Peapod Grocery Haul – $28.09 Per Week Budget/Meal Plan

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I can’t even begin to explain how much I am loving Peapod right now, and how much of a bargain it has been for me and my family. When it comes to feeding myself and my husband healthy and wholesome meals (for the most part ūüėõ ) for very little money, this really is where it’s at.

So, just to start, I’d like to let you know that my order came out to over $100. About $20 of those dollars went to household items such as toilet paper, dish soap, and cat food to last the month. The rest? Food for nearly 3 weeks.

It could last a bit longer depending on how much we actually end up eating on a day-to-day basis. We also aren’t quite at bare fridge/freezer yet. We have a 3-4 days, if not more of meat in the freezer. We also have frozen vegetables, and leftovers in the fridge. Regardless, I calculated this food plan for 21 days.

I’d like to also throw it out there that I will probably be going to the street markets once a week and spending a few more dollars on fresh fruit for snacking and smoothies. I might also pick up some rice. I also took it upon myself to “shop the pantry”, therefore there are some items I will be cooking with over the next 3 weeks that I already have at home.

Though my meal plan is still sort of a rough draft, this is what I have in the works right now:

Breakfast:

  • Waffles
  • Cereal
  • Oatmeal (in pantry)
  • Smoothies

Lunches:

  • Sandwiches
  • Smoothies
  • Leftovers

Dinners:

  • Italian sausage, Peppers, and Potato Bake x3
  • Spaghetti & Meat Sauce x3
  • Beef Stew x2
  • Teriyaki Chicken x3
  • Spanish Chicken Stew x2
  • Classic Roast Chicken x3
  • Tacos x2
  • Chili x2
  • Oven-baked Fish Fillets x3

The idea behind this meal plan, (and for the most part, all of my meal plans), is buying and cooking in bulk and eating leftovers for 2-3 consecutive dinners. It is also using the same ingredients, with different seasonings, for many different dishes. Stews are very inexpensive to cook and it makes a TON!  The stews, as well as the Italian sausage bake will all incorporate the same vegetables. Chili and tacos are both very low-cost, especially if you buy your beans dry and cook them in bulk for the week. (However, this week, I did buy them canned because they were less than 60 cents a can.) The fish fillets are indeed frozen Рvalue size bag of 12 for $3! Teriyaki chicken is very low-cost and simple as well. It only calls for (the cheapest cuts you can find) chicken, soy sauce, sugar, and a few fresh ingredients such as garlic and ginger which I keep on hand.

This is really handy for families who have differing work schedules and don’t spend a lot of time at home during meal time. It not only saves time and money, but when it comes to soups, stews, and chili, it really does get better the longer it cooks and the more times it is reheated on the stove.

I honestly really enjoy the process of cooking, but I realize that a lot of people just don’t have the time/don’t want to invest the time in cooking when they could be investing that time in doing something else (leisure activities, for example). I’d rather be spending my free time playing video games than cooking and cleaning! No lies here!

 

 

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Key Foods Haul $60 2-week Budget

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This morning my husband and I trekked to Key Foods, about a mile away from our apartment. I’ve only been here a few times and already I can tell this is going to be¬† new favorite neighborhood grocery store! (I also just found out they deliver to Brooklyn!)

They have an awesome selection of generic, as well as premium foods. In terms of bargains, the best was hormone free/organic chicken thighs for less than $1/lb this week. They also had some nice cuts of chopped steaks and pork chops for less than $2/lb.¬† Key Foods offers many mark downs and manager’s specials on both meat and produce. As you can see in my photos, I scored both mark down veggies as well as meats.

If it wasn’t so far away (and it wasn’t soooo damn hot outside!), I’d definitely be heading down there more often. I can’t seem to locate my receipt, so here is a list of what we purchased:

  1. Gal. of Milk
  2. Pure Leaf Sweet Tea
  3. Jelly Rolls
  4. Peach Pie
  5. Prelude Popcorn Chicken
  6. 5.5lb Hormone-Free Chicken Thighs
  7. 3lb Pork Loin
  8. 1lb Cubed Steaks (4 total)
  9. Jennie-O Turkey Kielbasa
  10. Oscar Myer All-Beef Hot Dogs
  11. lb Lemons
  12. Earthbound Farm romaine lettuce
  13. Carton of White Button Mushrooms
  14. Veggie Medley – Carrots, Cauliflower, Broccoli (fresh)
  15. Jumbo Yellow Onion
  16. 12 Pack Poptarts
  17. Bag of Berry Colossal Crunch – Generic Cereal (Captain Crunch)
  18. Town House Butter Crackers
  19. Best Yet Angel Hair Pasta – Whole Wheat
  20. Italian Village Cheese Ravioli – Frozen
  21. Friendship Sour Cream
  22. Key Foods Paprika

Meal Plan:

  1. Teriyaki Chicken Thighs
  2. Chicken Noodle Casserole
  3. Creamy Mushroom Chicken
  4. Raviolis
  5. Meat Jun
  6. Teriyaki Steak
  7. Smothered Pork Chops
  8. Breaded Pork Chops
  9. Kielbasa Stir-fry
  10. Homemade Corn-dogs

Lunches – Sandwiches/Salads, leftovers

Breakfasts – Cereal, Pop-tarts

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Reminder: Check A-L-L Grocery Catalogs!

