Blogging Through the Alphabet: C is for Cutting Grocery Expenses

Our budget is tight thanks to medical expenses.  Our goal is to spend $750 a month on gluten free, dairy free food that is ideally organic.  We also prefer meat that is grass-fed and pasture raised, in part because several of us have dietary issues.  Before I started trying to lower our grocery budget, we were routinely spending $1,100 a month on groceries.  Since I started tracking the last two months, I’m averaging approximately $850 a month, but this month I’ll be over that amount.

For our budget’s sake, I can’t keep going over.

In November, I’m going to try these strategies to keep the budget in line:

Find 10 to 15 Frugal Meals We Enjoy

I’ll put these meals into a regular rotation of one or two a week.  I plan to look at several sites to find these recipes.  My husband doesn’t mind beans, but he doesn’t like to eat them a lot, so I can’t rely solely on bean recipes.

Find More Meals I Can Eat With the Family

In June, 2016, I went AIP (again!) to deal with some health issues I was having.  The naturopath I worked with thinks that the core issue was that I was not able to get rid of mold in my body.  We had been exposed to a serious amount of mold in our old apartment, and then unbeknownst to us, our house we bought in 2014 had mold in my son’s closet and the bathroom wall as well as in our master bathroom.  That has been treated.  I took activated charcoal and removed the mold from my body, so I should be able to continue reintroducing food and eating more of the foods my family eats.

Separate My Grocery Budget

I’m planning on separating my $750 grocery budget.  I’ll use $500 for regular, weekly grocery expenses for a month, and $250 to restock our pantry and freezers when I find great deals.

Utilize Freezer Meals for Lunches

I’ve done a great job loading the freezer with dinners, but I think I need to expand my efforts and make some freezer meals for lunches.  If I don’t have a lunch plan, I tend to rely on convenience foods like Daiya boxed macaroni and cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches.  While these might be frugal options for most families, when you’re gluten and dairy free, these options are not frugal.  If I make freezer lunches, I’ll be spending less on our lunches.

Keep a Price Book

I’ve been lazy about keeping a price book.  I plan to start one in November.  I regularly go to four different stores in town–Trader Joe’s, Natural Grocers, Sprout’s, and Costco.  Why not keep track of the prices so I pay the lowest price I can for the regular items we buy?

Also, I plan to keep track of the sales cycles for our regular purchases.  Daiya shredded cheese (which we use a fair amount of) can go on sale for as low as $2.50 to $3.00 a bag.  The regular price is $4.99 a bag.  It makes sense to stock up when the price is low and get enough to last through the next sales cycle.  However, I first have to know what the sales cycle is!

Buy Enough Fruits and Veggies

We eat a lot of fruits and veggies in our house, but they’re relatively inexpensive, so I’d like to buy more and serve them for snacks.  Right now, I do serve them as snacks, but I’ve also gotten into the habit of relying on gluten free snack foods, which aren’t cheap.

I’ll let you know how these strategies work for me.  Hopefully, once they’re implemented, we’ll be able to get our grocery budget to the target of $750.

Have One Week a Month to Minimally Shop

I plan to have one week a month where I make a minimal shopping trip just for fresh fruits and veggies and any minor necessities that we need.  I’d like this trip to cost no more than $50 to $75 for the week.

What strategies do you use to save money at the grocery store, especially if you’re following a specialized diet?

Everywhere You Go There’s a Zacchaeus Up a Tree by Roger Campbell: A Book Review {Kregel Book Tour}

I recently had the pleasure of reading Roger Campbell’s book, Everywhere You Go There’s a Zacchaeus Up a Tree: Small-Town Faith and Words of Wisdom.

Roger Campbell, who passed away in 2015, was a pastor and author.  He had a syndicated weekly newspaper column for nearly 40 years, and his son has found Campbell’s over 100 best tales to share in this book.

This book offers separate one to two page articles covering a wide range of topics.  I think this book would work perfectly for someone’s morning routine.  Read the Bible, pray, and then read one article in this book for inspiration.

I loved Campbell’s witty humor and insight.  Hands down, my favorite chapter in this book was one that Campbell wrote about his mother, who hated gossip.  When she would have women over, as soon as the topic would inevitably turn to gossip, she would get up, walk to her kitchen window and say, “Isn’t it a beautiful day today!”

Campbell covers an array of topics that affect all of us, whether it’s how to be more grateful, how to help when you are weak, how to trust in God, etc.

Another favorite chapter, “A New Beginning”, is about Louis Zamperini, the Olympic runner and WWII fighter who was held prisoner of war in a Japanese camp and experienced much brutality.  When he returned home, he drank too much to escape the painful memories until he heard Billy Graham speak.  He went on to become sober, save his marriage, and become an inspiration for millions of kids he helped in his outreach program.  Campbell writes,

Millions long for a new beginning.  And the book of faith is filled with true stories of those who failed but found a way to start over.

Peter denied his Lord three times just before the crucifixion but was forgiven and became a hero of faith.  Thomas doubted the resurrection of Christ but after one weak week became a minster and martyr for his Lord.  Paul the apostle first persecuted the church but then became the greatest missionary of all time.

Many have come to faith after coming to the end of themselves.

You can make a new beginning.

Go for it!

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.

Note: I received this book from Kregel Publications in routine for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Homeschool Crew Review: Reading Eggs

Teaching reading has always been a challenge for me, in part because both of my girls had/have speech issues, which affected their reading.  PB & J Girl (8) has completed years of therapy and is now over her speech issues.  As soon as speech was … [Continue reading]

Are You Making One and Freezing One with MyFreezEasy?

This post contains affiliate links. Are you joining in with MyFreezEasy to make one, freeze one?  (This post has more details about the make one, freeze one challenge.) Tonight, we had the Slow Cooker Tex Mex Chili from the Slow Cooker plan.  … [Continue reading]

What We Ate Last Week, October 7 – 13, 2017

This week was a busy one, but next week, our co-op is on break as is the kids' religious ed class.  I'll enjoy spending more time at home and not being so rushed! This post contains affiliate links. Saturday Lunch--Taco Cornbread Bake (from … [Continue reading]

Get Started with Freezer Cooking with MyFreezEasy’s Make One Freeze One Challenge!

After my last freezer cooking session, several people e-mailed me to ask how to get started with freezer cooking. I remember when I got started with freezer cooking about eight years ago.  The idea of making a lot of meals was overwhelming, and … [Continue reading]

Grocery Report, October 5 – 11, 2017

The kids and I stopped by Natural Grocer to get a few things when, HELLO!, I saw a sign that said all bacon, any type, was just $2.99!  Our normal bacon that costs $6.99 a package was included in this sale.  I bought 6 packages, but I'm not going to … [Continue reading]

Cancer, Faith, and Unexpected Joy by Becky Baudouin: A Book Review {Kregel Book Tour}

Having had a parent that died of cancer, I was interested in reading Becky Baudouin's book, Cancer, Faith, and Unexpected Joy: What My Mother Taught Me about How to Live and How to Die. This is a beautiful, sometimes painful-to-read book that … [Continue reading]

Homeschool Crew Review: Brinkman Adventures Season 4

We've been spending so much time in the car lately, we've really enjoyed listening to audio stories to pass the time.  Lately, we've been listening to the Brinkman Adventures.  Brinkman Adventures Season 4 offers just as many exciting stories as the … [Continue reading]

What We Ate Last Week, September 30 – October 6, 2017

Ah, a new month!  I still have 30 meals in the freezer from last month's freezer cooking session, which is a huge blessing both time and money wise.  However, this week I doubled all of the meals I made so that we have more variety with our freezer … [Continue reading]