Sunday, November 9, 2014
The new norm: grocery shopping and it's inpact on meal planning
Case in point: the package of store brand, sweet Italian style, pork sausages pictured above. Years ago, the entire package would have been used to feed the family. Now: the sausages have been divided into THREE meal use packages. I anticipate that the one lone sausage will find it's way on a pizza or into a marinara for a smaller dinner (only 4 instead of 6 for instance) or a quiche, if not a stew. The remaining 2 packages of 2 links each will be the mainstay of a pasta dish, most likely. Stretching our meat proteins, substituting alternative protein sources has ever increasingly become my focus. I simply can't afford to increase our food budget, especially as we are bracing for Winter, recovering from a 1 month's loss of income in March, some planned expenditures (moving, snow tires), etc.
Another change, perhaps, is that while I have a birthday celebration coming up, I refuse to go out to eat. It simply isn't in the cards. Instead, I splurged on a LB of frozen, cleaned shrimp and we'll feast on a new garlic shrimp pasta recipe from the newspaper. $7.49 added to the cart certainly won't break the bank, and I will tally this under "celebrations" anyway.
Lists in hand (needs, wants and sales) along with coupons and ALL of the accumulated bottles/cans from beverages in the car (older kids kept promising to return theirs-a week past, so MOM brought them back!. The garage thanks me. : )
Store # 1: Stop and Shop
multiple loaves of Arnold Bread (BOGO and coupons), multiple loaves of Peppridge Farm bread (BOGO and coupons), one loaf of Freihoffer bread (sale plus cpn)-it's odd for us to buy sliced bread but these are all whole grain, good breads at under $2/loaf, so well worth taking advantage of these deals and stocking the freezer in the process; OJ (cpn loss leader), 2 bottles each Snuggle softener and All detergent (both on sale plus cpns), eggs (free with cpn), 2 16 oz bottles coffee mate (sale plus cpn), Kelloggs raisin bran (cpn loss leader), small can coffee (cpn loss leader), 3 cans Chunky soups (sale plus cpn), 5 2 l bottles Coke products (learned to stash these away as some* will blow thru these, which I view as 1) medicinal for migraines and upset tummies and 2) a treat for pizza night or company; 2 aeseptic cartons of low salt beef stock (sale plus cpn), 2 potato box mixes (sale plus cpn), a canister of gum for Christmas stocking (cpn), 2 bottles VO5 (sale plus cpn=24 cents/bottle), 2 small bottles Pom juice (sale plus cpns), 1 small and 1 large canister of Poms aerils (cpns), aforementioned pkg of Italian sausage (sale plus store $1 off cpn of meat purchase of choice, plus $2.50 off coupon on grocery purchase over $25, brought the sausage from $4.29 to $3.99 to $2.99 to 49 cents. I am still stretching it over 3 meals. Meat prices frighten me. : (
I spent $54.74 on groceries plus $2.12 towards Christmas.
With bottle returns, coupons, I saved $49.01 and had a cart FULL of groceries. It was a good shopping trip.
Store # 2: Aldi's
5 Advent calenders (Christmas), 4 boxes tissues, plastic wrap, sandwich bags (hadn't needed to buy them since last year as we've used the accumulated, repurposed food bags from dry goods since August; sour cream, 2 boxes Panko, 2 12 packs soda (cola and ginger ale-again tucked away), 2 cranberry juices, 4 boxes "creepy cnfetti" cake mix from Halloween that was clearanced to 49 centsbox. It's a yellow cake mix with orange and chocolate sprinkles in it. It's automnal-it's fine.; 2 bags Pumpkin spice coffee (a request), 1 gallon egg nog, 2 boxes cocoa mix, 3 pkgs bagles, 4 boxes stuffing mix, 2 boxes instant oat packets, German spice cookies, maple leaf cookies, 2 qts 1/2 & 1/2, 1 gal milk, raisins (@ $1.92/lb vs "on sale" at $3 across the street at S & S), aforementioned, fzn shrimp.
I spent $72.34 on groceries, plus $4.95 towards Christmas and $7.49 towards celebrations.
Store # 3: Dollar Tree
1 bottle Pepsi (blood sugar was low-cheaper than going to a fast food window), 3 8 ct cartons medium eggs, 2 boxes instant oats, 1 aespetic carton milk, men's fleece gloves for DS who borrowed mine, 4 moisture absord gizmos for down cellar (saves using the electric hogging dehumidifier), assorted chocolates for Christmas stockings.
I spent $9.37 on groceries, $1.06 on DS clothing, $9.57 towards Christmas.
Total groceries: $136.45.
Total Christmas: $16.64
Total clothing: $1.06
Total celebrations: $7.49