Tag Archives: budget

Another Week of Healthful Budget Grocery Shopping!

This week’s grocery shopping included four stops, all costing a total of $56.86! I used the “Dirty Dozen” list to make sure I was buying organic on the most important items, and went as all-natural on the rest of the ingredients as possible.

From Trader Joe’s: $36.93

  • 2 dozen all-natural eggs
  • organic plain yogurt
  • organic baby spinach
  • all-natural mozzarella log
  • local cucumber
  • local yellow squash
  • cauliflower
  • organic broccoli
  • uncured bacon ends and pieces
  • all-natural pork roast
  • organic gold potatoes

From Aldi: $9.72

  • dried cranberries
  • lemons
  • limes
  • cabbage
  • artisan lettuce
  • 3 cans of tuna in water

From Bi-Lo: $4.95

  • egg roll wrappers
  • wonton wrappers

From The Best Asian Market: $5.26

  • daikon root
  • bok choy
  • rice wine vinegar
  • mushrooms

Ideas for this week’s menu:

Breakfasts:

  • Spinach Bacon Quiche
  • Scrambled Eggs and Homemade Hashbrowns
  • We still have oatmeal, cereal, milk and juice from last week’s grocery shopping
  • I plan on attempting to make some artisan bread for toast and sandwiches as well

Lunches:

  • Leafy Green Salads with all the fixin’s
  • Tuna Salad Sandwiches
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Salads

Dinners:

Snacks:

  • Yogurt
  • Trail Mix (we have nuts and chocolate, and we’ll add the dried cranberries)
  • cucumber slices
  • Baked Apple Pie Egg Rolls
  • Some kind of dessert using lemons and limes – I haven’t decided yet
  • Fresh lemonade

Online Financial Resource: Mint.com

My brother told me about Mint.com a couple of years ago, but I didn’t pay much attention to him. My loss…probably literally. A couple friends from church started using Mint.com and loved it so much they couldn’t stop talking about it, so I thought I’d give it a try. It’s a pretty helpful tool. You can link all of your accounts for tracking purposes, set up budgets, savings goals, retirement tracking, and so much more. And it sends you a weekly email to let you know how you did in reality compared to your budget. Pretty cool! Worth a shot, especially if you’re trying to save and live within your means. Oh, and did I mention it’s free! Happy Saving!

Easily Accessible From Multiple Devices

What Others Are Saying About Mint.com

A Welcome Home Basket

Recently, we had some friends from church that had an out of town funeral and would be home for about half a week before heading out for a scheduled family vacation. The traveling was exhausting, not to mention emotional, and the last thing we wanted them to have to do between the funeral trip and getting ready for a much needed vacation was to have to go grocery shopping. So, we put together a quick basket for a few days of fast meals. They really enjoyed it! And it was a lot of fun putting it together. The fruit and vegetables were from our Milk & Honey Organics basket for that week.

What’s in the Box:

  • Loaf of English Muffin Bread (from Publix)
  • Florida’s Natural Orange Juice
  • Organic Milk
  • All-Natural Sliced Cheese
  • Mixed Baby Greens
  • Jar of Homemade Potato Corn Chowder (enough for 2)
  • All-Natural Sliced Turkey
  • Container of Homemade Guacamole
  • Homemade Cheese Quesadillas (wrapped in foil for a fast reheat)
  • Organic Onion
  • All-Natural Sour Cream
  • Organic Yogurt Cups
  • Organic Broccoli Head
  • Organic French Roast Whole Bean Coffee
  • 1 dozen Eggs
  • Organic Apples and Plums

Ideas for Meals:

  • Quesadillas + Guac + Sour Cream + Onion + Salad
  • Soup + Sandwich
  • Sandwich + Salad
  • Eggs + Toast + Juice
  • Yogurt + Fruit
  • Sandwich + Broccoli
  • Coffee + Milk (not a meal, but very important!)
I’m posting this as much for myself as for you all. I want to remember what we put in the basket, so we can do this again, maybe for a new mom, a sick friend or a special break for someone. It’s a great way to get your children involved in serving others too. Be creative and see how many variations you can create in one small box on a budget. This whole box cost us just less than $30.

