Author Topic: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018  (Read 8464 times)

Novik

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #250 on: February 12, 2018, 11:44:14 AM »
Novik:  Can you please come deliver some of those leftovers to my house?  I'm still eating leftover Superbowl BBQ and an awful chicken/brown/broccoli rice dish that I couldn't inflict on anyone else.  :-(  I will happily trade you some really delicious green chile stew that turned out to be just a little too spicy and so will take about 2 weeks to work through. . . .

Maybe what we need is an MMM cooking swap!  Alas, I must turn down your generous chile stew offer, since spice and I are not friends. The chicken/broccoli/brown rice actually sounds like it could be really good though - sorry to hear it didn't turn out!
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PKate

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #251 on: February 12, 2018, 01:58:47 PM »
Today my friend and I got together and made a couple of gallons of chilli.  It was made with ground beef, ground pork, ground venison, and pureed beef liver.  These were all in our freezers along with peppers I froze from this past summer along with home canned tomatoes, home canned salsa verde, and dried herbs from my garden.  The meat came from buying whole animals directly from a farmer except for the venison.  My friend's DH is a hunter.  I add a small amount of liver because I get it when I buy half a cow.  Hiding it in chili is the best way for me to eat and not notice. The rest of the ingredients except for some spices came from our gardens.  We periodically get together to  can or batch cook.  It reduces the work,  we get to catch up, and both of us have food ready to eat in the freezer.  We plan these events based on what we need to use up or what the garden is over producing.  We have made jams, tomato sauce, relish, stews, chicken soup, chili, plus pressure canning meats and stock.   

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #252 on: February 12, 2018, 03:05:05 PM »
The chicken/broccoli/brown rice actually sounds like it could be really good though - sorry to hear it didn't turn out!

Well, the fact that I don't really like broccoli and just kinda tolerate brown rice didn't help.  :-)  The pain of trying to be healthy . . . . 
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Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #253 on: February 12, 2018, 03:12:29 PM »
Laura33, what kind of broccoli do you cook? I LOVE broccoli and actually prefer the frozen broccoli florets over fresh. Got to be careful not to buy the broccoli 'cuts'. They are CRAP stalks/stems and some florets. I sometimes buy this huge 3 lb bag of frozen broccoli florets at the store and break it down into more manageable portions. It is so good with just butter after a light cook. I steam in the microwave and it comes out perfect. I am sure brown rice can be jazzed up to taste good but I am a white rice person. Maybe someone could help out on add ins to flavor the brown rice. Garlic, onions, peppers, tomato sauce?

kaypinkHH

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #254 on: February 12, 2018, 03:51:44 PM »
@MaybeBabyMustache, totally what others have said (also Mint automatically breaks it out that way for me, I actually lump fast food and coffee shops together).

For us, fastfoood/coffeeshops are my MOST EVIL PURCHASES. I want those to go to 0. Normally fast food and or coffee shops means sh!t convenience food that I bought on the run, and for us it is laziness. January did include some big purchases (like a take 12 coffee pack) and timbits and pizza for moving help (Feb will have the same).

Restaurants though are normally with friends, or food styles we haven't mastered at home yet, so I don't feel as bad about it.

galliver

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #255 on: February 12, 2018, 03:55:28 PM »
One more trip and 2 more stores for us this weekend, under atypical circumstances. We went out of town for a wedding and stayed at my parents. They don't mind feeding us, but this time they were headed out of town themselves so their fridge was low. Picked up $30 of breakfast and lunch for 4 days. (I also stopped in grocery stores 2 other times, but it was entirely for gift-giving purposes--candy and cards--so not groceries.) We're at $110 for the month so far with a pretty full fridge (pretty low for this time in the month and usually $500+ total!)

The chicken/broccoli/brown rice actually sounds like it could be really good though - sorry to hear it didn't turn out!

Well, the fact that I don't really like broccoli and just kinda tolerate brown rice didn't help.  :-)  The pain of trying to be healthy . . . . 

You could try red rice if you have an ethnic grocery that stocks it. I find it a lot less...cardboardy, and maybe sweeter? We got a 3?lb bag from 99 Ranch fairly inexpensively, but I don't know what's available on your coast. Keep an eye out?

