Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thrifty Thursday - Ham and Potatoes

Thrifty Thursday


     During a conversation with my sister about convenience foods, she had mentioned it was cheaper than eating healthy.  This made me think for a bit because I always thought it was cheaper to make it yourself.  She pointed out that she could feed her family on $15 at McDonalds.  It seems possible off the dollar menu, but that probably won't fill my family up and it would lack vegetables.

     From this, I became determined to price out at least one meal per week to make sure we are eating inexpensive as well as healthy.  Not all my meals are truly considered "healthy" but they contain the proper food groups.

     Please also understand that prices are different in other areas.  We live in an area with very low cost foods.

First we started with our protein.  We had an inexpensive ham.

With the extra ham, the next morning I made ham and eggs in muffin tins:

The cost of the ham was $9.85.  We used a little over half of it for our meal.  This was three slices each and three for my husbands lunch (we usually cook for 5 so he can take some to work).  I calculated about $5.00 worth of ham for the entire family.

We also had baked potatoes.  I cooked them in the solar oven (as well as the ham) to avoid heating the inside too much.  I purchased a 5 lb bag of potatoes at $2.50 and used about 1/3 of them (5 potatoes).  I also bought a pound of butter at $3.28 and calculated about a tablespoon of butter per potato, making our total for the potatoes at $1.33.

Since I wanted a bit of convenience in there, we went with a frozen dough ball rather than making my own rolls.  The package of 12 rolls were $1.30, and we used 4.  Calculated with a teaspoon of butter, we came up with $.56.

For our vegetable, we added a 16 ounce bag of frozen brussel sprouts.  This came to $1.33 for the whole bag.
Note:  I did not calculate in the spray oil in the dough pan or green onions on the potatoes. I don't imagine it is that much...maybe $.03?

Here is the total breakdown:
Ham $5
Potato with butter $1.33
Roll with butter $.56
Brussel Sprouts $1.33
For a Grand Total of    $8.22 for the entire family.

Take that McDonalds!!!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Menu Plan Monday 7/28/14 and Budget Challenge Results

Menu Plan Monday 7/28/14

     When I buy meats at the store, I usually buy in the big family packs because they are more cost effective.  In doing so, I have alot of meat left since we only use half the package for a meal.  You will see our weekly budget go up and down because of that.

     Without further delay, here is this weeks menu (not necessarily in this order):

1.  Ribs, cucumber and tomato salad, beans

2.  Spaghetti with garlic bread

3.  Chicken helper, vegetable, rolls

4.  Navy Beans with ham hock, cornbread

5.  Painted Desert Chili Mix in a Jar (recipe HERE), Cornbread

6.  Stuffed Cabbage, Dinner Rolls

7.  Ham, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Vegetable, Rolls

$155 Challenge Results for the Week

  We did rather well with the challenge for this first week.  We spent a total of $134.03 and had $20.97 remaining to start this week with.  This included two trips to the grocery store and one to Fruit King   I made a trip to the bank this morning and added $155 for this week to my grocery money pouch and did my weekly shopping.  I will post results next week, since I may have to make a trip or two to the store between now and then.
     I think we can actually cut the spending a bit more, but I want to make sure I can do this before we lower the amount.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

     Wow!  It has been a while.  It's been so long that I even forgot my password.  But I am back with fresh ideas and new drive.

     First let me catch you up.   About a month ago, we took a journey across the United States, from Texas to Washington State, to see my mother.  I am so thankful that I did.  Within a day and a half of my arrival, my mother passed away.  My mother had lung cancer and had requested no hospitals.  It was very heartbreaking but at the same time, I was overwhelmed with joy that she had the house full of children and grandchildren.  At no time was she ever without someone next to her or holding her hand.  There was so much love and sadness mixed.
     In the week that followed, I felt in a bit of a fog. My two adult daughters flew in and all the relatives and friends showed up for the wake and funeral.  I wasn't a very good hostess because I felt so lost.  It wasn't until weeks later I thought about it and felt bad that I didn't thank everyone for showing or spoke with them much.  I think they understood though.

     I do want to express a special thank you to the LDS church, who provided all the food at the wake.

     Other happenings include an update on the big move that I once mentioned briefly. I haven't moved yet, but here is our progress. Two of my sisters and I have went in on a piece of property.  We purchased 78 acres.  There was no water or power on it.  In moving forward, the youngest of us, called about power and the cost to move it was a bit much, so she bought the 40 acres diagonal from ours, which had power on it, for almost the same cost it would have taken to move the power.  Our houses will sit on that 40 acres.
     Since the property is in another state (the mountains in Arizona....yes, they have more than just desert), it makes it harder for me and my older sister to help with preparing the property, so a lot of responsibility lies on one of my sisters and her husband, since it is only a 3-4 hour drive for them.  So far, the well is dug and she is looking into a septic tank next.

       I really want to be there to help when the houses are started to take some of that burden off my sister and her husband, so my husband and I started saving for an RV that we can move into until we get the houses done.  This is our new and fun adventure in life. 

    In order to continue with our plans, I have set strict budgeting on everything.  I am continuing with my $155 a week food challenge, which seems to be going fine so far.  We are also budgeting $20 a week for entertainment.  This will include eating out as well.  I am really excited about this and love the challenge of doing things inexpensively. 

     In order to stick to this budget, menu planning is a must. I plan the menu based on what is on sale at our local store.  Here is our menu plan for this week:

Dinner Menu

1.  Gumbo, Rice, Homemade Rolls

2.  BBQ Ribs, Coleslaw

3.  Hamburgers, Potato Salad

4. Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, Salad

5.  Nacho Night with homemade Pico De Gallo and Guacamole

6. Creamy Potato Soup, Homemade Rolls

7. Chicken Helper (I have about half a dozen boxes from a clearance sale a while back and want to get them used up)

     For lunches and breakfasts we really don't put out a plan, but I plan to make soups in the crock pot with whatever I have on hand for veggies and sandwiches for lunches.  For breakfasts, we have pop tarts and instant oatmeal in the pantry that needs to get eaten.  I also purchased two boxes of "non-sugar" cereal, a large amount of fresh fruit, and some eggs (before leaving on our trip, we had to get rid of all our animals, so, we have no fresh eggs).

     I have gone "no sugar" for 2 weeks (more on that later), so my plan for snacks is to use up the cake mixes and cookie mixes in my pantry.  My fridge is also pack (I mean really, really packed) with fresh fruits and veggies as well.

What's on your menu?