My household consists of just my husband and I. No pets. Since Covid began, our weekly grocery spend has climbed to between $100 and $150 every week. Yikes!
I attribute this to groceries prices going up during the pandemic do to supply issues and us indulging ourselves to much for continually staying home. Upping my culinary game has also increased our grocery spending in addition to some sort of alcohol usually finding it’s way into the cart.
I am currently participating in a No Spend Challenge for the month of March with a goal to save $600. The Pantry Challenge is one portion that encourages you to utilize items you have on hand first. In order to be successful, you have to take stock of items you have in your pantry and make meal plans that include those items. Having a pretty well stocked pantry, I was ready to rock this part of the challenge.
One of my big goals is to work through my stockpile of macaroni and pasta shells. I have about 10 boxes that I purchased during a sale, with coupons and rebates making it almost free. I know dry pasta lasts, so I went all in. This month as I am creating meal plans for each week, I will be trying to use up at least 1 box of the pasta. I created a list of some dishes to use up my excess pasta. If you have any good ideas for other options, please leave me a note in the comments.
- Pasta Salad
- Macaroni and Cheese
- Macaroni Salad
- Tuna Noodle Casserole
Grocery Trip Week 1
Today was my first grocery trip since beginning. I thoughtfully set a grocery budget of $50 for produce, perishables, and essentials. Before going to the store, I went to their app to make a list and clip online coupons. While making my list, I noticed that one of my favorite restock sales would be starting the day after my usual shopping day. Ugh! It is a 10 items for $10 with the 11th item free. That comes out to .90 per item. They run several staple items during this sale that I already had on my list. My solution was to split my budget into $30 for my regular trip or items I need today and save $20 (which gets me 22 items) for a quick dash in after work for sale items only on Monday.
I started today’s trip by pulling up my list and my calculator app so that I could keep track of my purchases. When I entered the store, I also chose a smaller cart to encourage myself to stick to only what I needed.
I did have a few odd things pop up this week that I needed to purchase like Mayo, Cooking Oil and Dish Sponges. Unfortunately they put a sizeable dent in my small budget for this week. Otherwise I stuck to items for upcoming meals and daily use. I even utilized a store coupon for free cottage cheese. For a recipe I am making this week that calls for plain yogurt, instead of getting a large container that I probably wouldn’t use all of for $4.89, I bought an individual cup for a $1.00 which is just the right amount. Cheaper and no food waste.
Because we are not Dining Out during the No Spend Challenge, we are making homemade pizzas tonight for dinner. I had frozen dough, sauce, mushrooms and ham on hand but needed some extra cheese. I did splurge a bit on the big bag of Italian Pepperoni but I just couldn’t bring myself to get the cheap crappy pepperoni that’s all greasy. Yuck! Since it keeps well and I figured that I could use some in my pasta salad or on a charcuterie board in the next week or so I spent a smidge more for the good stuff.
Drum Roll Please…
My spend for this trip was only $30.80 which leaves me with the $20 I have planned for Monday’s trip. I’d say I did well on the budget for my first week and am doing a good job working through items I had in both my pantry and freezer.
Dream, Save, Plan, Adventure.