I also find that heartier grains (brown/red/black/wild rice, barley, farro, etc) work better with richer, heartier, saucier additions/toppings...like chicken marsala, mushrooms, sweet potatoes/root veg, etc. I would never substitute them in something like sushi. Kind of like how I wouldn't bake delicate pastries with whole wheat flour, but oatmeal cookies or bran muffins would work fine. Enjoyed a variation on this dish with red+brown+wild rice: https://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/wild-rice-pilaf-with-dried-cranberries-and-pecans.html

There werenít too many things on sale this week in the circulars, so I stopped at Aldi and Berkeley again on Tuesday before the prior weeks sales were over. I had a really hard time purchasing that expensive toothpaste. I actually put it to the side while checking out 🤣, but our teeth have become sensitive to cold after using harsh whitening toothpastes. Next time Iíll try and use a coupon for it.

My teeth became crazy sensitive around the time I got my wisdom teeth out (though dentists tell me it's unrelated?); I've been on non-whitening, anti-sensitivity toothpaste several years. I've had very good luck with the Colgate anti-sensitivity toothpastes (possibly better than Sensodyne); from what I've seen the Colgate ones tend to be cheaper ($3.50-4 vs $5+?); especially if it's not from a newer "line" of pastes and in a big tube. (Just make sure it has potassium nitrate.)

krmit

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #256 on: February 12, 2018, 04:31:41 PM »
So far I've only spent $11.05 on groceries this month (milk, eggs, and half and half), in my monthlong challenge to eat down the pantry at home. Still got plenty of rice, beans, canned tomatoes, various condiments, and grocery staples. Low on fresh veggies- out of potatoes and onions, almost out of garlic, peanut butter (!!) and cheese. On the plus side, I reorganized the various pantry cabinets and was able to consolidate a lot, found some more chocolate chips (yay!), and picked some fresh broccoli raab from the garden for dinner tonight.

I'm 90% sure I'm going to do an Imperfect Produce order this week (side bar - not a huge meal delivery kit person, but IP keeps perfectly good, if weirdly sized produce out of the landfill and this month, keeps me out of the grocery store, AKA temptation) because the only veg we have in the house is broccoli raab, half a cabbage, and half a head of celery to get us through the month. Not enough fresh veg for our tastes!

I also may need to pick up more flour, because I'm down to my last few cups in the 20-pound bag and I make all our bread at home. Bad timing to run out in no-spend grocery month - I think I opened that bag in December.

But even with those purchase in mind, I'm pretty sure I'll be under $100 for the month and will have a much more streamlined pantry!

Off the Wheel

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #257 on: February 12, 2018, 04:50:25 PM »
At about $90 for the month so far, so nicely under the $250 goal.

4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #258 on: February 12, 2018, 05:19:07 PM »
I've spent $1.99 on groceries so far this month.  I will probably do a big delivery on Saturday, but I'm trying to eat down my fridge and freezer this week. Lots of frozen broccoli in my future!

CrustyBadger

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #259 on: February 12, 2018, 06:48:14 PM »
My meal swap went great!  I received 8 delicious looking meals, all frozen and ready for crock pot, instant pot or sheet pan dinner and of sufficient variety (sausage, pork chop, beef, chicken with various vegetables and starches). Everyone made their favorites, and I still have one of my chicken pot pies.

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #260 on: February 12, 2018, 07:26:06 PM »
@galliver - Good thinking, I love red rice.  I think you pegged part of my problem - I was trying to re-create a rice and chicken that I remember from my childhood, but try to make it healthier, and it just ended up bland (but not in a ďgoodĒ/childhood memory way).  I think a pilaf with some deeper/stronger flavors would have worked better with the nuttier flavor of the rice.

@RoadRunner:  fresh broccoli.  I just donít like broccoli, but itís one of the veggies I will tolerate, so I was trying to work it in.  But the combo brought out all of the ďessence of vegetableĒ flavor I donít like, without enough other good flavors to tone it down. 

