Friday, April 11, 2014

Ten Days of Meals at $41/$43

I mention in the March Review post that I had forgotten that we had an extra week of groceries to account for in the month of March. Our budget was set-up for FOUR weeks of food, but our monthly food budget begins and ends on the 10th, due to our pay schedule. 

In looking at a calendar, you can see that April 10th falls on a Thursday, so we had roughly 12 days (March 30th- April 10th) of eating to get through before our April money is suppose to be used. On March 30th our remaining food fund was $41. We later scrounged coins up around the house to buy two onions and move our total amount spent up to $43. 

Our first month of food budgeting was definitely TOP heavy :) We don't tend to skimp when it comes to eating. Normally getting by for one week on $41 would be "tight," but 12 days seemed impossible. But we were torn because honestly how could we go over budget our first month and feel accomplished? So, we took on this challenge and raided the fridge, cupboards, and freezer for anything that would make a meal. 

We kept breakfast the same, homemade granola, but shifted from yogurt to milk for a few days and also took note that we had steel cut oats in case we ran out of milk and yogurt.  We did purchase half a gallon on milk and one vanilla Greek yogurt to help us get through. 

Lunches for the work week were going to be rice bowls, so that was easy enough to make and ensures that we had leftovers for dinner, when scheduled. We also bought mandarins in bulk, so that we would have fruit to last us the full two-weeks. 

This is how we mapped out our meals and accounted for leftovers: 

Sunday- Beef Chili 
Items in Stock: Kidney Beans,  a red pepper, leftover tortilla chips
Items Purchased: 1lb of Ground Beef, an onion

Rice Bowl for Week Ones Lunch (10 meals total)
Black Beans with Peppers and Onions, usually topped off with a little salsa.
Items in Stock: Brown Rice, Black Beans, 1/4 bag of Kale, frozen veggies
Items Purchased: Nothing :) 

Monday- Brie with Homemade Pretzel roles and Strawberries 
Items in Stock: Brie (bought at Costco at double the size for $7, we halved the wedge and froze half), All ingredients for the pretzel rolls were in stock
Items Purchased: Strawberries

Tuesday - Couscous with Roasted Chicken and Brussels Sprouts
Items in Stock: Couscous, leftover roasted chicken from the previous week, 1/2 bag of brussels sprouts, parmesan cheese
Items Purchased: Another free meal!

Wednesday- Leftover Chili with Homemade Pretzel Rolls
Items in Stock: LEFTOVERS :)
Items Purchased: n/a

Thursday- Kale Pesto Pasta with Meatballs
Our apartment building had happy hour in the lobby, so we brought back some meatballs to have with dinner :) A fun addition to our meal.
Items in Stock: Pasta and pesto
Items Purchased: Nada

Friday- Homemade Pizza
Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the whole pie :) But here is a snap shot of the leftovers on Saturday.
Items in Stock: Mozzarella (Frozen- like the brie from Costco), Half a pepperoni, all the makings for homemade dough
Items Purchased: Zilch

Saturday- Dinner with Family
We went over to work on a project and got invited over for dinner. Though we did spend money on beer, we are applying that to our April budget, so I am holding true to our $41 March budget :)

Sunday- Homemade Pelmeni 
This is a Russian dish that we love to make, but it is really time consuming. We cooked enough for dinner and then froze half for a future meal. We also managed to make a few Piroshki- pelmeni's baked cousins for Thursday's dinner.
Items in Stock: Fixings for a homemade dough and vegetable stock
Items Purchased: 1lb of ground beef, Greek yogurt, an onion*
**We did need to count change and buy 2 onions for this meal and Mondays. Bringing our total up to around $43. But it did not come out of the bank account, so we are still IN budget for March:) I am all about the small victories during this process, but we may run out of change soon!!

Rice Bowl for Week Two Lunch (8 meals total- we took Friday off from work for Fun)
Kielbasa sauteed with spinach and garlic and topped with steamed green beans and brussels sprouts
Items in Stock: White and Brown Rice- mixed, Spinach, 1/2 a bag of brussels sprouts, and frozen green beans
Items Purchased: Kielbasa

Monday- Lentil Pumpkin Soup with bagel chunks :) (I just wanted a carb)
Items in Stock: Bagels, Red Lentils, Pumpkin puree, Chicken stock, and spices
Items Purchased: an Onion

Tuesday- Shepard's Pie 
Items in Stock: Nothing- but it makes a good cheap meal with leftovers
Items Purchased: 1lb of ground beef, 4 potatoes, frozen veggies

Wednesday- Volunteer Event 
Dinner was provided and more details on the event later next week.

Thursday- Piroshki and Cherry Blossoms
We made these up with the Pelmeni on Sunday so that we could take them down to the tidal basin for our annual Cherry Blossom Picnic. Nick and I have gone down to the mall every year after work during the Cherry Blossoms for a picnic date night, so we had to plan ahead for this to happen during our 10 day cheap meals! I forgot to take pictures of our picnic, so you get Cherry Blossom Pics instead :)

Today, we are free to spend money, but chances are we will make a pizza- it is kind of our Friday thing. Looking in the fridge, we have leftovers to get us through Saturday and Sunday :)

What could you make with the items currently in your cupboard for dinner?? 

1 comment:

  1. funny you should mention but my family hates leftovers, except for me how sad for them. Many foods taste better the next day/