Thursday, September 4, 2008

Frugal $400 Failure

You may or may not remember my resolution to spend $400 a month on grocery/household items in 2008. Well, I'm just calling the summer a wash in that regard. June we were out of town. July I had to bulk back up on staples from being out of town. Then in August I worked and Sean was the shopper. I think we hit $400 by day 10.

But now I declare once and for all that the Frugal $400 challenge is back in session, my friends!! God has provided amazingly for our family in giving Sean some new opportunities for income by writing and speaking. In the past, I would have just sucked this money into the budget and relaxed a bit. However, this time I'm determined not to squander away the extra. We have actually set a goal to pay off the van in 2009. This is the first car loan that we've ever had and I can't wait to see it go! The sooner the better:)

So here I go again! I'll let you know how we are doing along the way.

I spent yesterday going through our freezer and cabinets to get an idea of what we already have. From this I've come up with this menu for most of this month:

Sausage Lentil Soup/Rolls
Barbecue Chicken Pizza
Tacos x 2
Beef Stir Fry
Asian Tilapia
Parmesan Tilapia
Sausage Quiche/Muffins
Spaghetti Pie
Beef pot pie over biscuits
Turkey Sausage/Green Beans/Potatoes
Italian Chicken and Rice
Baked Chicken Breasts
Tater tot casserole
Texas Beans
3 cheese ravioli

I'm realizing quickly from store prices that our $400 won't stretch as far as it used to even three months ago! I'm going to have to be wise to only make sure that the basics are covered before I start using coupons to buy convenience foods.

I'm going to be relying heavily on our Kroger's Manager's Specials. This will mean a few small trips a week, but well worth it for 1/2 off food.
Monday- bread products
Tuesday- Meat
Friday- Canned/Boxed foods
Saturday- Dairy

I'll be shopping Aldi for the rest of our needs as well as Sam's for some well priced bulk items like canned and fresh fruit. I'm determined only to shop the other stores (Meijer, Marsh, WalMart) if there is a free/nearly free items with coupons. And of course, I'll be back at CVS again. I have to say that I've enjoyed my time off there, but we've used up our stockpile and I'm in serious need of really cheap diapers. I'm sure they'll be happy to see my smiling face once again.

I'll let you know how it goes. How are you fighting the higher grocery prices this fall? Inspire me, please.


Tara said...

I tried going back to cash only in August. I came out pretty good, except when I didn't. Thanks for the reminder to go to the bank. :)

As for fighting food prices, our shopping here is pretty limited so I just try to be frugal when shopping and then be frugal on the other side by making sure we eat what I buy and make! :) DH takes leftovers for lunch, I limit my special coffees to once a week or less (and I like your idea of saving your change for the special addictions). I buy cheap bread (haven't gotten cheap enough to bake my own yet). The kids all eat what they're given so I'm only making one meal per mealtime. Etc etc etc.

Not very inspiring, but at least we're on the same page!

Monica said...

Monica, I'm with you on the the increases, even in the last couple of months. My budget is being stretched thinner and thinner. I kind of enjoy the challenge and the focus on using/wasting less. We have assigned a child to specifically look for leftovers in the fridge and make sure they get eaten at lunch time. My boys are especially hungry at lunch time and will eat just about anything we hand them! I too am stopping in at Kroger several times a week and just spin through looking for mark downs. I usually just stop in while we are already out, so I'm not making a "special" trip. I haven't been as motivated by coupons lately, we have become less organized and it just seems like work. I am doing more basic whole foods type shopping, while balancing reality and what I can do as far as cooking. One thing we are doing is eating more beans and rice with our meals. I buy brown rice (it's very filling) and make a large pot to incorporate in lots of meals...burritos, fried rice, in soups/stews.
Sorry to be so long, keep us posted on your contiued is encouraging to hear we're not alone in these efforts:0)

Catherine said...

Your dinner plans sound yummy! Do all Kroger stores have that same mark-down schedule?

Tisha said...

Monica, no ideas from me. I have been HORRIBLE this summer. I am hoping to get back into it this month... or next! :) I just have no motivation with coupons or CVSing.

Saralyn said...

I've got some canning to do from my garden stash and I'm going to stock up on some of the fresh fruit and veggie specials that our local markets are having right now to can or freeze for the winter. We've gone to no juice and have also been trying to cut down on our milk consumption. All my kids are old enough that they don't have to drink milk at all but we can easily go through 2 or 3 gallons per week. Now that it's $3 on sale, I'd like to get it down to less than 1 per week.

brooke said...

We have cut out all juices and have started drinking tea. At Walmart look for the Celestial Seasonings fruit sampler- caffiene free. It is priced at $2.18 and includes 5 flavors. Put 4 tea bags in a gallon or so of water and stick it in the fridge. If your kids revolt add a bit of sugar and slowly decrease until you are eliminating the sugar. If you have extra fruit you can cut up a bit and throw that in too. A box lasts us a couple of weeks and helps us revive us when we are sick of water. This is safe for babies and you get the benefits of the herbs. It takes no effort and the tea is ready in just a few minutes.

That is just one thing that has helped my family reduce the grocery bill!

mom24 said...

I wish I could inspire you here - but we aren't even close! Our budget is $400/2 weeks for only 6 people. I am trying to improve by planning, planning, planning but the non-allergenic foods are hard to come by cheap.
I will say that one of the things that helps is meal planning and NOT going to the store for little things because they alwyas seems to add up to more. So only 2 trips to grocery store per month.
Clothe daipers helps too - if you can stand it! LOL!
Keep working at it!

mindi said...

Good luck - I'm starting another budget and will definitely stick to it - I hope you make your goal!!

Mary@notbefore7 said...

Keep at it girl! Can't wait to see how it goes.

Les said...

Everyone check out smart ladies tell you the sales and put the coupons there for you! No time wasted researching they do it for you! A friend of mine spends $40/week for family of 5!!!