But, hey, I finished it off today, so we never have to do that again.  :-)
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Serendip

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #261 on: February 12, 2018, 09:16:44 PM »
I am so impressed with those low groceries numbers (especially those of you eating down the fridge/freezer)!
I am at $109 and still somewhat stocked..

my SO is not on the same page as me so he has reverted to picking up groceries often and I will try to do my biweekly shop and cook in batches. We keep our finances seperate so I will just do my own accounting :)

Tomorrow I will cook up a curried chickpea meal and then will brainstorm what to make for a Valentine's Day dinner.
Not usually my type of thing, but I have the day off so might as well make something tasty.

mountain mustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #262 on: February 12, 2018, 09:47:26 PM »
I failed at my goal of $200 for the month already :( I had an emergency wisdom tooth extraction last week, and ended up having to do an extra grocery shop for all soft foods (pretty much just dairy free ice cream which is $$, and applesauce and such). I was super bummed because I'd already gotten tons of fresh produce for the week, that I couldn't and still can't eat. I'm still hoping I'll come in under $250, which will still be my lowest month in a long time.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #263 on: February 13, 2018, 12:20:17 AM »
At $592 so far for Feb; goal is $700. Hmph. We may need to exercise more caution from here on out. The good news is that we have ingredients to make a few comfort foods, including turning the bland batch of Bolognese in the freezer into delicious lasagne. We're having a shit month, so comfort food is a good move.

Malkynn

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #264 on: February 13, 2018, 05:46:09 AM »
$84 so far this month for the two of us.
My goal is to be under $200 for Feb.

Granted, thatís artificially low because that includes using up over $100 of Vega One breakfast shakes, which we stocked up on last month.


formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #265 on: February 13, 2018, 07:44:13 AM »
I hope you don't mind if I play along too.... I know I'm late to the start.
Coming out of last year we averaged $1050 a month for food/gas. That's foe my DW, a newborn, and I.

My 2018 goal is to reduce that by at least 25%.

I've got a few items already in place:
- We used to buy individual servicing sized cups of rice or pouches. That's long gone.... buy in bulk now and cook when it's needed.
Or I'll cook enough for the week on Sunday for my lunch meal prep.

- Oatmeal... so long small boxes of oatmeal packs or 3 for 5 individual service cups....
It's now large containers of oats or I'll buy the Sams club sized oatmeal packs.

- Potatoes.... so long premade mashed potatoes or pre sliced and seasoned potatoes...

etc etc

I don't mind spending a little time doing meal prep because the savings are happening very quickly.

Welcome, Dapper!

I'm trying to cook more from scratch this year, too.  My kids think I'm being very weird, but were pleasantly surprised that oatmeal can come from something other than a packet.  It is amazing how much healthier we are eating and at how much less of a cost.

My goal is to be between $125-150 per week ($125 at the main grocery store plus a monthly Costco run of about $100).  That includes food for 5 people, 1 dog, and also household items.

My stretch goal is a total of $6500/year ($540/mo).
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AmandaPanda

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #266 on: February 13, 2018, 08:28:37 AM »
My meal swap went great!  I received 8 delicious looking meals, all frozen and ready for crock pot, instant pot or sheet pan dinner and of sufficient variety (sausage, pork chop, beef, chicken with various vegetables and starches). Everyone made their favorites, and I still have one of my chicken pot pies.

That is great news!

4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #267 on: February 14, 2018, 10:51:06 AM »
I've spent $1.99 on groceries so far this month.  I will probably do a big delivery on Saturday, but I'm trying to eat down my fridge and freezer this week. Lots of frozen broccoli in my future!
Still no new grocery shopping.

I started my crockpot this morning before work (a first!).  We will have chicken taco bowl for dinner tonight.  I used up our last can of black beans, two mostly empty bags of frozen corn, 2 chicken breasts (the last of the frozen chicken from a bulk buy a few months ago), and finished the salsa.

I had a work dinner last night, so I have leftovers for lunch today. 

I forgot breakfast this morning, so I pulled together a few things from my office (packet of oatmeal, almond butter, and dried fruit).  Filling and tasty!

If I get hungry, I have a Belvita package that I received on a Southwest flight last month.  I ate one for an afternoon snack yesterday. 

