Budget Grocery Shopping and Meal Planning

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Myron's Mom

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I am in the midst of a 2 month freezer pantry challenge.

I started 1/1 and didn’t pre shop like some did to “stock up”. My last regular grocery shop was early December and a quick stop 12/23 to pick up produce etc for Christmas and New Years. I gave my self a 100$ budget per month for fresh produce and dairy. I shopped mid January, spent 80$ As we had no produce or dairy except a few onions and a potato.
I did plan ahead for super bowl Sunday. I set somethings back in the freezer (bag of shrimp, ribs, etc) so I don’t break the budget in February.

There is a small pile of things in my pantry that need to be used before they expire. Some items I don’t even know why I have them. Freezer wise we are using everything I have put up. I tend to “save” things like my freezer jam etc. Why?, I made it for us to enjoy. We are enjoying everything now.

What I’ve learned so far:
(1)We have a ton of food! We have eaten well all month except for a few new recipes we didn’t like. I think we should get through February without any problems. By the end of the month we will be out of meat and poultry which is fine.
(2) I need to take a closer look at what we buy. I have things in my pantry that I stocked up on that we don’t use that much. I tend to buy specialty items for recipes I never make. Also 40lbs of chicken breast is way too much. I got an outstanding deal on them. I vacuum sealed them so they last for ever and ever and ever. We would do better with a smaller amount.

Currently I’m re doing my master shopping list. Will continue to re evaluate my grocery shopping as we go through February.
 

halimer

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Aug 30, 2008
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Some items I don’t even know why I have them.
I have the same problem! Also, I buy things to try and if I don't like them......some stuff I can pass on but not all!
 

sweetpumkinpye

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I gave my pantry a good clean out just after Christmas. I was pleased that I did not throw out much at all. I do have some green curry paste that I bought for a recipe that will need to be used up. I do pick up the occasional "bargain" and then work it into my meal plan and other times I make the plan and then purchase but there always seems to be bits here and there that need using up.

Groceries are still sky high here. Last shop was the most I have spent in over a year and there was nothing special in my trolley, I need to work harder to keep to my budget.
 

AnnieClaus

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I have been way better of using what I have on hand and stretching it out.

As a single person, I often buy packs of something for a recipe but have way too much left after the recipe.

For ex: tortillas. I try to find small packs, but particularly corn tortillas, they do not come in small packs.
I was proud of myself recently when I used four tortillas for something and had a few left.
I thought, "What can I do to use these up?" Had some cheddar cheese on hand- Quesadillas!!!!!

I'm trying to be better at thinking that way. Sometimes it may not be what I really want to eat but
I do not want to waste. Everything is too much $$$!!!!!!!!!!!!

Myron's Mom- You have done great with the challenge!!!

Annie
 

jampss

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Happy to read these good things happening. I am still doing a "use up pantry/freezer" thing so not really interesting meals, but it's ok.

I just saw this on YT ...

 

sweetpumkinpye

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As a single person, I often buy packs of something for a recipe but have way too much left after the recipe.
People must think that it is easier/cheaper to feed a single person and I am sure that is not always the case.
 

Ahorsesoul

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For ex: tortillas. I try to find small packs, but particularly corn tortillas, they do not come in small packs.
I was proud of myself recently when I used four tortillas for something and had a few left.
I thought, "What can I do to use these up?" Had some cheddar cheese on hand- Quesadillas!!!!!
Corn Tortillas you can also freeze between wax paper And heat them in a toaster.

This guy has some good ideas and tell what to do if they are fresh, a few days old and then older.
 
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Lori K

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Nov 13, 2018
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To all you single ladies, I'm telling you, teach yourself to cut a recipe in half ... unless you like reheating, and reheating, and reheating the same thing multiple times in a week. Cooking 2 servings, means dinner with leftovers for lunch, a second dinner in a day or two, or repurposing the leftover portion into something else.

