunches. It's funny, I didn't buy granola bars again this week and the boys didn't even ask about them, as well as the gogurt! They are really doing well with this new change. I'm so proud of all of us!