or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Frugality & Finances › January 2011 Home Cooking Challenge
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

January 2011 Home Cooking Challenge

post #1 of 235
Thread Starter 

As part of my financial goals for the New Year, I've decided to revamp the grocery budget and have goaled myself to cook EVERY meal at home AND stay within my $500 monthly grocery budget (feeding 1 adult, 3 teenage boys and 1 tween girl).

Anyone care to join me?

 

ETA:  I'll be posting my menus weekly, beginning on Monday. (I'm willing to share recipes, so just ask if you see anything in my meal plan that appeals to you.  eat.gif )


Edited by kathirynne - 12/29/10 at 12:59pm
post #2 of 235

I will join you!

 

My goal to prepare and cook 5 out of 7 meals a week at home. I also plan to make better use of left-overs.

 

Our budget will stay the same for groceries but our "extra" money should be lowered significantly.


Edited by Aeress - 12/28/10 at 5:47pm
post #3 of 235

I am already cooking almost all our meals at home (maybe once a week max we don't eat homecooked) but I am currently having a hard time figuring out how to bring our grocery bill down much, but maybe that has to do with where we live? (NYC). I already buy very little prepared food. And we don't eat meat.

 

We're right now living with my parents so I don't have as much control but when we move into our place in the next few weeks I will go back to some loose meal planning and maybe try to add tracking the food expenses to that. Right now I do a lot of shopping and cooking for us four PLUS them which makes 6. But my dad buys groceries too, and he doesn't like to have much extra around or anything frozen (so can't buy bulk or cook extra). And of course I have to accommodate their dietary preferences too. Anyway, makes it all a little confusing.

 

I am thinking of trying a home delivery service of organic produce which would definitely make things cheaper if it was enough to feed us for the week. And a different one for raw milk... that would bring costs down if I could get into a habit of making our own yogurt and kefir with it. (that stuff is mad expensive even though we just buy plain full-fat organic in large containers).

 

Maybe my goal should be to keep eating at home and cooking from scratch as much as possible, but also to TRACK our grocery budget better so I know where the $$ is going, and can figure out how to bring that down?

post #4 of 235

I'll join. My goal for this year is to learn to cook more. There's only a few things I make at home and I tend to order out to often b/c I get really hungry and don't have anything made and I'm to hungry to make something. I'm going to start making something new each week, something healthy and full of veggies (I'm vegetarian) and try and save a little for left overs.

post #5 of 235

I'm in.  I cook at home most of the time normally but we did eat out several times in December and we really don't need (or want) to.

 

I meal plan for a month at a time and shop every week or 2, depending on sales.  We raise our own meat and alot of our own produce so our grocery bill really should be much lower, but we do go through lots of snacky things.  I bake my own, but I can't really duplicate chips and I have a hard time not buying those.

post #6 of 235

I'm in! We eat at home pretty regularly anyway, but it's always good to have a support system AND to get menu inspiration. eat.gif

post #7 of 235

I'm in. I always cook but I have been bad with keeping up with this thread...I really want to so we can get some new menu ideas. However, we are starting out the new year with dinner out on NYE, which is also our anniversary. Since we've only gone out to dinner one other time this year, I refuse to feel guilty about it!

post #8 of 235

Does anyone have an app for their phone that has helped them plan meals, grocery lists etc?

post #9 of 235
I'm in! I haven't been recording all my food but I have been home cookin'. smile.gif I just got Nourishing Traditions and a pasta roller/cutter for Christmas so I'm all revved up! smile.gif I also have a cookbook called Mrs. Restino's Country Kitchen that I want to start using. I just got it and every time I look at it I make myselfd sooo hungry!
post #10 of 235

I need to be in, but have a hard time staying w/these threads, lol.  I'll do my best.

 

Last night we had veggie soup (onion, carrot, celery, bell pepper, sweet potato, tomatoes, and corn made w/deer stock), cabbage/potatoes/onion/sausage stir fry, home made rolls, and baked beans from scratch.  Totally expect to have leftovers tonight w/out baked beans 'cause my kids ate those for breakfast, lol.