 

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When I load up my Flipp app, there are literally hundreds of catalogs that pop up. On a regular day (or week), I usually don’t bother looking at any of the catalogs for stores that I don’t frequent. To be honest, I am probably missing out on deals I’m not even aware of. In truth, it is kind of a pain to skim through tons of catalogs, but in the long run, you do save money. Effort always pays off.

 

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Minimalist in Manhattan Update

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Hey gang,

Summer is officially here! What does that mean? Seasonal fruits popping up at your grocery stores, BBQ-ing, and outings with family and friends to local parks and beaches, among many other things. I’ve noticed some very obvious changes in sales at our local grocery store that has somewhat made budgeting difficult over the last few weeks. Aside from eggs and cold cuts (such as hotdogs), everything has been insanely over priced!

Before I meal plan for the week, I’m going to check out all the catalogs for nearby grocery stores that I don’t usually shop at to see if prices are any better.

Anyone else experiencing a spike in prices?

-Jocelyn

 

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Frugal Tips – Shop Your Pantry!

Today was a great example as to why it is important to shop your pantry before going out to buy something else.  Let me explain.

This morning my husband woke me with news that there was an error alert on my desktop screen. Of course Luna (my cat) decided to sleep on my keyboard last night. She somehow  managed to manually reset my computer! (LOL) I was not surprised; this is definitely a Luna thing. She has turned off our Xbox One with her tail, as well as reset the internet Рquite the trouble maker! Unfortunately, I spent the remainder of the day getting my laptop back in working order!

Anyhow, all of this had me completely forgetting that I had the Peapod delivery set for this afternoon! I missed 3 calls from Peapod¬†while focusing on my laptop fiasco¬†– one that they were in the neighborhood, another when they arrived, and a last one that¬†notified me of¬†out-of-stock items that did not make it in my delivery.¬†It is one of my favorite features about Peapod, yet the alert only works if you pay attention to your phone…

So, as you can imagine, I was completely thrown off from my meal plan I had put together for the next few weeks. Instead of going out to the store to pick up those missing items, we decided it would make more sense money-wise to first see what we had in our pantry.

A lot of the time we think¬†there is nothing to eat in our homes, but in reality, we have food – we just don’t really want to eat it – or don’t know what to eat it with, how to prepare it, ect.

This is a great time¬†to get creative and/or to check out some recipes online.¬†Tomorrow we plan to do just that! I’ll¬†keep you folks posted¬†on how well we improvise with what we already¬†have at home!

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9 Foods to Buy When There is Nothing On Sale

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There really hasn’t been any good sales in the neighborhood over the last few weeks (hence I haven’t really posted anything lately¬† – on top of that, my parents are in town! More on that in another post.)

I couldn’t imagine being tight on money, needing to feed my family, and not really having many options. All the meat and produce (the bulk of wholesome, fresh food) are ridiculously high this week, as it was last week as well. This dilemma inspired my blog entry today.

So, when the price of meat and produce is high, what should you buy?

Here are 9 go-to pantry items I recommend buying, as well as other foods that generally do not fluctuate in price very much or often:

  1. Canned tuna (A can of tuna is more than enough protein for a meal, and you are likely to find a can of tuna for less than $1.50.
  2. Rice
  3. Dried beans, legumes, and pasta.
  4. Canned tomatoes (stewed, diced, sauce, pasta sauce and paste). Very versatile. You can make anything from pasta to stew with canned tomatoes.
  5. Oats, grits, polenta, porridge.
  6. Tortillas
  7. Bread
  8. Bananas (bananas generally are always under $1 a lb, and can be purchase for less than $3 a bunch all year round.)
  9. Eggs (even when eggs are expensive, it’s still a great investment. Even if you pay $4 a dozen, that’s still a week of protein-rich breakfast. If you can find a dozen eggs for under $2 a dozen, I highly recommend stocking up. Eggs are such a great meal idea any time of day – breakfast for dinner anyone?)
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Thrifty Tips: Top 30 Foods To Buy When You’re Broke

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Here is a list of pantry items, fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats that are generally always affordable (even when not on sale)! I cook with most of these foods on a weekly basis because their prices are generally stable, as well as low everywhere. Without these particular foods, I probably wouldn’t be able to stick to my grocery budget every single week!