I am planning a large grocery shop (~$150) on Saturday.

haypug16

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #268 on: February 14, 2018, 01:21:21 PM »
So far this month I'm at $160.23. Hoping the second half of the month to spend less than that. I know I need to get some more coffee beans, milk, pastry flour, and produce. Hopefully that will be pretty much it and I can keep it around $200 or at least under $250.

CrustyBadger

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #269 on: February 14, 2018, 02:22:06 PM »
You all are so inspirational!  I'm already thinking about how to trim down NEXT month's grocery budget... LOL.  But I can do better the rest of this month too.

CutTheFat

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #270 on: February 14, 2018, 02:55:28 PM »
I'm sad to say, that I've allowed the grocery budget to get away from me over the last couple months.  So I'm reeling it in!  The good news is we have lots of reserves to eat from and won't have to spend much this month.  Last night I made 6 quarts of buffalo stew, tons of leftovers and the buffalo was given to us for FREE (and there's more in the freezer).  I defrosted pork chops for tonight, I want to make them special for my Valentine I'm thinking of serving them over polenta with some braised veggies.  So far for Feb we've spent $233.07  for 3 of.  I enjoy grocery shopping and love finding bargains and stocking up.  But I need to not go into certain stores when we don't need to stock up.  So the plan is to eat a bunch of the food that we already have and supplement with produce, dairy and eggs as needed.  I'm hoping to stay under $300 for this month!         

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #271 on: February 14, 2018, 03:53:17 PM »
Quick mid-month check in for us, and meal plan check in. We've spent $132.30 (budget of $200 for Feb, as we have a gift card for other spending).

Meal plan (as I expected it to be):
Here's what we've eaten so far:

Friday - we ate out for my birthday
Saturday - boys had soccer, so had a quick "freezer" meal. The kids had pasta from the fridge & the adults had pesto tortellini, served with salad & baked chicken
Sunday - kebabs & rice
Monday - ate leftover pasta, tortellini & chicken
Tuesday - leftover kebabs & rice

Mid-week, as we only cooked one big meal this weekend (as opposed to normal 3), this is where things get dicey. Rest of week plan
Wednesday - empanadas (freezer) + chicken. I'll have the last of some soup, and my husband will likely also have a kebab.
Thursday - spaghetti & meatballs
Friday - my son's birthday, so we're having pizza at the bowling alley.

3 of 4 birthdays in our family are in a 5 week span, so things get a little crazy.

krmit

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #272 on: February 15, 2018, 03:27:29 PM »
Well, we're in the second half of February and the no (low)-spend grocery month continues to stretch my creativity. Still got plenty of food in the pantry - it feels like I've barely done any rice and bean cliche meals. (Lentils and rice last week, and I'm planning chili for tomorrow)

Spent $25.46 on an Imperfect Produce box, mostly onions, carrots, and potatoes, which we were totally out of. My splurge was throwing in 3 avocados for $2 - when they're ripe, we'll have half-assed sushi rolls (with canned tuna) and delicious tacos.

The total spend for the month so far is $36.51.

I find myself actually tempted to eat out more, which is unusual. We are also continuing to be tempted by all the snacky things. We love our popcorn.

But the great challenge remains - as of this morning, we're out of peanut butter. That's one of my trigger foods, as in, "out of peanut butter? Time to go grocery shopping TODAY!" The only nuts I have in the house are pecans. That sounds absurdly fancy, but it would probably be a good stand in.

AmandaPanda

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #273 on: February 16, 2018, 10:59:11 AM »
krmit, I love pecans, and when we ran out, I begrudgingly started eating the walnuts, all in the name of saving money.

This weekend the kids and I are out of town.  I served up the Aldi grocery list and two recipes for the husband to have waiting for our week when we return on Sunday.  Turkey meat spaghetti for the kids, zucchini sausage ravioli from budgetbytes for adults, and salad for all.  I'm sure I will be cooking again on Thursday to get us through the remainder of the week.

