Pantry Changes

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that there were a few changes taking place in our homestead. One of those changes is in how we manage our money. Since we married, I've done some variation of meal planning with varying stringency. While a friend of ours is participating in No Spend March, we decided to use this month to focus on how we spend our grocery money. Ideally, we're trying to scale back from $300 a month to $200. With grocery prices rising and our commitment to organic produce, milk, and meat, I'm not sure we'll be able to keep it at $200, but we're going to try.

So far it's been a fun challenge. I've been using a site that aggregates my local grocery store circulars so I can quickly and easily see which stores have the best deals. It also allows you to make and print a grocery list, and includes nutritional information for many products. I'm also doing a better job at selecting coupons and sticking to my list--which ultimately means sticking to my meal plan. To make life a little easier, I'm attempting to plan meals for two weeks, with only one week being the major grocery store run. The second week is to pick up incidentals and fresh produce.

The one thing that will probably put us over our goal is that the grocery store is having a stock up and save on frozen items. Not only are they running some super 10 for $10 deals on frozen veggies, but they are also offering $25 rebate when you spend $100 during the month. I really want the rebate and my freezer filled.

Perhaps the biggest change in this new "system" is the near elimination of cereal from our pantry. Breakfast has been by far the most expensive meal we eat. This is mainly because of the cost of cereal and organic milk. Yes, I know we could drink regular milk, but I've got pretty strong convictions about what I put into our bodies. Plus, we're fortunate enough to be able to have local organic milk! [For those local readers, it's Weis Organic Milk. Averages $3.49 for a half gallon and it lasts forever! Unlike other "national" organic brands I've never had this spoil on me.] 

To replace the loss of cereal, I've been baking muffins, making smoothie mixes, egg dishes, and experimenting with steel cut oats. All in all, David and I are noticing that we stay satiated longer. I'm loving that I'm able to use up frozen fruit and cut down on mid-morning snacks! Yes, it does require a little more planning and effort on my part, but that is the joy of being home. I can spend time rather than money. And I'm more than happy to do so for those blue eyes...

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