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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Frugal Accomplishments This Week

So, if you've noticed, I haven't really been posting my "frugal accomplishments" these past few weeks- life got a bit overwhelming, and on top of everything else, I felt I wasn't really doing all sorts of things that were really frugal- nothing dramatic like making homemade pasta or upcycling really cool. So nothing to share, right?
I honestly didn't feel like doing anything this week but veg out, so anything frugal that we did do, I consider a great accomplishment.


Well, not really.
Sometimes just plain day to day life can be frugal, depending on how you look at it.
You see, lately, I haven't been making any vegan dishes. I haven't been making so many things "from scratch" (I mean, everything I'm eating isn't processed, but I'm not making many homemade versions of store bought things), I'm eating paleo and still cooking mostly paleo (other than breakfasts) for my family. And I've just been a super lazy cook and super lazy in general. And even so, our grocery bills have actually gone down.

Because I am just buying less.
Lately, when I go to the grocery store, I try to see "Can I make my total week's worth of groceries' bill be under $75? Under $100?" I've been making good use of my portable hanging scale that I keep in my pocketbook, so I can know exactly how much the produce I am buying is costing me, and embarassingly enough, for the first time in a long time, I actually am arriving at the register knowing approximately how much my bill will cost. Knowing in advance how much it will cost, I end up spending a lot less altogether, because I don't just throw in those random extras that are still frugal, but increase your total cost of groceries, that you aren't paying so much attention to when you're not adding up every cent before you reach the register. This accountability of mine has actually gotten our weekly grocery bill to be between $80-$115, and that would make our average monthly grocery bill now be under $450. Which is pretty amazing, given the fact that I'm not using a bunch of cheap fillers anymore, I rarely cook rice or any grains for the family meals (and certainly none for me- though they are eating rice based cereal and the rare porridge or pancakes in the morning), am not using any cheaper vegan proteins (other than the occasional peanut butter for my kids), and our monthly grocery bill is still coming to be less than it was before I went paleo!
So even if I'm not doing the quote unquote extra frugal stuff, somehow I am managing to be more frugal with my grocery bills.
The other thing I am doing that is lowering my grocery bills is simply buying less produce, and then making do. I love a good bargain, and I love my veggies, but I noticed far too often I'd buy cheap produce which would then spoil in my fridge, so i was literally throwing away money. Now I'm not even necessarily buying the absolute cheapest produce (though I am aiming for the cheaper things, but not only), but I am going shopping only once a week, and if we run out of produce before then, well, I'm in trouble, so I am making sure to use up every last bit of produce and not let anything go to waste, so we are still having a lot of produce based meals, but spending less because less is going in the garbage...
How embarrassing to admit that!

Now other than that- what tangible frugal things did our family do this week?

I made gluten free fluffy rolls for the kids.

Well, I made homemade almond milk- using the seconds method, and using almonds I bought at the market for half price since they were broken.

With the pulp left from the almond milk, I made paleo egg free carob cookies.

And then I made homemade paleo chocolate pudding using that homemade almond milk.

I made honey mustard salmon heads for supper one night.

I foraged prickly pear cactus fruit.

I made crock pot buckwheat porridge for breakfast for the kids, and then reheated the leftovers for breakfast the next day, so it wouldn't go to waste.

I bought whole chickens cheaply at the grocery store, then butchered them myself.

I had some cucumbers that needed to be used up ASAP, so I peeled them (because the skin was bitter since they were old), and then made them into a delicious Korean cucumber salad.

Mike dumpster dived a working fan.

Made bone broth from chicken frames.

Made homemade paleo cheesecake type dessert using the broken nuts I bought cheaply.

And then, simply because I am feeling lazy about cooking, every single bit of leftovers got reused and revamped and reserved, so none of the leftovers got tossed. I didn't really make anything super fancy from the revamped leftovers, just threw them together in the pan to heat up, and that's that.

What did you do to save money this past week, or recently? If you've managed to get your grocery bills down recently, how did you manage to do so?

2 comments:

  1. I'm recovering from surgery and just home from staying with my mum for the worse of the recovery. I've gotten home to find that my housemate (we eat together/share bills) has eaten down my freezer reserves so Ive had to buy more food to restock.
    That said I have returned from my mum's with cooking and eating apples from her garden. Only a few £ worth but as the trees are left to their own devices maybe I should compare the prices with organic apples instead.
    I have used the green tops from the carrots in my vegbox as vegetables mixed with onion after both going through the food processor, mixed with an egg and baked. Normally carrot greens go straight to the compost.
    And (good for two reasons) I resisted buying myself a treat whilst food shopping. Well actually I kind of did but what I bought will go further (strawberry jam and cream so tomorrow I will make jam tarts and top with cream).

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  2. I made up some l;ean ground beef (clearance) & ground pork, froze 1/2 of it and used the rest to make goulash (spaghetti with Tortiglioni pasta instead of strings). Will get 6 meals from that and still have the other 1lb of cooked meat to use for the next time.

    Also made up a 2 1/2 lb pot roast with carrots, potatoes, radishes and onions. Will get 3 meals from the roast and then will use the remaining roast to make another dish (beef and noodles which will give me another 4 meals.)

    I also made easy thanksgiving dinner. Got a 3lb turkey breast for $5.50. Add can of cranberries, box of Stove Top Stuffing, steamed broccoli, and mashed potatoes (real ones). Will get 4 meals out of all that. Then there should still be enough left over turkey for 2 sandwiches.

    All in all, I used my 2 days off to make up some meals that are easy but that will still taste great re-heated for those days when Hubby and I don't wanna cook after work. (Mon & Tues this week.)

    Oh, we did splurge tho, the fair came to town, we spent $37 on food (gyro, philly cheesesteak, 2 waffle cakes, and a soda.) However, my husband also won $37 in scratch off tickets so it evened out. Plus the fair was free since it was employee appreciation day for my company there.

    I think I did real good.

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