Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Nibbling Away at the Grocery Budget

Homegrown Salad
Right now I am nibbling away at my grocery budget.  I've just run some numbers and in 2011 I spent an average of $203.16 a month at the grocery store. In December, when my garden started really kicking in, I managed to only spend $119 for the month.

I am working on being more frugal with my money in general, making sure I've turned off the lights I'm not using, cooking on my airtight wood burning stove instead of using the gas or the microwave.

I've decided I want to really cut back on my grocery bill this coming year, partly by growing all of my own vegetables and some of my own fruit. (Fruit trees take several years to come into bearing, but strawberries only take 2 years to get up to speed and of course melons only take a few months)  While I won't forgo meat entirely I will probably have some meatless days each week, replacing meat with beans and other protein foods that are less costly. This months strategy is to use up the rest of the meat that is in my freezer as well as make a dent in 5 pounds of pinto beans that were given to me.

There are many ways to stretch your food dollars. I bought a large ham before Christmas on sale for .99 cents a pound. I cooked it and had several dinners & lunches of ham, sweet potato and applesauce. Then I made 2 gallons of 15 bean soup out of the leftover bits of ham and bone. Some of that is still in the freezer.

When whole chickens are on sale I try to get several. Each one makes several meals, first roasted chicken with carrots and potatoes, then either chicken and rice soup or chicken & dumplings.  When my kids were little and I either raised a lot of chickens or bought 12 or more on sale very cheap I would cut them up myself. I would save a couple whole ones for roasted chicken dinners. The rest I packaged for the freezer as boneless skinless breasts, legs & thighs for BBQ. The backs, tails, ribs, wings and necks all went into the stock pot and I would make 5 gallons of chicken broth and then can it in pints and quarts for later. I'd use the broth for gravy or as a soup starter. I think I need to start doing these kinds of things again.

So what's on your menus for this week? Tonight I've cooked a large pork roast, so pork, brown rice and salad tonight and probably tomorrow also. Tomorrow I might pull some carrots and beets to go with the  leftover roast. Maybe I'll make a pot of soup too.

1 comment:

  1. Being on one income, I am trying very hard to manage our money wisely, get organized and grow some of our own food. I think my goal budget is $130 a week for a family of 5, (is that alot?)and we live inbetween Milwaukee and Chicago, so nothing is growing....so we end up eating more potatoes, pasta and cheese in the winter for sure.