For ex: tortillas. I try to find small packs, but particularly corn tortillas, they do not come in small packs.
I was proud of myself recently when I used four tortillas for something and had a few left.
I thought, "What can I do to use these up?" Had some cheddar cheese on hand- Quesadillas!!!!!
You can also cut your tortillas into wedges (6 or 8 to a tortilla). Lightly spray a cookie sheet and put them on it, and lightly spray the top of the wedges with baking spray, and bake for maybe 10 minutes at 350???? It's been awhile since I did this, but it works. Just watch them so they don't burn. Fresh made tortillas for the football game.
 

missjane

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Oct 13, 2007
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I have been way better of using what I have on hand and stretching it out.

As a single person, I often buy packs of something for a recipe but have way too much left after the recipe.

For ex: tortillas. I try to find small packs, but particularly corn tortillas, they do not come in small packs.
I was proud of myself recently when I used four tortillas for something and had a few left.
I thought, "What can I do to use these up?" Had some cheddar cheese on hand- Quesadillas!!!!!

I'm trying to be better at thinking that way. Sometimes it may not be what I really want to eat but
I do not want to waste. Everything is too much $$$!!!!!!!!!!!!

Myron's Mom- You have done great with the challenge!!!

Annie
I have ALWAYS wondered, first as a single college girl and then, as my own children went to college, and now, as 2 people (but with DD26 added back in) why in the world items like tortillas, buns, etc. don't come in smaller amounts. I think they would make a fortune and are missing a big market.
 

AnnieClaus

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Jane- I have thought that too.
Or with sauces- I wish they made smaller jars of things.
I often waste stuff like dijon mustard because I may need a Tablespoon of it for a recipe and then the rest of the jar just sits there.

Annie
 
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jampss

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@Ahorsesoul LOVED the corn tortilla vid!! :)
@missjane and @AnnieClaus Yes, I hear ya. Although, I LOVE Dijon mustard and put it on my sandwiches or make a mayo Dijon salad dressing. But I like to search for "What can I substitute" for an item that I know I won't use after the recipe. I have been amazed at what things can be used in place of other things.

I just went to WM and used my IBOTTA app thingy, which I haven't done in a loooong time ... and had a good time, like a game, searching for and finding and scanning bar codes for 11 items. I saved $14.77.
 

Lori K

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I have ALWAYS wondered, first as a single college girl and then, as my own children went to college, and now, as 2 people (but with DD26 added back in) why in the world items like tortillas, buns, etc. don't come in smaller amounts. I think they would make a fortune and are missing a big market.
Jane- I have thought that too.
Single-person household here ...

In the Chicago area, many stores carry a brand of bread and bread products made by the Lewis company. They package 1/2 loaves of their breads and the stores often carry 4-pack packages of hamburger and hot dog buns. If your store carries that brand, you may want to ask about the smaller packages of buns.

Even though they may be more per-ounce, I often purchase the smallest size of condiments, just because I know I won't go through the jar in a year or more. I also purchase the smaller sizes of canned vegetables for myself, especially ones that I can't get a handful of fresh. I also like the Jiffy mixes and Martha White muffin mixes, since they make a smaller quantity. When making pancakes or waffles, I'll mix up a 1/2 recipe and freeze the extra waffles.
 
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jampss

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About half way down Mandy's web page is a free download for "substitutions"!

The Page Says:
"Do you ever find yourself stumped in the kitchen when trying to do conversions or figuring cook times? Or, you may need to substitute an ingredient and you aren’t quite sure what works best. I created this chart to help with all of that and more! Download it below!"

 

teachermomof2

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Oct 27, 2007
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I have ALWAYS wondered, first as a single college girl and then, as my own children went to college, and now, as 2 people (but with DD26 added back in) why in the world items like tortillas, buns, etc. don't come in smaller amounts. I think they would make a fortune and are missing a big market.
Since the kids have moved out, I freeze smaller portions of buns and bread. It keeps things fresh and we waste less. Depending on the grocery store, I can sometimes pick out the number of buns that I need from the fresh baked bins.
 

jampss

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Expired food dates!