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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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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2.12-2.19 Meal Planning & Grocery Haul

Hey all,

I really wanted to share with you a real-life example of how I¬†budget,¬†meal plan and grocery shop. I wouldn’t usually consider this grocery trip¬†a “haul”, but since¬†I purchased all our meals for the week ahead, that’s¬†pretty significant! We live in NYC, so we do all our shopping by foot,¬†groceries included. I usually would not purchase this many items in one shopping trip because it would be too heavy. Thankfully today, Thomas tagged along and was able to help me¬†lug everything home ūüôā

So, first things first, last night, for…gosh, probably 4+ hours I scanned Pinterest for recipes¬†(I wanted to switch it up this week and try something new, exciting and different!) and came up with 4-5 large meals (dinners) that would give us at least 2-3 leftovers (lunch and dinners). Before I wrote anything down, I also scanned all the brand new grocery catalogs on Flipp (mobile app). What I try to do is work my meal plan around what is on sale for the following week. Pro tip: It is a great idea to hit up the stores on day 1 when the sales drop because you’re less likely to run into a situation where that item you tried to purchase is already sold out. On the downside, it will probably be crowded, BUT¬†at least the shelves will be full.

Before I go further, I’d like to say that I kept to about¬†90% of my list. Sometimes something on my list isn’t available¬†– therefore, I improvise. I also have some items at home already, and a few that still need to be purchased.

In pantry/fridge: Potatoes, ground beef, peas, oatmeal, bread crumbs, butter/jam.

Still need to purchase: Pasta sauce, cheese, and kielbasa from the dollar store Р$5 estimate

My goal was $40 for 7-10 days. I cashed in at $40.40 cents. 

~Meal Plan~

Breakfasts: Oatmeal & banana (have in pantry), Raisin brand w/ banana, french toast & banana, banana pineapple smoothie, toast w/ butter/jam (have in pantry), Pop tarts.

Lunches: Tuna sandwich w/ fruit. Egg salad sandwich w/ fruit. Mac & cheese. Brunch (bacon, eggs, home-fries & toast) x2

Dinners: Meat loaf, mash potatoes, and peas. Cajun red beans and rice (2+ leftovers). Sweet Italian chicken & peppers over pasta or in a sandwich (2+ leftovers). Chicken Parmesan over pasta or in a sandwich. Chinese pepper steak w/ rice.

I did this all at C-Town, a small grocery chain in NYC.

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Here are the links to a few of the recipes mentioned above:

Slow Cooker Italian Chicken and Peppers

Louisiana Red Beans & Rice

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Why you need to download Flipp on your phone right now!

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Flipp, a coupon and catalog app, is the best money¬†saving tool available in the android and apple store right now. More importantly, it’s free and incredibly¬†convenient.

Let me start by telling you a little bit about the app. This app allows you to put in your zip-code and generate all the shopping catalogs in your neighborhood. It also lets you clip coupons and make shopping lists. It’s an all-in-one shopping buddy.

During the holidays, this app can be quite a god-send. Every sales catalog is accessible in your phone. This makes budgeting and gift purchases a lot simpler and stress-free.

But, this app can be utilized all year long! In fact, I use this app on a daily basis to keep track of which grocery stores are selling what this week and at what price. I can plan every purchase, and every dollar I spend directly in my phone. This prevents me from over-spending at the grocery store and getting me in and out as quick as possible.

This is probably the only¬†app on my phone I use on a daily basis that isn’t Instagram or Facebook. I¬†love it so much!

Do you know of any great shopping, couponing or discount apps? Which are your favorite? Share in the comments below!

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Why you shouldn’t wait for a blizzard to stock up for a blizzard

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If you live in the states, you’re probably getting quite a bit of snow this weekend due to the blizzard ransacking the East Coast. Thus far, we haven’t had any big scares along the lines of power outages or injuries/deaths in New York City, but upper-Manhattan did experience some issues with discolored tap just a day before the blizzard was meant to pass through.

Because of the snowfall, as well as the lack of clear tap, the entire neighborhood was standing in line at Riteaid buying out the entire stock of bottled water.

Here are a few tips to avoid standing in those long lines:

Every month, stock your pantry with 1-2 non-perishable items.  Buy what is on sale, even if you have no intention to eat it. I actually recommend purchasing food items you wouldn’t normally eat unless you really needed to. This will prevent you from eating it before you need it. ( Ex. Do not buy pudding. We like pudding too much.)

Also, don’t be afraid to shop at dollar stores. Generic items are just as good as your brand names and they tend to be a lot cheaper as well. Thrift stores are often gold mines! If you can invest in buying in bulk, I highly recommend that.  Also: ALWAYS. CHECK. EXPIRATION. DATES. I can’t stress that enough.

Here is a list of what to buy:

Water

Powered Milk

Cereal

Nuts

Granola bars

Pretzels

Crackers

Peanut butter

Canned beans

Canned tuna or chicken

Canned meals (soup, chili, stew, ect.)

Multi-vitamins

It’s important to keep in mind that high sodium foods will make you thirsty, so always opt in for the low-sodium option. If you have an infant, you may want to keep baby formula on hand. Don’t forget about pets as well! First aid kits, toilet paper, baby wipes, and emergency heating pads are also great non-food items to stock up on and/or have on hand.

There are several benefits of purchasing emergency essentials BEFORE the emergency.

For starters: It saves you a ton of money. When you buy last minute, you’re stuck with whatever is available. This means you are less likely to apply coupons, or take advantage of the best sale.

It also can save you a lot of time. If you already have a supply of food and water for emergencies, you won’t have to join in the crowds the day before a storm hits.

Not only can this save you time in the event of an emergency, it can also GIVE you time to prepare. When you plan in-advance, you are able to take care of specific or special needs your family members might have!

But, most of all, you will gain peace of mind knowing that your family is well taken care when mother nature passes through in a surprise.

Want a more detailed list? Check FEMA online.

Sit down with your family and make a plan today.

Any tips or tricks, or experiences you’d like to share? Share and comment below!

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