$80 Per Week in 2010 — Week 14

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!”

This week I returned to way-below-budget shopping, mainly because we just didn’t need as much, and my freezers and pantries are about as full as they can get.  The non-perishable deals weren’t as great as in the past few weeks, so they didn’t need to be persued.  I did very, very well, I think, especially considering I have my dinner menus planned out for the entire month.

Another shameless plug for Scouting for Food, which starts  today, 4/10, with Scouts delivering door hanger reminders in nearly every neighborhood across Omaha.  Next week Saturday, 4/17, they’ll be by to pick up your donations of non-perishable foods for Food Bank for the Heartland, which serves 93 area communities.  Your donations may also be made at any area HyVee.  Check out the MAC site for info on related events for the whole family.

This week for just food I spent $46.01 — well under my $80 budget.  (This puts me at $157.53 under budget for the year!)  Last week I said my goal was 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.  I am happy to report that I am doing just that.  The frozen prepped vegs really helped this week, because they’re already chopped, and frozen at peak nutritional value.  Since the hand is almost full-use again, I can actually do more kitchen work, which saves money and provides quality control.  Delegating cleanup is actually more valuable to me right now than pulling out that Stouffer’s lasagne. 

As for rewiring my thinking, well, “it’s a journey.”  I knew at some level that a 14-year-old boy would be eating more than he did at twelve.  But I did not fathom how much more!  (What do I know?  I’ve never been a boy!)  So the time has come for that rite of passage into mom-of-teen chefdom I’ve heard tell of, into the great unknown world of even craftier ways with food.  Dinners that I’ve been making for four servings now need to be made for six, or even doubled.  Lunch fixings don’t last a full week anymore in the quantities I’ve been previously buying.  While I cut our milk consumption to three gallons per week this year, it’s pretty clear that needs to go back to four.  And I think our family may be keeping fruit growers around the world in the black this year.   (Yeah, I know, it’s a good thing.  We eat healthfully.)  So the journey continues.

I had a helper (DH) on my shopping trip this week, which was nice in that I didn’t have to lug too much stuff with my almost-healed hand.  But a couple bags of tortilla chips and some other unusual things ended up in my carts.  Hmm.  My weekly posts list the best deals for each store, but I often find other great deals, and end up not getting some of the loss leaders.  Here’s how my grocery budget held up this week:

Target:  More Ronzoni Smart Taste at 1.19 – .75 coupon = .44 (not on sale for 1.16 anymore, drat!).  I also did the non-grocery Soft Scrub Total deal for .79 each bottle, along with other deals previously posted.

Aldi:  They have the Fit and Active mini rice snacks back, in all four flavors!  I got one each at 1.99 of the chocolate, ranch and cheddar.  (The other is caramel.)  We’ll see how long these last.  Got the usual stuff here, including oat bran bread (still 1.19), milk (still 1.79/gallon), and  produce (grapefruit .29 each, romaine hearts 3/2.49).  Somehow I came home with a lone cup of dry split pea soup, “to try it,” I’m told.

No Frills:  Okay, so I didn’t have it in me to remember to PM here.  Next week.  (I have to say that I am continually amazed that the Wednesday NF ad flyers are inconsistent with the better deals in the store.  Our Wednesday mail did not arrive until amost 5 pm, so I relied on the web site again this week so I could get my shopping done right away.)  I got the pork and beans, Old Orchard juices, some brown rice (.98/1#) and bananas, lots of bananas.

BagNSave:  Here’s where the tortilla chips mysteriously appeared, Mama Lupe for .99, which is a good deal.  LandOLakes yogurts 3/$1, and I’m talkin’ 6-ouncers, not the weenie 4 oz cuplet packs; got lots for lunches.  The Parm was a great bargain, and the avocados are a nice treat.

What great deals did you find this week?  Leave us a comment.

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