Why Make a Meal Plan?

Each week when I find out what’s going to be in our produce delivery, I begin a meal plan. It’s a simple chart of recipe ideas. I start with a list of what’s in this week’s basket as well as what I have on hand. Then I start searching recipe sites, cookbooks, magazines and blogs for new ideas, especially on the items I haven’t cooked with much but would hate to throw away. There are so many excellent resources at our fingertips!

Meal planning is a great way we found to trim our budget (and our waistlines). My goal each week is to use everything in our delivery and not have to purchase anything but staples at the grocery store. This is where the budget savings comes in. I don’t always stick to cooking the exact meal on the exact day it’s scheduled, but having a plan helps me utilize every piece of my basket to its fullest potential.

Also, it helps me think ahead and make sure I’m getting fresh, organic fruits and vegetables in my family’s diet. Sometimes it’s easier to get caught up in our all-to-busy lifestyles and run for take-out or quick fix foods (which are often overly processed and not good for us). When our meals are planned (including our snacks), we find ourselves snacking on extra pieces of fruit instead of sweets, so we avoid empty calories.

The Milk and Honey Organics basket helps me be creative with our menu too. We still have some standard meals that almost always show up on the menu (like Tuesday night Pizza Night), but we’re also able to try new things that I might not have picked up had I gone to the grocery store.

Investing time in writing out a meal plan helps me make the most of my time, money, and health. Below is my meal plan for this week. I hope it helps you as much as it helps me. Click on the link below to view a PDF version with interactive links for recipes.

Weekly Meal Planner 6.3-9.11

Have a happy and healthy week! And don’t forget to place your order by Tuesday for next week’s basket of sweetness! Bon Appetit! ~Melissa

Eating Organic (Jan. 21, 2010)

I’ve been thinking about going organic more and more recently. So, I decided to do some online research on the topic. It seems that it is actually possible to eat organic (eliminating the hormones, antibiotics, and disease found in so many of the manipulated food sources, including meats and vegetables) and still eat frugally. Hopefully the result will be a healthier household. While our food budget may go up initially, if all of the research is correct, we should live longer, healthier, and better quality lives, with fewer trips to the doctor and less drugs (which would save us money in the long run). Also, eating local organics will help put money back into our local economy, versus further increasing Corporate America’s monopoly and bottom line.

Here is a list of resources:

Food, Inc. – This is a documentary style film available on DVD now. I would highly recommend it as an introductory educational resource about the food industry in America.

Online articles (click on links):
Eating Organic on a Frugal Budget
The Organic Thrifty Food Plan Challenge
USDA: Recipes and Tips for Eating Healthy
Books (I haven’t read any of these yet, but I wanted to include them as possible options):

How to Cook a Wolf by M. F. K. Fisher, part of the “Art of Eating” series
The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
Food Politics by Marion Nestle
One of my questions: One of the comments in the Food, Inc. movie was that farmers (as well as animals) are building up immunities to the antibiotics used on the animals. If the bacteria morph so that they can no longer be treated, then does that affect my immune system to the point that I may become immune to certain antibiotics? Just a thought.

My response: Going along with my 2010 Resolutions of eating less processed foods, I am going to up the ante by trying to eat only organic items while still only spending $250/month on groceries (I will remove personal items like bath products, batteries, etc., from the count for the purpose of this trial). I’m not going to the extreme where I’m throwing everything away that’s not organic in my house. We’ll still finish eating those things while no longer buying them going forward. We have a household with only two adults, so that helps the budget a bit. I am also going to look into local farmers’ markets and coops to see if they can offer better prices for organic items. Thankfully, we have Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Earthfare, a couple local farmers’ markets, and organic options at Ingles and BiLo.

Meal Planning from the UK (Jan.13, 2010)

Here’s an incredible resource if you’re trying to eat better and watch your budget. It provides healthful meal options and recipes. You simply drop and drag which meal you want when, and it prints a calendar, shopping list, and all the recipes! Check it out!

http://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/5aday.aspx