07/2/14
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healthy on $75: week 3 grocery haul breakdown + meal plan

My original plan was for June to be all about healthy on $75.  And now June is gone so it’s going to continue on through July!  I still have so much to share, and it turns out I’m a little slow at pumping out the posts on it.  Here’s the third installment of my grocery haul breakdown.  Enjoy!

healthyon75

Like I mentioned in week 2′s breakdown, this week was also a bit off since we were on vacation for part of it.  As I begin to write this I haven’t added up the total I spent yet so it’ll be a surprise for me too. :)

What we ate

Dinners

Friday: BBQ’d steak and bratwurst, avocado, tomato and mozzarella salad and watermelon (vacation meal I didn’t cook)

Saturday: burritos + corn on the cob (vacation meal I didn’t cook)

Sunday: sushi from the grocery store (which was ehh but after 7 hours of driving I was not down with cooking) + peas from the garden

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Monday: brautwurst and potato salad (dinner at my parents + world cup watching!)

Tuesday: fried rice with fresh peas and kale chips

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Wednesday: burritos and brownies (dinner at my parents + world cup watching!)

Thursday: whole wheat pasta with feta and sauted zucchini in a light yogurt sauce + teriyaki chicken

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Breakfasts doesn’t vary very much: banana custard oats with peanut butter, scrambled eggs with cheese and fruit,  blueberry yogurt pancakes with applesauce. Coffee + milk.

Lunches: on vacation deli sandwiches provided by my parents – back home tuna sandwiches and leftovers.

Grocery haul breakdown

In addition to the visual of what I purchased, I’ve included a picture of the receipt (when available) to show prices.  There is also an explanation of what I picked up on sale and used a coupon with and any other notes.

Safeway

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  • 2 different pre-made sushi packs

Now normally I don’t include meals out or take out in our food budget, because it’s a rarity, but this is getting included because after a long drive instead of cooking, we picked up food.  Yes, I could have made something, but I went with the easy route.  It tasted okay… but I totally could have made something better.

Safeway total: $12

Chuck’s Produce

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  •  gallon of organic whole milk
  • 2 packages of chicken breasts (on sale)
  • ground beef (discounted)
  • creamer
  • dozen eggs

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  • bananas (on sale)
  • ripe bananas (discounted)
  • 2 lb bag of avocados (on sale)
  • zucchini (on sale)
  • nectarines (on sale)
  • apricots (on sale)

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I picked up one extra package of chicken breasts, which went right into the freezer.  The produce was all on sale saving me money on items I really want!

Chuck’s Produce total: $37.42

Walgreens

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  • 2 package sof starbucks coffee (sale and coupons)
  • 2 deodorants (sale and coupons)
  • toothpaste (sale and coupons + register rewards earned)
  • sardines

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Walgreens total: $14.67

Target

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  • toilet paper (paper and mobile coupon)
  • frozen peas (mobile coupon)

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Target total: $4.68

Dent room

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  • 3 cases of yuuuuuumy microbrews (42 bottles total, 18  x 22 ounces and 24 x 12 ounces)

I wish I could say everyone could get this deal, but it’s special from my husbands work.  He worked in the beverage industry and they have a room called the dent room where you can piece together cases (or get full cases) of beer.  A case of microbrew is just 9 dollars… it just cannot be beat.

Dent room total: $21

Grand total for 5 places: $89.77

Thankful it’s lower than the previous week!  It goes to show that making food at home saves money… had we not picked up sushi, I would have been right near my target of $75.

How I saved money this week:

  • I looked through the chuck’s produce ad before going shopping to make my list based off of what was on sale.  Almost everything I purchased there was at a lower price than regular.
  • I decided on a walgreens and target run to stock up on some items that we always need – mainly the coffee and toilet paper.  The deodorant deal was too good to pass up (just 50 cents each after the register rewards!).
  • In the long run the extra beer will save us money.  All three cases will last a while and since it’s summer time and we’re entertaining more, the extra cost of buying beer each week won’t be needed.

How was your grocery shopping this week?

Heather

06/20/14
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healthy on $75: week 2 grocery haul breakdown + meal plan

healthyon75

Weeks 2 and 3 were a bit off for me as far as grocery shopping and meals went.  Our vacation was in the middle of both weeks, so my shopping and eating will look a little different than normal for each week. I also didn’t have to cook a lot which made it different too.

What we ate

Dinners

Friday: cheese (sharp cheddar and gouda), sausage and crusty bread plate (at home date night)

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Saturday: greek lemon chicken and bean rice bowls

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Sunday: burgers at the in-laws

Monday: BBQ chicken, bratwurst (extra from Friday), veggie salad left over from Saturdays chicken dinner, bbq’d broccoli, rice (also leftover), fresh fruit and unpictured (leftover) crusty bread {if I could eat this dinner every day I would!)

