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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Grocery Haul 05/17/2016 – Peapod Grocery Delivery/Stop & Shop NYC (Tri-State Area)

Hey Gang,

I just ordered a ton more groceries from Peapod today! Like I mentioned in previous posts, Peapod is my all-time favorite grocery delivery service, and I frequently use it to purchase groceries in bulk ‚Äď something that is almost impossible as a city dweller, like myself, with no car.

Though my bill did in fact hit the $60 mark, I should mention that I also purchased a few things that were not food items (cat food and cat litter) + some pantry/fridge restock items (bread crumbs, sugar, oats, ketchup, and vegetable oil) that many folks would not buy every single week.

For the 2-week meal plan itself, again, we’re focusing on cooking in BULK, the cost is just $45, assuming you already have some of these pantry items in your home.

Here is a detailed list of exactly what I purchased:

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What meals ¬†have I planned for this grocery haul? I have 7 meals ‚Äď all with at least one additional day of leftovers! Though I have only 7 meals planned, these groceries will more than likely last 10-14 days – if not more.

  1. Basic baked BBQ chicken
  2. Oven fried/or pan fried chicken tenders
  3. Pasta w/ meat sauce (marinara)
  4. Pasta w/ Italian sausage (marinara)
  5. Pasta w/ spinach Alfredo sauce
  6. Bacon cheeseburgers
  7. Meatloaf

Breakfasts/Brunches/Lunches will be huevos rancheros (which, by the way, is one of my all time favorite breakfast meals ‚Äď it’s cheap, easy, and delicious!), black bean and cheese quesadillas/tacos/burritos/burrito bowls, bacon & eggs, breakfast sandwiches, breakfast burritos, breakfast tacos, oatmeal, cereal, and/or cereal.

All of these meals are basic/classic meals I’ve cooked several times before, and I’m sure you have too. Do you have a favorite recipe for one of these meals?

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Thrifty Tips: 25 BEST Dollar Store Items

DOLLAR

  1. Ziploc bags
  2. Foil
  3. Hair accessories (hair elastics and bobby pin galore!)
  4. School supplies and stationary (pens, pencils, crayons, markers and notebooks!)
  5. Greeting cards
  6. Gift bags
  7. Activity books (crossword and coloring books)
  8. Tupperware
  9. Batteries
  10. Toothpaste
  11. Tableware, silverware, glassware, and mugs.
  12. Paper products (toilet paper, paper towels, and facial tissue)
  13. Baby wipes
  14. Bath products (shampoo, conditioner, bar soap, and shower gel)
  15. **Pregnancy tests!** (these dollar store pregnancy tests are no less accurate than your big brands – in fact, did you know that many of the pregnancy strips you find at a dollar store are the same ones used in pharmacies and doctor’s offices?)
  16. **First aid!** (bandages and antibiotic cream)
  17. Soy, almond, and coconut milk
  18. Dry beans
  19. Oatmeal
  20. Rice
  21. Pancake, cake, and brownie mix
  22. Maple syrup
  23. Peanut Butter and Jelly
  24. Crackers and Cookies
  25. Candy

 

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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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Minimalism Meets Frugality: A Match Made in Heaven for New Yorkers

It is easy to confuse minimalism with frugality. Though minimalism and frugality stand for completely different things, they have a similar goal Рwhich is to not overspend.

The name of my blog is “Minimalism in Manhattan” because I most identify with the idea of detaching from material possessions, financial pressure, and only making purchases that are valuable to me, as well as¬†enhance my quality of life.¬†I don’t buy stuff¬†just because¬†they are¬†cheap.

Last time I went shopping, I went specifically to buy basic thermals and long sleeve tee’s for layering under my coat and to wear at home. Instead of raiding the clearance racks for absolutely everything else, I left empty handed. I don’t buy just because I can.

What makes minimalism so ideal for those living in metro areas is the fact that we don’t have a lot of space.¬†I live in a small 800 sq apartment. Truth is, I don’t have the space to accumulate clutter.

That is what minimalism means to me, however, I also live a frugal lifestyle.

Not necessarily¬†out of choice – in fact, I lead my life with frugality in mind because I don’t have the financial freedom not to. ¬†This is a common reality for millions of Americans. Income inequality and the rising poverty line is a real problem here in the states. But alas, the system isn’t going to fix itself overnight.

In the meantime, there are ways to elevate some of that financial pressure by living a minimalist lifestyle with frugality in mind.

So, what does that exactly entail?