  1. Rice
  2. Pasta noodles
  3. Dry beans
  4. Lentils
  5. Oatmeal
  6. Variety of canned tomatoes (tomato sauce, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes)
  7. Peanut butter
  8. Pasta sauce
  9. Frozen vegetables
  10. Bananas
  11. Apples
  12. Oranges
  13. Onions
  14. Garlic
  15. Carrots
  16. Cabbage
  17. Potatoes
  18. Lettuce
  19. Tomatoes
  20. Eggs
  21. Canned tuna
  22. Chicken thighs
  23. Chicken quartered legs
  24. Whole chicken
  25. Pack of 100 generic black tea
  26. Sugar
  27. Flour
  28. Bread
  29. Crackers
  30. Powdered Milk

 

 

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2.17-2.24 Meal Planning & Grocery Haul

Right now I’m slow roasting 3 massive chicken breasts in green chili verde sauce. It’s going to go into our burrito bowls tonight, on top of fully-loaded nachos tomorrow night, and it’s going to make the gawd-dang best enchiladas everrr on Friday night!

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Chicken breasts in chili verde sauce.

While the chicken is doing it’s thang, I’ve got pre-broiled brown rice on the stove to make a ‚Äúnovice‚ÄĚ version of lime and cilantro pilaf. We’re getting fancy up in here. Well – not that fancy. I’m literally just going to mix some chopped cilantro in the rice and squeeze a lime on it. LOL #topchef

I’m super excited about this week’s meal plan. Not only did I come under budget, spending a mere $31 bucks, I also have groceries left over from last week’s haul ($41 spent last week)! Can you believe that? So, we basically didn’t even need to buy any groceries for our lunches ‚Äď though, I am sure we’ll have more than enough leftovers because we’re making SEVEN whole dinners this week (in comparison to the FIVE last week). We also purchased 2 big boxes of generic cereal from the bodega across the street. We have a quite a bit of eggs, black beans and tortillas to play around with for breakfast.

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Here are the details for this week’s meal plan & grocery haul:

-MEALS-

Breakfasts: Lots of cereal! Egg sandwiches, egg wraps, omelets ‚Äď basically anything you can do with eggs, we can do for breakfast this week.

Lunches: Leftovers. Mac & cheese (box). Hot dogs.

Dinners:

Burrito Bowls

Enchiladas

Nachos

Shoyu chicken (recipe linked)

Teriyaki meatballs (recipe linked)

Sloppy Joes

Meatloaf

I will definitely update mid-week to let you know how well we’re sticking to our meal plan!

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Frugal Foods: Spinach & Mozzarella Pasta Bake

Last night, we originally¬†planned¬†to make a cheaper and simpler version of Chicken Parmesan called Mom’s Mozzarella Chicken. If you’re interested in this original recipe, go ahead and click¬†that link. We ended up omitting chicken all together and going for an easy and nutritious veggie pasta. This not only saved up at least $3, but it also reduced cooking times and encouraged us to add more vegetables to our meal.

Spinach & Mozzarella Pasta Bake

Ingredients:

  • Your favorite pasta sauce. I recommend a sweet pepper or garden vegetable sauce.
  • Sweet onion
  • Frozen or fresh spinach
  • Roasted garlic (roast in pan before peeling)
  • Your favorite pasta noodle. I recommend a veggie pasta or whole wheat variety.

Directions:

  • Start by roasting the garlic in the pan with the skin on. Next, chop the garlic, along with your onion, and brown it in a pan with a little bit of olive oil.
  • Pour your favorite sauce in. Let that come to a boil.
  • Add your spinach, and any other vegetables you have on hand. Mushrooms would also work great in this as well!
  • Let this simmer on low – medium heat for 15 minutes.
  • In the mean time, start cooking your pasta noodles according to the box directions.
  • Serve with sauce over pasta, then add a little shredded mozzarella on top.
  • Pasta Bake? Mix your pasta and sauce together then pour it into a baking dish. Sprinkle fresh mozzarella on top and bake in the oven for an extra 10 minutes.

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Mid-Week Update (2.12-2.19 Meal Planning & Grocery Haul)

Just a few days ago I create a $40 weekly meal plan for 2 that covers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. These are real wholesome/homemade meals, with the exception of a few cans of tuna and a box of mac & cheese (my weakness). My goal is show you guys how you can eat REAL delicious food, for very little $$$. You can check  out that original post out here!

What can I say? We’re steering so far off the path in regards to our meal plan. (I’m kind of a rebel, you see.) A hypocrite too, huh? First I say how important it is to stick to your plan, then I break the rules like the anarchist I am. Here’s the thing though – my change of plans didn’t require me to go out and spend more money, which is the ultimate goal anyway!

I ended up altering almost every meal, in drastic ways,¬†but I did so without going over budget. In fact, I ended up saving money instead! So, it’s really kind of a victory, huh?! In ways, I’m proud of myself for being¬†flexible and imaginative with what we have!

The one¬†major¬†change we’ve made for most of our meals is to go meatless – and/or replace meat with more vegetables instead! This is actually a good thing! Anytime I can squeeze more vegetables into our meals is a victory. I am no dietitian, but having a few meatless days a week is not only cost effective but very heart-healthy. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach (our to-go frozen vegetable) is filled with protein, and so are beans! And, you guys already know how much I love to cook with beans!

Keep your eyes peeled to find out how I modified this week’s recipes¬†to save even more money and create a healthy alternative to these meals!

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