Week 3 Wrap-Up
Today is the end of week 3 in the 60 Day Grocery Makeover and I’m thrilled that things not only went to plan, but I also ended up with an extra meal for the week. We had chili on Tuesday – one of those meals that is even better the next day – and ate it leftover on Thursday. I’ll carry over the spicy Indian lentil dahl with pita to our week 4 meal plan, which will help me stay on budget during the holidays. The fact that my meal plan went, well, according to plan, is nothing short of amazing with all the extra holiday events and errands that happen this time of year. It feels really good to have a practical plan in place to save us from spending more going out to eat on those busy, tired nights.
Our kids will all be here for the holidays and that means I’ll have to feed 6 adult-sized people for part of the week instead of just 4. Of course, there are always more festive snacks and treats to account for too. To make up for that, I’ve planned more vegetarian meals, more meals that will provide great leftovers, and maybe some meat out of the freezer I bought earlier on sale. As always, I’ll deduct anything from my freezer or pantry bought before the makeover started from the weekly budget.
I debated whether I should include our holiday meals in the weekly budget or keep them separate. I decided not to include them because holidays are full of extra guests, parties, pot-lucks and all manner of snacking-goodness that I believe is more in line with entertainment. So, I used our holiday budget for the extra items bought for holiday festivities.
Because of the meals I planned and what was on sale this week, I did most of my shopping at Sprouts. Here is how shopping turned out this time around.
I spent $109.13 at Sprouts Farmers Market:
- 5 pounds carrots $2.99
- 2 pounds oranges $2.19
- 2 pound bag clementines $1.98
- Fresh pineapple $98 cents
- 6 avocados $3.00
- 12 limes $4.00
- 3 (1 pound) boxes organic spinach $14.97
- 1 head organic broccoli $1.13
- 2 (4 pound) bags organic grapefruits $7.96
- 2 organic orange bell peppers $4.00
- 2 pounds organic tomatoes $3.92
- Organic celery $1.25
- 1 bunch organic cilantro 99 cents
- 2 cartons organic chicken broth $4.00
- 1 carton organic beef broth $2.00
- Organic blue corn chips $4.49
- 3 dozen organic free range eggs $13.77
- 2 bottles grapefruit juice $3.99
- 1/2 pound bulk peppercorns $9.56
- Organic frozen green beans $1.99
- Organic frozen corn $2.00
- Organic frozen peas $2.00
- Vanilla gelato $4.99
- 2 blocks organic white cheddar $10.98
I spent $41.92 at Whole Foods:
- 1 large can organic tomatoes $2.49
- Organic sour cream $2.69
- 1 large carton organic grassfed yogurt $4.99
- 1 bag organic basmati rice $4.99
- 2 packs organic butter $8.98
- 2 lemons $1.38
- 8 pounds organic Yukon gold potatoes $16.34
- 5 avocados $5.00
- 1 organic red bell pepper $1.80
That brings this week’s total to $151.05!
Keep in mind though that I was $14.59 under budget, so I had a little room, which was helpful in covering all the extra sale items I stocked up on this week. With the carry over from earlier weeks, I am still $13.54 under budget for this week, week 4. So, for December, our first 30 days, I did it! I purchased whole and mostly organic food for my family, came in under budget and stocked up on some extras for next month.
Week 4 Meal Plan:
Saturday: Moroccan spiced chickpea stew and pita
I had extra dried chickpeas left from week 2 and I found a lonely can of crushed tomatoes in the pantry. Those and some about-to-go bad fresh spinach are the makings of one of my favorite soups.
Sunday: Tamales, rice, beans, salsa, guacamole and chips
We eat tamales every Christmas Eve. I order them from our favorite place, Tucson Tamale Company in Tucson, AZ and everyone looks forward to this special dinner. They are absolutely the best I’ve ever had! Dried pinto beans, rice bought in bulk and homemade salsa are cheap and help balance out the extra cost of the tamales. But even if that weren’t the case, it would be worth every penny!
Monday: Ham, Au gratin potatoes, green beans, and apple pie
There was some debate over dessert this year. Since I’m cooking, I had final call, and decided on an apple pie. I had 5 slightly wrinkled organic apples left from last week that need to be used anyway. It will be delicious warm with some vanilla ice cream. This recipe from The New York Times is my go-to apple pie recipe. Try it and your life will be complete – trust me. And trust me on the recipe link for the potatoes too.
Tuesday: Spicy Indian lentil dahl, rice
A carry-over dinner from last week. It’s cheap, healthy, tasty, freezes well, tastes great leftover. It couldn’t be any more perfect.
Wednesday: Broccoli cheddar soup and salad
Organic broccoli was on sale this week and I bought an extra block of organic cheddar last week. That sounds like the perfect excuse to make broccoli soup to me.
Thursday: Shredded beef enchiladas
I have a beef roast frozen that I bought on sale before this makeover started. I’ll deduct it happily from this week because I got such a good deal on it. If you have room in your budget, try to pick up an extra or two during a sale and freeze. You’ll be glad you did later when the budget is tight.
Friday: Split pea soup and salad
I love this soup; it’s so warm and savory on a cold night. I love it leftover a night or two later when I’m too lazy to cook.
That’s the meal plan for week 4. Are you seeing a pattern? Look through what you have and coordinate that with sales. If you do that, it will save you quite a bit and nearly eliminate food waste.
Planning well and keeping things simple can make your resources go further and banish needless stress. And if I haven’t said so before, sticking to a meal plan and grocery budget isn’t just about saving money. The big picture is about feeding your family really well, consuming responsibly and living intentionally. By the later, I mean spending your dollars as if they represent days, months and years of your life, because they do.
And, you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen every night to provide good food for your family. Efficient planning yesterday may well mean you can cuddle your kids on the couch while a simple, leftover dinner is warming up on the stove tonight. So, it’s not just a grocery budget – spending your time and money wisely on the little things can be help you shape that life you want.
I hope all of you enjoy as simple, relaxing and happy holiday with your family.