Saturday, October 22, 2016

$125 Monthly Grocery Budget for a Family of 5...Say What!?!? ~ What the Heck Did I Buy?

Now that's I've told you what all I do to prepare before I shop, I'm now going to answer the question "WHAT THE HECK DID I BUY?"  

I can answer that with one word: INGREDIENTS.  Prepackaged food costs more and you aren't quite sure what you are getting.  While I know it is more convenient, the cost savings is well worth it if you are sticking to a tight budget.  I do always buy a few prepackaged snacks as extra treats, but when they are gone, I put the ingredients to work and see what I can make.

I've found that the more ingredients I have, the more meals I'm able to throw together.  Here are some examples of INGREDIENTS commonly found in my home:

  • Baking: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, yeast, milk, butter, oil, cornstarch, etc.
  • Fruits and Veggies: fresh, frozen, and canned
  • Meat: ground turkey, ground turkey sausage, chicken, tuna, canned chicken, fish, and shrimp
  • Dairy: different cheeses, yogurt
  • Grains: crackers and tortilla shells
  • Spices: salt, pepper, garlic, cinnamon are staples and every now and then I'll add another one when the budget allows.

Here are some of the ways I make the INGREDIENTS work on a daily basis:

  • Instead of buying cookies and bread, make them.  With a bread machine, bread is super simple to make and makes your house smell so yummy!  Cookie dough can be made in bulk and frozen for future use.
  • Make a homemade pizza crust for a lot less than buying one in the store.  Add your favorite toppings and you've got a yummy dinner for your family.  
  • Keep pasta, sauce, and meat on hand and you've always got a great dinner.  We add cheese and call it a pasta bake.
  • Make refried beans in the crockpot.  Not only are they absolutely delicious, but one batch makes a large amount that you can use for months.  
  • Keep sides simple.  Put a piece of fresh fruit on the plate or heat up some frozen veggies.
  • Use up a bunch of random veggies by making veggie pot pie.  Put all veggies in the bottom of the dish and just top with one crust.  It saves money and calories.
  • Tortilla Shells are a life saver.  Make homemade burritos (which can be made in bulk and frozen) or individual pizzas in a snap.  Make wraps or cheese roll ups for an easy lunch.
Next Up...Tools of the Trade
What ingredients do you buy?

Check out the other posts in this series: Say What!?!?!Exceptions, Plan Before You GoWhere To ShopHow Often I ShopThe Two Cs, The Other C

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