Friday, March 29, 2013

Steamed Pork Buns and Still Going Strong!

It's been 5 weeks and we are still going strong!  $50/week for a family of 3 adults.  Planning menus every week, making a shopping list, and sticking to it!  The only times we've varied from the program were when we went out to eat one night (boy, that's expensive in comparison!) and when we took a camping trip with extended family--where we provided the food.  

One of our favorite meals this last week was Chinese Pork Buns.  A family favorite that lasts for several days!  And is really quite easy to make! 

This is our menu plan and list for 2 weeks ago.  We went a little bit over.  

With tax, the actual total was $53.94.  And that week we ended up having breakfast for dinner and extra leftovers for another dinner.  So we saved Chinese Pork Buns and Potatoes Au Gratin for this week.  

That meant I could save even more money because 2 meals would carry over to this week!  I also decided to go to a different store.  It's a little farther away, but seemed to have better prices!

In the end, I was able to get everything on my grocery list AND a $5.73 tube of face cream my daughter asked me to pick up as I walked out the door.  We still came out well below budget!

What about things other than groceries?  Cleaning supplies.  Toilet Paper.  Paper towels?

Well, we don't use as many "extras" as a lot of families.  People 100 years ago didn't have access to so many extra supplies.  And advertising hadn't led them to believe they couldn't live without "X, Y, or Z."  They still had clean homes and clean babies.

At our house, we use very little in the cleaning supply department.  And what we do use, we buy at Costco in large quantities.  Our goal is to only go to Costco once a quarter.  And only spend $100.  So that is $100 divided by 12 or 13 weeks.  $7.69 added on to our weekly cost if you thought about it that way.

This is our last Costco shopping list.  We bought 2 giant packages of TP--and I think it will last the 3 months.  We bought an enormous bag of dog food.  That should last even longer because our dog is little.  We were down on sugar, so we bought a 25 lb bag.  (Sometimes, you can find sugar cheaper on sale in the regular grocery stores.)  We bought 2 double bottles of our favorite grape juice.  Some yeast. (My last bag has kept us going for 3 years in the freezer!) And some kitchen garbage bags--which will last more than 6 months.

Next time, we might buy dish washing liquid or detergent.  Or Windex.  Or lotion.  Or shampoo.  But right now, we are still okay on those items.  I don't like a lot of chemicals in my house.  My skin simply can't handle the onslaught.  So I keep it simple. 

And if I desperately need something before the 3 months is up, I can buy it in my weekly list.  And choose a cheaper meal that week to cover the extra cost if needed.

Things I'm really liking about this new system:

1.  Dinner is always planned.  And the ingredients are always there. I don't assign a particular meal to a particular day, but I don't have to panic and figure anything out.  I just choose a meal off the weekly list, open up the cookbook, and cook.  It's so very easy!

2.  The most obvious.  I'm saving money and time!  Grocery shopping is fast.  Low stress.  And I feel empowered.  Not led aimlessly around the store by pretty packaging and yummy-looking foods.  No pondering whether I should buy something or not.  I have my list.  I stick to it.  I'm in and out of the store without losing control.  

3.  We are eating less---actually almost NO---junkfood!  Very little pre-prepared food.  Almost all is homemade from scratch.  It is tastier.  Healthier.  Cheaper.  And honestly, easier!  Once a habit is formed, it is easy to maintain.

4.  Variety.  Variety is the spice of life and now that I take the time to plan out a menu and find new recipes to try---our diet is much more varied.  My creative mind is challenged by the new and different and my palate is, too!

Pork Buns steaming in a pot.  They lasted for dinner and 2 more days of lunches.  Gave some to friends, too!

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