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Tuesday: beef, cheddar and avocado burgers, salad with caesar dressing and freshly picked strawberries

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Wednesday: spaghetti with beef sauce, asparagus and salad (vacation meal I didn’t cook)

Thursday: Hawaiian chicken thighs, cabbage coleslaw, grilled cauliflower and rice (vacation meal I was in charge of for 12 adults and 4 toddlers)

Breakfasts were the same mix as before: banana custard oats with peanut butter, scrambled eggs + toast, blueberry yogurt pancakes and french toast with applesauce. Coffee, coffee, coffee.

Lunches: tuna sandwiches, leftover rice bowls, deli sandwiches provided by my parents on vacation, lots of fruit always

Grocery haul breakdown

Again, lots of little extra trips… let’s see how I did.

In addition to the visual of what I purchased, I’ve included a picture of the receipt to show prices.  There is also an explanation of what I picked up on sale and used a coupon with and any other notes.

Natural Grocers

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  • Organic whole milk
  • 3 dozen cage free eggs
  • Bratwurst (on sale)
  • Extra sharp cheddar
  • Gouda
  • Feta
  • Sunflower seed butter
  • Raisins
  • Natural cane sugar

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Major savings from a living social I bought.  I spent $7.50 and got $25 to spend.  But, I didn’t need the sunflower seed butter.  That was a total extra.

Natural Grocer’s total: $18.55

Chuck’s Produce

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  • Bananas
  • Ripe banana (discounted)
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Orange bell pepper
  • Onion (on sale)
  • Cucumber
  • Grape tomatoes (on sale)
  • Apricots

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Chuck’s total: $11.92

Target

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  • Disposable diapers for Hunter + Zoe for travels (coupons used)
  • Disposable wipes (coupons used)
  • Toilet paper
  • Coffee (clearance + coupon)
  • Foaming hand soap
  • Contact solution (coupon used)
  • Bag of avocados (coupon used)
  • Strawberries (coupon used)
  • Mint Oreos (I was promptly ignored when I told Jacob “it’s not in the budget”…)

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Target’s total: 38.84

Philbrook Farms U-pick strawberries $1.45/lb

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U-pick total: $11

Fred Meyer

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  • Sharp cheddar cheese
  • Natural cane sugar (picked up for jam making)

Fred meyer’s total: $5.25

Oroweat outlet

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  • 2 loaves of white bread for Jacob
  • 1 loaf of whole grain bread for Hunter/I
  • Whole wheat hamburger buns

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Oroweat’s total: $4.40

Unpictured travel snacks the hubs picked up: water and chips

Total: $7

Unpictured trip to a market on vacation: brown and white rice, a lemon and half n half (organic)

Total: $10

Grand total for 8 places: 106.96

This is how my spending is when I don’t pay attention and plan well along the way.  Had I not gone strawberry picking and we hadn’t done extra vacation food spending, I would have been on target.  I really wanted to make jam though.  The  disposable diapers were an extra expense I don’t normally have.

I plan to balance this extra spending with staying under my budget the next couple of weeks of being back home and in a normal routine.

Still, I feel like there was savings, and here’s how I made that happen.

  • The living social deal I picked up saved me nearly 75%. Natural Grocers is a bit more spendy, but I actually ended up saving money by using the living social. I still have two more to use too!
  • Not cooking – I know this isn’t always an option for everyone (or myself), but with the vacation meals split and a get together I ended up not having to cook which meant less food to purchase.
  • I also brought organic chicken that I had purchased at home for a great deal, pulled from the freezer. Feeding 12 adults can be spendy, but I was able to keep the meal affordable by using up the last or my freezer chicken, using inexpensive veggies and bulking it up with rice. The teriyaki sauce I used was gifted from our neighbors, so I already had that on hand too.
  • I used lots of coupons at target saving me over $16.  Read how I coupon HERE.

My freezer supply of meat is dwindling, but as you’ll see over the next couple weeks, I’m already working on getting a small amount back in there.  And in a way that doens’t blow my entire food budget.

 What’s one item you happily splurge on?  Nut butters are always a favorite of mine.  We like good beer too.

Heather

06/10/14
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healthy on $75: week 1 grocery haul breakdown + meal plan

healthyon75

I’m glad so many of you are excited about healthy on $75! The intro was a big hit and I’ll be sure to include some of the requests you left in the comments throughout the series. To get it started I wanted to share my first week’s grocery haul, the cost breakdown, my plan I went in with and how the week ended up going down.

I’ve been on my more strict $75/week food budget since the beginning of the year. I have weeks that aren’t so good, but I’d say about 90% of the time I can stick to my $75 goal. The meals I planned for the week also included foods I already had on hand from previous shopping trips/stock ups or things I always make sure to keep on hand, so not every ingredient for every meal had to be purchased. This is why you’ll see that we ate things that I didn’t purchase this week.