 

I am looking forward to butchering time soon.  Feral pigs and our home-raised rabbits!  Our freezers are getting pretty empty!

post #11 of 235

I'm in.  We are cutting way back to bare bones in January.  DH broke his foot and had to have surgery a couple weeks ago (=medical bills + lots of extra gas $ since I have to drive DH to work), we need to pay for the next quarter of gymnastics classes for my DDs and our half beef should be coming this month also. 

 

I've been doing really well eating at home for the past few months, my spending on eating out has gone down a couple hundred dollars/month.  I'm going to continue on this course.  DH will be going out to eat once in the middle of the month, and my goal is to not go out to eat out at all this month.  This means I'm going to have to be extra vigilant about planning workable menus and packing lunches/dinners, since I'll be driving around so much during mealtimes.  I've got a pretty well stocked pantry, and my freezer is far too full considering that we have beef coming at the end of the month, so I'll have a lot to work with.  I'm going to attempt a $400 grocery budget for the 6 of us.  I know it will be tight, but I think it's doable.  Almost all of the budget will be spent on produce and dairy.

 

post #12 of 235

can i join?

 

i'm a single wohm to two boys.  my grocery budget is $100 a week, but i always cheat by spending less to justify ordering a pizza one night or something.  i also blow my spending money on lunches out during the week (fast food, bleh), and i throw away more food than i would like to (produce and leftovers).

 

my boys eat breakfast, lunch and a snack at preschool five days a week.  however, preschool breakfast is a couple hours after they wake up, so i give them something small at home.  it used to be something semi crazy like a granola bar or a bag of goldfish (eaten in the car!) when i was first adjusting to this single mom, getting two kids out the door in the morning, business.  i'm doing a little better now, but i would like to get away from cold cereal and do oatmeal (or other hot cereal) pretty much every day, because it's healthier and cheaper - much cheaper, since i wouldn't buy milk if we weren't eating cereal.

 

i need to be able to make dinner really quickly, which has led to some poor choices (again, both nutritionally and financially).  my goal is to start using my crockpot three days a week and eating salad the other two days.  i've started collecting vegetarian crockpot recipes, actually a long time ago.  i'm not sure what to feed my boys on the nights i have salad.  they don't eat it.  obviously i can offer them the same veggies, nuts, beans or fruit i'm having on my salad, but . . . as for their main food, not sure.  sandwiches maybe?  they love hard-boiled eggs.  i suppose pasta, rice, potatoes, etc are all options too.

 

weekends are when i do most of my actual cooking!

 

oh - i also just ordered this http://www.amazon.com/Artisan-Bread-Five-Minutes-Revolutionizes/dp/0312362919/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1293568675&sr=8-1 for quick, easy and yummy home made bread!

 

do you do special weekend breakfast/brunches?

post #13 of 235

Our weekend breakfasts are usually eggs.  We never have time for eggs on weekdays and my kids love them.  About once a month I make a huge batch of waffles or pancakes, let them eat their fill and then freeze the rest so dh can feed them those on weekdays and they only take a minute to toast. 

 

My weeknight dinners are quick too, I just have no desire to spend hours cooking after I get home from work.  Saturday and Sunday dinners are usually much bigger.  We did pizza on Friday nights, but I make my own or buy frozen pizza on sale. 

post #14 of 235
Tonight I'm making pasta from scratch and meat sauce with carrots blended in plus sauteed zucchini. Yummm! eat.gif
post #15 of 235
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by doubledutch View Post

...my goal is to start using my crockpot three days a week...

 

...do you do special weekend breakfast/brunches?

 

In my experience, a CrockPot is a single working mother's best friend!
 

I have LOTS of vegetarian/vegan CrockPot recipes that are pretty cheap and make enough to freeze half for another dinner later in the month.  I also have some recipes for bread dough that you can keep in the refrigerator all week and use a little at a time to have fresh, homemade rolls in 30 minutes.  Let me know if you want some recipes.  smile.gif

 

I usually make fruit waffles (I have about 6 different recipes, some of which are vegan - again, you can have the recipes if you want them) on Saturday for brunch.
 


Edited by kathirynne - 1/3/11 at 10:08am
post #16 of 235


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathirynne View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by doubledutch View Post

...my goal is to start using my crockpot three days a week...

 

...do you do special weekend breakfast/brunches?

 

In my experience, a CrockPot is a single working mother's best friend!
 

