I bulk bought 3 weeks of groceries for the first time. After researching and also seeing the various menus people plan, I thought I would attempt it...or at least see how many weeks I can go with decent meals. I spent $275.99. It's over my goal of $75 per week. However, I am proud that I passed up buying a box of cereal for a huge bag of grits. The kids loved it for breakfast with milk and honey! Anyway, I'm hoping that making bread, waffles, muffins, loaf cake, and other items will save a huge amount. I also had to spend $49.73 at Rite Aid for one kid with the flu. I ended up spending $100 at the thrift shop. It included much needed larger clothes due to pregnancy weight gain and a bread maker. Thanks to Snafu's suggestion, the break maker is awesome and is now on the 4th loaf after experimenting! My family is stunned at how yummy the warm bread is. It's a huge change from what I remember (my parents had one for a month. No one ate the rock hard bread when I was younger, but a couple of decades later and the bread machine is half the size with double the fluffiness on the bread!). Also, I have made it a week making all homemade meals! Last night we had snow peas made with sesame oil, garlic, a little soy sauce, and fresh lemon juice with some salt along with rice and fruit salad. All around $1-1.50 per person Today, I made chicken noodle soup for lunch. It was a huge hit. Right now the smell of fresh baking bread from the bread maker is filling the home, yummy! I am seriously blown away at how much a week can change a few things like the budget, outlook, and meals. My husband is even asking what I'm making for the next meal, which is a first! lol. Anyway, the pantry is filled with pasta, rice, flour, grits, 2 cups of left over quinoa that only I seem to eat, and left over black beans. I'm hoping that these will pair nicely with my produce and frozen items for the later weeks.
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Everyday I have managed to home cook meals with some new bought items (such as flour, baking powder, etc) and have combined it with what I had in the pantry...the problem...oh, I'd say that a good 70% of the meals don't look that pretty, even though they taste good. I have been researching pretty much every night on various meals I think my family will eat. I was super proud that I mad homemade biscuits tonight! I ignored the comment from one kid that said "mommy, the biscuits look normal, but this gravy and sausage stuff looks like barf, but it tastes good." The first batch of biscuits I tried the other night were really hard and turned out more like scones. I found one that was yummy and easy to make. I followed a sausage and gravy recipe that I found online and had no idea how easy it was! The hubs asked where the biscuits came from... and looked at me with shock when I told him that they were made from scratch! Not to mention how happy he was when I told him that the meal averaged $1 per person give or take a few cents I think. We both came to an "aha" moment and realized why people buy such large bags of flour! I have also made pound cake too. I'm attempting bread soon, which was delayed after I had to buy measuring spoons from the dollar store...that's how frequent I was cooking, I didn't even have a tea/tablespoon, which I thought was there! So, now I'm on a quest for pretty meals that are budget friendly. I even checked out 2 cooking dvd's from the library, but they were more entertaining than usable or budget friendly. I actually enjoyed making the biscuits today, it was kind of therapeutic and I am hoping to take this approach more as much needed therapy for my pockets. The thought of my children eating and hopefully remembering yummy home cooked meals is nice too, but farther away I think since I literally came from a family of "non cookers." However, it is nice to know my family has been eating my food and that the stomach can't see half of it either for now. lol. So, on top of becoming better financially, I'm also hoping to become a better cook too. Any yummy and visually appealing meals you know of that kids will eat, send them my way! Cheers to eating yummy meals and not all the money
So, after calculating how many times I take myself out to lunch during the week while the kids are in school I got kind of sad because I realized how, um, kinda sad it was. I realized I take myself out (mostly cheapo places)so I can sit and eat without being interrupted and have some quiet time without being bothered. Not to mention, not having to cut someone else's food or clean up after 3 other people. However, it's never really 100% satisfying since I'm spending money I know I shouldn't be spending. Then I calculate how many other things I could buy with the money and it becomes this really depressing cycle where I self loathe afterwards every time without fail.
Over the weekend I decided to do research and try and cook at least most meals from scratch and or eat at home. I looked up a list of the cheapest foods on the market. Apparently, rice, pasta, black beans, apples, oranges, homemade breads, eggs, homemade soups, potatoes are on the list. I also decided to utilize the Pancake mix that's been in my pantry for a while and made waffles, along with the frozen fruit.
Then today I decided I would bake my own bread and biscuits...Have I ever tried to bake my own biscuits? The answer is a simple and resounding "No." As for the bread, I tried it once and after watching a youtube video of the recipe I used, I realized I did it wrong and gave up too easily.
So, today I bought the largest bag of flour that I have ever purchased (because I noticed for the first time that it costs half as much per ounce compared to the little bag I normally get on rare occasions), along with the yeast, salt, and baking powder for future mixe, oh, and potatoes. I was blown away that 3lbs was only $1.79. Now I also have to look up what to do with potatoes. I will attempt to make biscuits using the leftover pancake mix and the recipe I found online. Then I will retry the recipe for No Knead Bread that the online reviews seem to like...again and hopefully I do it right this time...like my finances.
As for the meals since Saturday...They've been pretty good, not in order, but got in the tummy.
*waffles and peach syrup (from frozen peaches)
*wings using the soy sauce and left over honey and oj
*rice, soy sauce, orange slices
*peanut butter spaghetti with ginger and sesame oil
*casadilla's with salsa
* crockpot bbq chicken legs and thighs (huge hit)
* instant mashed potatoes from pantry
* frozen green beans with butter and salt
* frozen fruit smoothie for dessert
Tomorrow will probably be left overs and maybe the bread if it rises correctly (and I didn't mess it up somehow). Happy and cheap eats for now at home!