  • Buy affordable, not cheap. Cheap = poor quality. Affordable means within your budget. Can’t afford to purchase a product of quality? Then you save, coupon, and wait. You DO NOT¬†buy the crap instead. Of course, this is situational, and a lot of the time a learning experience.¬†Above all else, your purchase¬†is geared to your specific needs. Spend just enough to meet your needs. Nothing more. Spend with reason.
  • Invest in hobbies. Investing in hobbies is a great way to enhance your quality of life, encourage productivity, and plant seeds of happiness. Do things. Make memories. Have experiences. The only hobby that is off limits is hoarding collectibles and memorabilia…for obvious reasons.
  • De-clutter and get rid of excess.¬†Contrary to what you might think, you really don’t need 10 of everything. Do not stock pile anything that isn’t a¬†basic need. What are basic needs? Beyond food and water, there really aren’t too many basic needs. There is nothing wrong with stocking your pantry, but don’t hold on to foods you haven’t touched in a long time.¬†Face the reality that you will probably never eat that bag of red quinoa.¬†¬†Stock piling toilet paper, dish soap and shampoo is also reasonable.
  • Do not own more than what you need or can use.¬†This is pretty self explanatory – if it doesn’t work, throw it out.¬†If it doesn’t fit, get rid of it.

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Do you folks have any suggestions to live a minimalist or frugal life? Let us know in the comments!

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Frugal Living in NYC: Should I get my groceries delivered?

Yes! You should get your grocery delivered if you live in NYC; and I will explain to you exactly why you should. First, let me tell you how I first made that decision.

When I first arrived in NYC, I thought the idea of grocery delivery, among laundry delivery, and endless food delivery was incredibly attractive for a busy working student who left the house before the sun was even out,¬†and didn’t¬†get home until after 9pm on most days. Let’s face it, New Yorkers are busy people!¬†By the time I got home at night, I had a pile of papers to write in front of me and hundreds of textbook pages to read before the following day. This is why I often brought food home, did bulk grocery shopping online and didn’t even bother going to the laundromat. Some days I would grocery shop between classes and leave my groceries in the lunch room¬†refrigerator at work! Can you even imagine how crazy (and inappropriate) that is?

At that moment, I realized this isn’t working and I need to find a better way to get good food in my stomach without spending an arm and a leg doing it.

Here are the reasons why I did it, WHERE I did it, and why I think you should consider it too:

  1. You can plan out every meal and snack for the entire month and order it all at once. It’s bulk shopping without bringing the car around. It saves time and money. Period.
  2. This allows New Yorkers to stock pilenot that we actually have any room for that! Have you seen the size of these apartments? Stockpiling is when you buy a lot of a very cheap product to save money in the long run. For example, you discover that cereal is a dollar a box, instead of just buying 1 box, you buy 20 because it may be a long time before you see such a low price again. That box of cereal will run out in 3-4 days Рby then, that sale will be over.
  3. It eliminate impulse purchases and over-spending, and helps you avoid spending money outside of the house. For example, instead of picking up a snack between classes, I can pack some yogurt or crackers from home and save a lot of money.
  4. You can have everything you need delivered. Beyond your meat, produce, and pantry, most delivery services have every household item you can think of, baby products (food, formula, diapers, ect.), wine and spirits. They even deliver flowers, and have catering options!
  5. You can apply coupons to grocery delivery just as you would at the store! All you have to do is give your coupons to the delivery person, or apply them online.
  6. Each grocery delivery service has their own sales and deals every week just like any other grocery store. You can take advantage of these sales and work your meal plans around them.
  7. If you live in NYC, you have many grocery delivery services to choose from. Though Fresh Direct is the most widely known and used online grocer, I highly recommend shopping with PeaPod as well, which is Stop & Shop online.
    1. They’re always running a “first order” deal.¬†TSA_SE2015_FD50_FeatureRYHM0
    2. Fresh Direct offers a delivery subscription program that allows you to have unlimited deliveries with an upfront payment. Prices range from $9.92 Р$12.99 per month depending on how often you are charged. (Ex. $9.92 per month price requires you to pay the entire year upfront.)
    3. PeaPod¬†is incredibly cheap. In fact, PeaPod offers very competitive prices in comparison to what you would find at your neighborhood grocers. Sometimes I spend LESS at PeaPod than anywhere else. I’ve made a $140 order at PeaPod that lasted my husband and I a month. That’s 35 dollars a week¬†you real wholesome meals.
    4. Fresh Direct offers premium products and brands generally not available in many grocery stores.
    5. Last but not least, both Fresh Direct and PeaPod deliver to all of Manhattan.

Have you gotten your grocery delivered in NYC? How was your experience? Who did you shop with? Who would you recommend? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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