$80 Per Week in 2010 — Week 13

I’m on a mission this year:  spend $80 or less per week on groceries for my family of four!  After reconciling all our expenses for 2009, all the while remembering the splurges during a special family celebration and replenishing of food storage, I realized I could and would do better in 2010.  With the skills I’ve obtained, and the deals on some web sites I’ve discovered, “I hereby pledge to lower my food budget this year!”

HAPPY EASTER!  Lots of folks (many visitors in need of “a little help”) in the stores this week, and lots of deals on Easter celebration foods.  Busy, busy, and nice to see lots of excited faces.  As for me, I did well staying within my budget, but did stock up on some freezer extras (and now I’ll officially back off on that, I promise).  Here’s how I fared and additional deals I found that weren’t already posted:

BagNSave:  I found Pillsbury cinnamon rolls for 1.67 – .40/2 coupons, which I decided to get for Easter morning instead of trying to make them myself (see disability whine below).  I also got a bunch of cayenne pepper to ward off The Rabbits (Thanks to the ladies at Curves!  It works!), but I think I’ll record that as a gardening expense.  It was good to get the Campbell’s soups for .05 each.

Walgreen’s:  I know!  But I had  to go here to seek out a hand brace  (which I did not find), and did find giant quasi-chocolate bunnies for $1.99 (Palmer wax-chocolate).  They’re pretty much just for show in the baskets.  Gifts, definitely not food!

Target:  (I was there primarily to fill the prescription (see below) and to seek further the hand brace.  Of course, all the various braces were on clearance, so there was nothing left for me!  Ack!)  I did get Banquet meals for #1’s lunches for .89 – 1.50/4, making them .52 each.  And eggs for .99/doz.

I have to say that frozen  processed meals are not my ideal for my teen’s lunches.  However, planned leftovers aren’t making it to the fridge as intended anymore, and these meals are in the interim (no pun intended, CHS) just the base for a lunch that includes fruit, water  or milk, and additional easily grabbable real food.  I’m glad he has use of a microwave in the Commons (used prior for Momma’s frozen leftovers), and who can pass up .52?

Aldi:  The usual, of course.  And family-size bags of garden salad were just .39!  (Mix with darker greens, of course.)  The price of tp (different manufacturer, it seems) is down to 4.69 from 5.99.  Milk is still 1.79/gallon.

Baker’s:  (I ran into an old pal at Baker’s and sure am glad!  Felt I was being nudged to go earlier than planned, and something good is in the works now from this meeting.)  Anyway, I thought the Target Stouffer’s lasagne deal was good, but this one is better.  Same lasagne, 3.99 each w/card.  No coupon this time, but that’s still $1 less per meal than before; no Haagen Daz, though.  With my current situation (see below), I figured these might not be the healthiest options (Can you see I’m trying to fend off Jamie Oliver?!), but it’s what I got right now, and I’ll add my Aldi green salad and steamed Calif vegs.  In that vein, I also picked up some frozen chopped onions, mirepoix blend, pepper/onion blend and California blend (cauli,broc,carrots) for $1 each and they serve 4.  Not Cheap, but less chopping pain, y’know?

No Frills:  Baby carrots are not as nutritional as full-grown carrots, but they are peeled and you don’t need to prep them!  Mine at .99/#.  I also was informed that there were no more canned green beans in the basement pantry, even though just last week I got boatloads.  I assumed I accidentally donated them to Project Hope, so I got lots more with their 3/$1 deal.  Imagine my surprise to find seven cans neatly stacked at the front of the shelf!  *sheesh!*  More for the food drive.

This week for just food I spent $62.96 — well under my $80 budget.  (This puts me at $123.54 under budget for the year!)  My goal for the coming weeks is to find a way to minimize the work, maximize the nutrition within that constraint, and rewire my brain and habits to make more food for quality leftovers.  That last one’s the real issue.  “Change?!” 

It’s hard to stay focused when you don’t have full use of all appendages.  My hand was, mmm, “hurt” in what is hereafter being called “the unfortunate gardening accident” a few weeks ago (it involved a heavy log, a tarp, and a teenager — and,  of course, me).  This week my left hand swelled and hurt like the dickens.  I got it “taken care of,” but it’s still painful.  The point is that when you aren’t used to not using the tools you’ve had all along, it can be diffult till you get used to it.  And I hope I don’t have to get used to this.  But this is what convenience foods are for, in my opinion.  Ideally, I would have a bunch of homemade family meals (and lunches) already in the freezer.  But I don’t, and shame on me for that.  I’ve been reading the “nutrition” labels on these convenience foods (the processed ones, not the vegs), and considering how much I can let #1 do in the kitchen to not have to serve these.  We will be eating more nutritious meals, I’ll have you know, and this stuff will not be standard fare, except on the days/nights when time is of the essence and I’m the only chef available.  More in another post.

As for the budget, I only include food items consumed at home or for lunches.  But there are lots of deals out there for new cleaning products and other household items.  Now we’ll see more spring cleaning deals, I’ll bet.  Like the Soft Scrub deal, and others.

What do you spend on groceries each week?  Let us know!

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