Serendip

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #274 on: February 16, 2018, 04:13:33 PM »
Good job everyone :)

So far I've spent $153 this month which I am feeling pretty good about (last month's total was $550 for groceries, eating out and alcohol)

Heading to dinner at a friend's house tonight (will buy wine) and might make a coconut lentil soup tomorrow, which I have all the ingredients for..so will see how long until we do another shop.


frooglepoodle

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #275 on: February 17, 2018, 10:13:49 AM »
I'm right at my $300 goal for the month ($301.17, to be exact). I bought ingredients for freezer meals that won't all be eaten this month, so I'm upping the budget to $325 to allow buying enough fresh vegetables and other necessities like rice or tortillas if we need them.
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krmit

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #276 on: February 17, 2018, 11:02:34 AM »
Toasted pecans + salt + food processer = a perfectly acceptable fancy-pants peanut butter substitute!

I really think I'll be able to come in under $50 for the month. I'll need to pick up a few staples next week (coffee and flour) but otherwise should hold out for another 10 days!

icecreamcat

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #277 on: February 17, 2018, 11:40:30 AM »
DH and I are trying to reduce our grocery budget by another $400 this year to $400/month total. I made quarterly goals in Asana because thatís the way I roll. Goals for this quarter are to decrease overall budget by $100/month by eating out less and spending less money on alcohol.

Iím the one who bloats our budget with eating out because itís my favorite treat. Iíll eat out less by using PlanToEat to do meal planning, only eat out for social events, and batch cook lunch meals each weekend. It pains me to pay for PlanToEat, but it is helping a lot, so I'm using it at least for a year. Biggest success so far this month ó we had date night in for Valentineís Day. We made dinner together, drank some wine, and it was better than going out to eat.

My husband does most of the alcohol spending as he enjoys having a craft beer or expensive scotch after work. We are drinking tea in place of alcohol. My husband found some cheaper whiskeys at Costco that he enjoys (yay!), and heís aging one in a barrel I bought him for Christmas.

@krmit Thanks for posting how it went! That's a pretty cool substitution.

Laura33

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #278 on: February 17, 2018, 01:25:58 PM »
Well, I think I am going to be in trouble in a few months - just got word they are opening a new gourmet market literally two blocks away.  This is one area in which I am learning to use my innate laziness to my advantage: shopping requires effort (all the good stores are 15 minutes away), so if I am lazy, I have to figure out how to eat out of my pantry and freezer.  But now the laziness is going to induce me to spend more instead of less - oh, gee, I really donít feel like driving, Iíll just pop across the street. 

Worse:  they will have takeout sushi.  DH and DD love sushi.  Ugh.
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Roadrunner53

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #279 on: February 17, 2018, 01:48:41 PM »
I spend a lot on groceries but don't feel one bit bad about it. We eat at home almost 100% and eat what I would call restaurant quality food. If we were to eat out all the time, we'd spend much more and not have leftovers to eat for lunch or breakfast. We enjoy variety and trying new things which requires shopping for ingredients we do not have at home. We shop the sale flyers too. This week we bought an 8 lb chicken and poached it. Hub cut it up and we tossed the bones and scraps into the broth and I cooked it in the crockpot all night with celery, onions, garlic, carrots. Strained it this morning and will make a pureed white bean soup out of it. How can you beat the price of that chicken and all the broth I ended up with? The chicken will make a few meals and leftovers. So we buy bargains and then also buy expensive stuff like sea scallops now and then. Shrimp and lobster now and then. So my cheap chicken kind of offsets the expensive stuff! To each his own I guess.

zeli2033

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #280 on: February 18, 2018, 08:54:42 AM »
Update after shopping completed for next week: $517/$850.

Tracking along nicely although DH and I did succumb to getting takeout last night. We would have spent even less but itís was a good treat for us.

4alpacas

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Re: Reduce your grocery spend - 2018
« Reply #281 on: February 18, 2018, 05:06:19 PM »
We are currently at $99.50* for the month. 

I might pick up some more fruit and salad greens next weekend, but that should be under $20. 

Today, I prepared a batch of breakfast burritos for the freezer (whole wheat tortillas, eggs, spinach, black beans, cheese), a large batch of chicken curry in the Instant Pot (will freeze half), chickpea shawarma, and tripled the recipe for a cauliflower salad.

I also packed up the extra chicken breasts we bought in package of two and put them in the freezer.  These will probably be used to make shredded chicken in the Instant Pot.

*This includes delivery fees (yes, we get our groceries delivered), a few bags (oops!), paper products, toiletries, and cleaning products (bulk vinegar).