>> Monday, February 22, 2010
Budget and bulk grocery shopping, pantry stocking, coupon cutting, PART ONE
Chronicling my learning experiences as I begin to track our spending and eating habits in an attempt to create a food budget that is smaller than our current unbudgeted (but still done on the cheap) food lifestyle.
The first thing I've begun doing is saving receipts. ALL our food related receipts. I'm hoping I can begin to pick out the patterns- when we shop for convenience instead of for savings, how often we eat out (and why), what sorts of foods we are buying and what percent of our total food bill does each type make up.
I'm still in the fledgling stages of this process- I have almost 1 month worth of receipts in a giant mound on my desk. I didn't want to wait to start blogging though- because this past Thursday brought a payday and with it, an on-call paycheck, which meant extra grocery money to go to Sam's Club and stock up on meats.
SO- while this process is probably going to be choppy and bounce around; topic to topic as I do stuff, here's what I've learned so far:
That separating 78 pounds of meat into individual meals thrills the hell out me, lol. Today I spent 2 hours, 28 gallon size zip top bags, 14 sandwich size zip top bags, about 8 feet of plastic wrap and 3 feet of aluminum foil to pack up 48 meals worth of beef, pork and chicken products.
Here's the breakdown:
(2) whole oven roaster chickens (2 meals each)
(8) 5 pc bags Italian sausage
(3) 1lb packs bacon
(8) 1 ½ lb bags 90% lean ground beef
(2) 1 ¼ lb bags 80% ground beef
(6) 1 lb bags stew beef
(6) pork tenderloins
(2) 4 ½ pc bags pork chops
(9) 5-6 pc bags boneless chicken breast halves
Total cost for 48 meals: $169.67
Average $3.53 worth of meat per meal OR $.71 per person
I know, I am INSANE, right? I can't begin to express how excited I was doing the math for this! (read: dork)
The next thing I did was make a simple little list to tape to the top of my chest freezer so I could keep track of what I have. I love having an extra freezer to store all this stuff, but if you're in the market, I highly recommend getting a stand up freezer with shelving. I lose stuff in the bottom of the freezer constantly and have to dig around shuffling stuff and making even more of a mess every time I want to pull out something for dinner- which inevitably leads to me buying stuff I already have simply because I can't find what I'm looking for!
So that's what I did today, and I'm damn proud of it, too! Now I need to work on menu planning based on the meats and dry goods I have. (Ugh, dry goods- my pantry, the bane of my existence. I have no idea how to work out a good system for stocking it, but that's another post entirely!)