How I Cut Our Grocery Budget In Half + A Yummy New Recipe

To be fair, I’ve really only tried this new system for one week, but this week, I did cut our grocery budget in half.  Here’s how:

We were running to the grocery store or stopping by it on the way home from work about four times a week.  It was bordering on crazy- no one wants to go to the grocery store that often.  And, with no plan for our food, we were out of things all the time, which meant that at least one extra time a week, I’d tell Nathan just to go out for lunch because I’d open the fridge and we’d be out of bread or deli meat or some other crucial lunch ingredient.  We used to be better about meal planning, but since we moved into our house in June, our “normal” fell apart.

So I went back to our old system of planning every meal for the week, and shopping accordingly.  This is what I used back when we lived in our apartment (the first year we were married), and at that time we were consistently spending about $50.00 a week.

Yesterday, I sat down and made our meal plan for the week.  While I kept an eye on the price to make different meals, I wasn’t necessarily looking for the very cheapest meals I could make.

Monday:

Breakfast: Oatmeal

Lunch: Leftovers

Dinner: Roast in Crockpot, Spinach Salad, Cheesy Bacon Oven Chips

Tuesday:

 Breakfast: Oatmeal or Scrambled Eggs, Grapefruit

 Lunch: Chicken Soup & Grapefruit (Leah), PB&J, Carrot Chips & Orange(Nathan)

 Dinner:  Tacos

Wednesday:

 Breakfast: Oatmeal/Scrambled Eggs, Grapefruit

 Lunch: Tacos, Oranges

 Dinner: Leftovers from Monday night

Thursday:

 Breakfast: Waffle with Peanut Butter and Maple Syrup

 Lunch: PB&J, Carrot Chips & Chocolate Chip Cookies

 Dinner: Chef Salads

Friday:

 Breakfast: Oatmeal/Scrambled Eggs, Grapefruit

 Lunch: Lunch Out (Nathan), PB&J, Leah

 Dinner: Out

Saturday:

 Breakfast: Shepherders Breakfast

 Lunch: Leftovers

 Dinner: Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

Sunday:

 Breakfast: Breakfast Burrito (Egg, Cheese, Tomato & Pepper in Tortilla)

 Small Group Snacks:  Popcorn, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Carrot Chips/Ranch

You might notice I skipped Sunday lunch and supper.  Typically, we have lunch at one of our mom’s houses.  Dinner on Sundays is usually something light, especially since we have snacks afterwards with our small group.

We get our meat once a year from my Dad, who raises Angus cattle.  The only meat I bought for this week was a package of turkey bacon for the Shepherders Breakfast (Hashbrowns, bacon and eggs), and a very small ham for the chef salads.  I didn’t have to buy grapefruit either…we have about 100 grapefruits because an older couple at our church found out that I love grapefruit, and they brought me back a TON from their trip to Texas.

Still, I bought the typical amount of groceries that Nathan and I would need for a week, and instead of spending about $100.00, our bill yesterday came in at just $47.88!  All it took to make this change was a plan.  Dave Ramsey would be proud!

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Cheesy Bacon Oven Chips

My students are on spring break this week, so I’m working only about half of what I usually do.  That’s why you might actually see a decent number of blog posts this week!  Anyway, I’ve decided to make some of the things I pin on Pinterest this week, since I have extra time.  Last night’s thing was Cheesy Bacon Oven Chips, and they’re definitely going to be made again!

I started by cutting 3 medium potatoes in 1/4 inch slices.  Then, I boiled them in lightly salted water for 5-7 minutes.

Cheddar Bacon Potato

I sprayed a baking pan with PAM Olive Oil spray.

Then, I put my potatoes (water drained, and patted dry) on the baking sheet.  I covered them with another thin layer of PAM Olive Oil spray.

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I ground some pepper on them, but skipped salting them since I figured bacon and cheese would make them salty enough.

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I sprinkled each potato with some Real Bacon Bits, and a pinch of cheddar cheese.

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They went into a 375 degree oven for about 5 minutes.

loaded oven chips dip

(Photo from Vittles and Bits)

The recipe called for dipping them in a chipotle ranch sauce, but I was in a hurry, so we just dipped them in a little bit of ranch dressing.  Yum!  I’m definitely making these again!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day + Lucky Charms Cupcakes

I hope all of you had a great weekend like we did!  This was our first weekend together since we’ve been done with the big remodeling projects at our house.  We did a lot of this….

100_1908….and this.  Basically, it was a relaxing weekend in which we didn’t get too much accomplished.  Oh well, you need one every now and then.

Photo on 2013-03-13 at 09.08

My fun project yesterday was making some festive cupcakes for the Sunday night small group we have at our house.  All it took was a box white cake mix, green food coloring, packaged frosting (the fluffy, whipped kind) and Lucky Charms.  Some desserts I can justify as healthy, but definitely not this one.  It falls in the “festive” category.

Green St. Patrick's Cupcakes

I dyed the cake batter green and when they came out of the oven, since I was in a hurry, I popped them into the freezer for 5 minutes.  They were cooled off enough at that point to frost and decorate.  Cute and easy!  It would be a fun project to do with a little kid!

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Practical Storage (Bathroom Organization)

Nathan put up glass shelves something like these in our bathroom a few months ago.  Since then, I’ve “decorated” them with piles of clothes and wet towels.  When we were getting ready for our home appraisal last week, I was getting the bathroom spiffed up (painting trim, touching up walls, sealing the tile) and decided it was time to do something with the shelves.  It took about 5 minutes and cost me nothing since I only used things I already owned.

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I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money to decorate the shelves.  And, although we have great storage with those in-wall cabinets, we don’t have room on the pedestal sink for things that would normally be sitting within easy access on a countertop.

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So, I started pulling things out of the cabinets for the shelf, and got some practical, pretty storage for FREE!

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The towel is a match to the one I posted about here.  I bought the glass jars (actually plastic) at Walmart a couple years ago for just a few dollars.  They put q-tips and cotton balls within easy reach.  On the second shelf, a bottle of lotion, 5 bars of soap stacked up and a toothbrush holder, also found at Walmart a few years ago, finish it off.  As silly as it sounds, it has been so nice to eliminate the steps of opening and closing cabinet doors to reach this stuff!

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