I have LOTS of vegetarian/vegan CrockPot recipes that are pretty cheap and make enough to freeze half for another dinner later in the month.  I also have some recipes for bread that you can keep in the refrigerator all week and use a little at a time to have fresh, homemade rolls in 30 minutes.  Let me know if you want some recipes.  smile.gif

 

I usually make fruit waffles (I have about 6 different recipes, some of which are vegan - again, you can have the recipes if you want them) on Saturday for brunch.
 


of course i do! love.gif

post #17 of 235
Tonight was chicken tacos/ taco salad. Also DS2 has recently decided that be doesn't like chicken tacos, so he had leftover roast beef from last night. Chicken tacos/ taco salad is a staple for my family, we have it at least once a week. We raise meat chickens & butcher them every summer. It's not really cheaper than buying chicken from the store, but it tastes SO much better and is somewhat satisfying. wink1.gif As a result, we have a freezer full of chicken.

Weekend breakfast/brunch: eggs, bacon and fruit. I buy Coleman Natural Bacon at Costco (less than $10 for 3- 12oz. packages). Eggs are from our hens when they're laying or free range organic from the store. Fruit is whatever's on hand. If my kids are feeling really adventurous they make pancakes (topped with butter and maple syrup or more often berries); I've been cutting back on grains, so I don't often eat or make pancakes.
post #18 of 235

I'm in.  I'm ashamed of how much we've eaten out and spent on groceries these last several months.  I just have to resign myself to the fact that the all day "morning" sickness will never go away, like last time, and I have to learn to function even while not being able to be in the kitchen or hold anything down.  Not sure what the grocery budget will be this month, I've been craving steaks and have switched to store bought bread/yogurt to make life easier, so the super frugal, mostly TF (but low meat), meal planned budget is not going to cut it, but I'd rather increase the budget by a hundred dollars or so than have several hundred dollars worth of over the budget food spending which cuts into our debt snowball.

 

Like others I need to get out my crockpot and stop wasting so much food!

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by MamitaM View Post

I tend to order out to often b/c I get really hungry and don't have anything made and I'm to hungry to make something. I'm going to start making something new each week, something healthy and full of veggies (I'm vegetarian) and try and save a little for left overs.

 

 

Me too! I go grocery shopping, have plenty of ingredients in the pantry and then I'm too tired to cook and too hungry.  I am so spoiled because we live in the city with tons of options.  We were visiting my in-laws and a trip to the grocery store or a fast food joint is an event, nobody's going to drive 30 minutes (at least) to get something because what's at home "doesn't sound good."  I also think of my great-grandmother who if she wanted chicken had to butcher it and clean it before she could cook it.  I have no excuse for not cooking at home even if I'm sick because there are so many options that make that easier even if they cost a bit more.  And it's just silly to think that we can't afford convenience when we so easily overspend on eating out!

post #19 of 235

January will be bare bones for us too.  I just got stupid self into a fender bender today that wrecked the front end of my vehicle and while I have full coverage, the $500 deductible is going to break me, plus the time out of work this week from Christmas and New Years and tonight when I got hit.  So January was already going to be lean but now it's going to be pay and pray. :(  So starting tomorrow, we are eating out of the pantry, which thankfully is well stocked.  NO going out, ordering in, or otherwise even spending on a coffee on the way to work for me all month until this is paid for.  But maybe it's a blessing in disguise because I'm in need of a little beginning of the year healthy eating choices anyway after the Christmas cookie binge. 

post #20 of 235

I'm subbing, and hoping to join.  I've known I have to get back to more cooking from scratch for a while, and I've already started making the shift.  I just made up a meal plan, mostly for breakfasts & dinners, yesterday; lunches are usually leftovers or easy sandwiches, so I only planned for a few.  Homemade snacks are an area I need to work on, too.  Luckily, one of my Christmas gifts was a breadmaker to replace the one I ran into the ground a few months ago, so I'm hoping to have lots of quick/sweet bread snacks for the kids.  I'm planning on getting back into the habit of making yogurt -- made up a batch yesterday -- and I'm also going to try to keep a selection of cut up fresh veggies & dip on hand for snacks.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Frugality & Finances
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Frugality & Finances › January 2011 Home Cooking Challenge