Wow! This week is just zipping along for us. After we ended a busy month of June, we’ve managed to stay within our budget and I believe have finally after some tweaking here and there have established a better system for us to live frugally but still be able to work towards our future…newer house, newer car, more savings. We’ve always had these goals but were crushed when our hopes and dreams changed with the huge transition in income this past February (aka blessing in disguise).
One of the first steps we took when our household income changed was our budget. We prioritized our spending, cut out things we didn’t really need and I took another look at our grocery budget. I knew that with the resources I had we could cut our grocery bill. I now meal plan once a month. This system takes a little bit of effort, but as with any discipline, after a while it becomes second nature and produces some wonderful creative meals.
Now, I meal plan for the whole month, I’ve allotted a $250 budget for groceries each month. That’s cutting our grocery bill more than half. This will be for groceries (including pet food) and for the emergency pantry I’m building up. Building up an emergency food supply, is not just for a natural disaster. (I don’t expect any disaster to happen but if it does, we’ll be covered.) In the past, we’ve lost power and since we don’t own a generator to keep the well going or electricity we’ll be comfortable.
$250 may or may not seem like a lot of money per month for groceries, but I wanted to give you a realistic number on what we’ve been spending. I’ve pre-planned and made up a lot of ready made mixes last month and a couple this month for our pantry. The freezer is stocked with homemade breads, chicken and turkey meat for main dish meals, some Tilapia, frozen vegetables, etc. I don’t believe we’ll even come close or go over the amount we budgeted. If I spend less AWESOME! I can apply it to the next month, or add to our emergency savings funds.
Because I look for the best deals when buying my groceries, I’ve already stocked up on some of the basic ingredients I need to last the entire month flour, sugar, eggs, etc. I made two trips to Walmart, one was on the way back from the hubby’s doctor’s appointment so no gas wasted there. I picked up some items for our emergency pantry. For our emergency pantry, according to Off the Grid News, we can create an emergency pantry for 2 adults for as little as $5 per week. Since there’s 4 of us, I’ve doubled it to $10 per week. Rounds out to $40 per month. Just $5 per week (approximately) for 52 weeks…$240 for the year, times 4, that’s $480 per year. That’s not a lot of money, especially when you consider that you can spread the cost out over a full year. And, while the foods may not seem exotic or overly enticing they will sustain my family and they are nutritious. This is how many people live off their pantry.
Total Spent on Emergency Pantry Food Supply: $14.68. Leftover monies: $5.32 applied to next purchase where items may be a little higher in cost so I still stay within budget.
On my second trip to Walmart, I brought my monthly shopping list with me. Before I left, I shopped from our pantry first and crossed off what we already had. In this purchase, I got everything we needed for the month’s worth of meals plus a few items we needed for our camping trip. (I also use Amazon’s Subscribe & Save on items like laundry soap, paper towels and toilet paper. I was able to skip this month’s shipment because we still have a good decent supply.)
Total Spent on Monthly Meal Plan: $173.38
Monthly Grocery Budget Money Leftover: $91.30
I realized after putting groceries away, that I should have taken pictures of all of the items I purchased. Will remember for my next monthly grocery shopping post.
Now for the ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!
I’ve decided to share my new way of meal planning while continuing to live frugally, while still being able to share those quality family mealtimes here on Noel’s Kitchen Tips. Introducing…
Busy Mom Menu Plan….These meal plans will be now be based on a monthly schedule and they will continue to be based on exactly what my family eats (all of these recipes have been previously taste tested and approved by my family) during the month on our family’s own budget plan AND each monthly menu will include a full shopping list for the whole month that can be easily adapted for any size family. (I base my meal plans off of feeding 4-6 people.)
Plus, there will be lots of extra bonuses like my New Pantry Staples List to keep you stocked all month long with storage tips and more! I am also sharing frugal/ thrifty shopping/cooking tips and tricks to easily guide you throughout each month’s meal plan. And you’ll learn how to stock or keep your pantry stocked for emergencies. I’m still in the final stages of getting some last minute graphics and tips finished up on these but I will have more info for you and they will be available for downloading (hopefully) by the end of next week! So you’ll still be able to have a great frugal menu!