What to Cook for Dinner?
Going through day three of this challenge is pretty much like our average everyday meals. I try to plan our meals from what we have on hand and then only purchase items during the week that are on sale to use at a later time or to fill in with our meals for fruit and vegetables. I have not always shopped like this. I used to make my list of what I wanted to cook and I would go purchase those items at the store. I wouldn’t consult the sales ads first. It did not matter to me in those days whether I spend $1 a pound for meat of $5 a pound, I just needed it for dinner. I never did figure how much we spent on food back then. There were times we would run short on funds by the end of the month but at least I had something to make for dinner.
The way I shop now is so different. I used to shop one store, now I shop in one month about five store sometimes six. I don’t shop each store every week, I just shop the stores with the best deals on what I need. It helps that two of the stores are within walking distance to me. I now plan all my meals around what I have on hand and what is on sale. The meat I purchase this week may not be eaten until next month. I try to rotate my stock on hand and usually do a good job of keeping track of what to use by when.
Even if you just put $10 a month towards purchasing a few extra items at a rock bottom price you can slowly build a stockpile. My stockpile took me about half a year to a year to build. My stockpile was a blessing recently when my son was hospitalized for a week. I was at the hospital with our son and my husband was going between the hospital and home with our daughter. I was so thankful to have some extra food stocked up in the freezer and pantry. I was able to tell my husband how to make up the dinners for that week with what I had stored up. He only had to go to the store after soy milk and dog food. Well no more rambling on for me onto our breakdown for today.
Breakfast (same old thing but I am not complaining)
Kids had toast with peanut butter and jelly, scrambled egg and oatmeal $.32 each or $.74 for both.
Husband had Toast with peanut butter and jelly and water $.21
Myself, I had cottage cheese with applesauce and water $.33
Our total for today’s breakfasts was $1.28
Lunch-sandwiches for everyone
Husband took to work sandwich, tortilla chips, cookies (3), a pear and a granola bar. $.72
Kids and myself all ate sandwiches with watermelon and a few chips and a cookie. $.53 each person.
Total for our Lunches today $2.34
I made a recipe we eat occasionally when I get keilbasa on sale. We had Keilbasa Skillet Dinner. It is an easy dish to make and includes potatoes, onions and keilbasa sausage. Then I add in whatever other vegetables we have on hand. Since I recently purchased a bag of baby bell peppers for $1.59 I used 3 of those in our skillet dish tonight. I also was able to purchase a couple of personal watermelons for $.50 each so I cut up one of those to have too. Our garden has really taken off with producing green beans. I think I picked about 4 pounds on Monday. So I cooked up a few of those to include with our dinner. I am counting a $1 a pound for the green beans even though we grew them ourselves to make sure to account for what I would purchase them for at the store if I had to buy them.
We also had a cookie for dessert tonight. Between the kids and myself we ate three cookies. I asked my husband how many he ate just so I could be accurate with this challenge and he ate 8 cookies. So our dinner total is a little high. I need to make some cookies and compare the price to store-bought. The store-bought ones run $.08 each cookie. So now I am curious how much a homemade cookie would cost me. The budget nerd in me will have to figure it out.
Total for dinner $4.73 (our highest cost meal yet)
Snacks for the day
My kids snacks again for all 6 are $.73 and they consist of peanut butter and jelly sandwich(just part of one not a whole one), lunchmeat and a banana.
After dinner snacks tonight
Cracker and cream cheese for my daughter $.38
Cereal and crackers for my husband $.13
My son and myself did not have anything extra tonight.
Total for our snacks $1.24
Our total for today’s meals ended up coming to $9.59 or $2.40 per person.
This is our highest total yet during the challenge. I now budget $10 a day to feed our family and as you can see from day-to-day the totals fluctuate depending on what we eat for the day.
I am thinking of trying a new challenge in a month or two to see how low we could get our food bill if we cut out the few packaged foods we still buy. I currently purchase chips, packages of cookies, tortilla chips, lunchmeat and granola bars on a regular basis for our family. I don’t know if replacing these items with homemade items would save us more or cost us more in the long run. That might be a good experiment to try for a month and see.
How much do you allow for your food budget each month?