Here was my meal plan for dinners with any changes to what we actually ate in parenthesis, because I never seem to strictly stick to my plan:

Friday: grilled hot italian chicken sausage + millet + grilled carrots and onions

Saturday: BBQ hawaiian beef burgers + carrot slaw salad (but actually had grilled yellow squash) + baked beans

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Sunday: teriyaki grilled chicken + grilled veggies + brown/white rice

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Monday: black bean burgers + green salad

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Tuesday: rice krispie chicken strips + cheesy broccoli mash pasta

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Wednesday: black bean fajita quesadillas on homemade whole wheat tortillas along with avocado, sour cream and tomatoes

Thursday: breakfast for dinner French toast + eggs (but actually had kale, chorizo, potato and cheese frittata + fruit)

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I stuck pretty close to my dinner plan with just a few changes based on what I was feeling like for dinner.

Breakfasts for Hunter and I included: banana custard oats with peanut butter, scrambled eggs + toast, blueberry yogurt pancakes and french toast with applesauce. Always tons of coffee with milk for me (which I stocked up on when there was a steal of a deal for Starbucks coffee at target once).

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Breakfast for Jacob during the work week: pb + j sandwich and coffee with creamer

Lunches and snacks for Hunter and I: We mostly had leftovers (pictured below leftover mix includes rice, millet, black beans + fajita veggies, avocado and sour cream) plus random sandwiches (pb + j and tuna or chicken) paired with fresh fruit. Snacks include fresh fruit, raisins, yogurt with berries or jam, hard boiled eggs, peanut butter sandwiches and carrot sticks.

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Lunches and snacks for Jacob during the work week: sandwiches with chicken or tuna + an apple, banana or carrot sticks and snacks include deviled eggs, cereal and leftovers when he’s home.

Now a detailed breakdown of my shopping trips. I went to more stores than I normally would go to, which you’ll see in the weeks to come.

In addition to the visual of what I purchased, I’ve included a picture of the receipt to show prices.  There is also an explanation of what I picked up on sale and used a coupon with and any other notes.

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  • organic whole milk – submitted for a $0.50 ibotta credit
  • creamer
  • 3x dozen eggs – on sale
  • baked beans – on sale
  • cheddar cheese
  • canned pineapple
  • lemon juice
  • canning lids
  • low-sugar pectin
  • bananas
  • apples – discounted
  • green bell peppers – discounted
  • yellow squash – discounted

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I saved a lot on the produce.  Fred Meyer will have bagged fruit for $1.  It may not be the pretties, but normally all I have to do is cut off a soft spot on maybe one piece of fruit and the rest is great.

Fred Meyer total: $35.38 – $0.50 ibotta credit for the milk = $34.88

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  • 4 loaves of bread – submitted for a checkout 51 $0.25 credit
  • hamburger buns

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Oroweat total: $5.50 – $0.25 checkout 51 credit = $5.25

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  • 4x black beans – on sale + coupon
  • 2x peanut butter – on sale
  • avocados

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Fred Meyer total: $8.64

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  • 2x canned tuna
  • bandaids
  • bulk rolled oats
  • bulk whole wheat flour
  • bulk white rice
  • bulk brown rice
  • bulk garlic granules
  • bulk paprika
  • bulk oregano
  • bulk Italian seaoning
  • bulk thyme

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Winco total: $8.97

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  • kale
  • brocooli
  • celery
  • bananas
  • apricots – on sale
  • grape tomatoes – on sale
  • chicken breasts

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Chuck’s Produce total: $12.95

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  • kitty litter – returned
  • 4x whole grain pasta – used coupons
  • dove shampoo – used coupon

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Walmart total: $11.83 – $7.97 for returned kitty litter = $3.86

The kitty litter was actually supposed to be free which is why I bought it, but I picked up the wrong box which is why I returned it.  I’m planning to look for the right kind and get it for free (after mail in rebate) soon.  Read more about the litter here if you want some for yourself. :)

GRAND TOTAL for 6 stores: $74.55

Right under my $75 goal!

How I made it work this week:

  • I used mostly meat that I had previously picked up on sale that I stored up in the freezer – chucks didn’t have any great deals for meat going on which is why all I bought for the week was one package of chicken at a higher price than I like
  • I couponed and saved well on shampoo and pasta – that alone saved me over 50% on items I always buy and try to keep on hand
  • I made my own yogurt with the milk
  • We eat lots of eggs – great source of protein and they are affordable
  • Bulk bins allow me to buy the amount I need at a great price
  • I stocked up on bread that only costs me $1.10 a loaf – the white bread may not be the healthiest, but it’s what the hubs likes and sometimes I’m just too lazy to bake my own bread

I tried to include as much detail as I could think of for this grocery haul and meal breakdown, but as I share them, please let me know if there are other items that would be helpful. Or a format that makes it easier to understand. I’m here to help YOU!

Heather