With our new, strict budget, I have had to cut back on
- trips to the grocery story,
- willy nilly meal plans in which I buy all the ingredients and then let the food expire in the fridge before I get around to making it,
- giving in to temptations and grabbing whatever sounds good at the moment,
- forgetting coupons at home,
- and not paying attention to the prices I’m paying on items, among other things.
We’ve always been spur-of-the-moment people, so planning always seems like such a commitment. After overspending in August and September, we broke down and started implementing the cash envelope system. This really puts us in check, and I have to be a lot smarter about where our money goes and how to make it last.
Reasons I haven’t been cooking in a while:
- I hate cooking.
- Nobody eats it.
Ellis is on a food strike. She hates just about everything except cereal bars and frozen waffles. There’s no point in trying to prepare a nutritionally mapped out, wholesome meal for her because it’ll just end up in the garbage or on the floor. Travase is often not home for dinner, and he’s been on a rice and beans kick lately, so even if I cook something, he’ll come home and make a pot of rice and beans for himself. So what’s the point of cooking? Well, me, dammit! I’m still hungry and eating Ellis’s leftovers or whatever I scrounge in the kitchen just encourages me to either snack on junk or order out. I hope that by making a habit out of cooking dinners again, my family will come back around to eating with me.
1st step was creating our budget for October and then pulling out the cash for our grocery funds.
2nd step was a trip to Trader Joe’s with no plan and no list. (Not recommended, but I’m still learning this store and what is worthwhile to buy there.)
3rd: I high-fived myself for spending only $50 on my trip, then I came home, put away groceries, examined my fridge and pantry, looked at recipes on Pinterest, and came up with a list of meals and grocery list. I tried to use as much of what was already in my kitchen so that my grocery list was fairly minimal.
4th: Look for coupons (somehow they no longer exist when you actually look for them). Found none. Oh well, I’m not perfect. Head to store and buy ONLY what’s on the list! I still ended up spending $71.00 at Publix, but it’s better than what I normally end up dropping there. I am, afterall, still a work in progress.
I’m also keeping track of grocery prices on items we most frequently buy in a Price Book. This is a new concept to me, so we’ll see how it goes.
I then created a fancy list of dinners for the month of October. It’s not exactly a meal plan, because I don’t like to be tied down as I’ve said, so it just reminds me what I can make with what we’ve got. I also try to remember to cook the things that will go bad first so that nothing’s wasted.
Final Thoughts to Recap The Month
I’ll try to share recipes and pictures next month. As it stands, my computer’s hard drive crashed last week, and the repair shop I took it to did nothing to try to save or recover my files. They are all kaput. And it’s looking like I’m going to be needing a new laptop soon. Sigh.
Nevertheless, the meal plan worked up until the last week of the month when I was back to being tired of cleaning up mess after mess in the kitchen, and we had so much going on that it was necessary on several occasions to eat out. Also, this list of meals was for the second half of the month. I never ended up making the quiche. The broccoli went bad. The steak and chicken thawed at the same time, so I decided to prepare both meals the same night, having the steak for dinner and saving the honey garlic for the next. Bad idea. I overcooked the steak, and with my uber-craving for meat this pregnancy, this made me very sad. The honey garlic chicken was delicious the first night, but did not taste good heated up. I think it had too much soy sauce and not enough honey, and it needed a vegetable, which I never got around to making. I will retry it in the future. And last thought, Trader Joe fish nuggets are delicious. Those will be a staple.