Posts Tagged ‘budget


Lunch 94¢ Cupboard Price; $2.97 Buy it All Price

6 oz pork shoulder roast – 89¢

2 oz cheese – 32¢

2 Tbls pineapple chunks – 5¢

3 whole wheat tortillas 81¢

1/4 C salsa – 25¢

sliced bell peppers 10¢

half an apple, sliced 26¢

half an avocado, sliced 29¢

Underlined items are grocery items I have purchased, everything else is either pantry/storage items or already accounted for items. 


Lunch time snuck up on me. School isn’t in session today and things always seem to be … busier with all 3 at home. While I was making this lunch, the babymonster decided it would be a great idea to dump out the bottle of salsa onto tortillas on the floor and lick it all up. Luckily he left me about 1/4 C.

And just some advice, don’t come over for taco night for a couple weeks…you know I poured the rest back in the bottle. 

I’ve been cooking a shoulder pork roast since last night and it smells AMAZING. I decided to make us all a quick lunch. First I took whole wheat tortillas, put 2 oz shredded pork on each, sprinkled with cheese and pineapple and rolled them up. For the kids I cut them into little pinwheels and served them with salsa for dipping and slices of avocado, red/yellow/orange bell peppers, and apples. I love the combo of pork and pineapple. If I were to make this for myself again I would definitely season the pork with some cumin or chili powder and mix the salsa with the pork. All 4 of us ate this for lunch without any leftovers, much to the chagrin of the dog. 

Snacks – Cupboard Price 20¢; Buy it All Price$1.97

Bag of popcorn  67¢

2 clementines – 34¢

1/2 apple – 26¢

1/2 C pineapple – 20¢

1 yoplait -50¢

I estimate the prices on things I already have in the pantry based upon what I normally pay for them. 



Breakfast was the usual. Smoothies and cereal. 


I found this site when researching how many cups of kale is in a pound. There is a huge list of other foods, it makes a nice reference especially for food that isn’t really “bulky” and you can’t say 1 C = 8 oz. Apparently there are 6 cups of kale in a pound! Anyway, here are the ingredients I used:

1 C kale greens – 21¢

1 ripe banana – 20¢

2 whole carrots – 20¢

1 large naval orange – 75¢

1/4 frozen pineapple – 10¢

1/4 C light yogurt – 27¢

1/2 C frozen strawberries – 53¢

2-3 C water (add more water to stretch it!)

ice (optional)

Makes about four 16 oz servings $2.26; 57¢ a serving

What I learned: 2 things- At first I didn’t add the strawberries because I didn’t want to walk to the deep freeze (lazy) but the kids really didn’t like the smoothie without it and I have to admit, I had to choke it down. But after adding them and reblending, we all loved it. This time I have 1 serving of leftovers and I will pour it into popsicle molds and either use them for the kids (never tried that before) or pop them into the next smoothie I make.  I’m really mad about these navel oranges (petty!) but now I’ve learned my lesson. I should go with the clementines because in a 10 lb bag I’d get about 60 of them while I only get 10 large oranges. It would save 25¢ a smoothie if I used 3 clementines! 

What I’m thankful for: My VitaMix blender! I use it every day for making smoothies, grinding grains for flour, and chopping. I love that I am getting whole nutrition from the ingredients as opposed to juicing where you lose the pulp and most of the fiber. I never add sweetener to the smoothies, instead opting for fruit. 

What I’ll do next time:  I won’t forget to add the strawberries at first, I’ll use a different citrus to decrease costs, I’ll add a little more water to stretch the smoothie but compensate by adding more pineapple and carrots. Usually all kids drink 16 oz each, as do I. 

For anyone counting, I estimate this to be 1 old WW point, and 3 PointsPlus. Around 80 calories for 16 oz, 4 grams of fiber. 

I’m working on my shopping list, I’m really excited to see how much I can buy/save/plan this week. I have a little system to figure out the expense of everything I cook with. I posted a new page on my Staples with my essential spices. I kinda feel like “essential” is a bit of a stretch, there are FORTY listed but I honestly can’t imagine cooking without them!

But to save some navigating, here is the complete list in no particular order:

  1. Allspice
  2. Ancho Chile Powder
  3. Anise seed
  4. Arrowroot
  5. Bay leaves
  6. Basil
  7. Cardamom
  8. Cayenne pepper
  9. Celery Seed
  10. Chile Powder
  11. Chinese 5 Spice
  12. Cinnamon
  13. Cloves
  14. Coriander
  15. Cream of tartar
  16. Cumin
  17. Curry Powder
  18. Dill Weed
  19. Dry Mustard
  20. Garam masala
  21. Garlic – Granulated
  22. Garlic Pepper
  23. Ginger
  24. Hot sauce (Tabasco, etc)
  25. Lemon Pepper
  26. Nutmeg
  27. Onion – Powder & Minced
  28. Oregano
  29. Paprika
  30. Parsley
  31. Peppercorns/Salt Assorted Varieties
  32. Red pepper flakes
  33. Rosemary
  34. Sage
  35. Seasoned salt
  36. Sesame seeds
  37. Tarragon
  38. Thyme
  39. Tumeric
  40. Vanilla

Posted on: January 31, 2013

Click the link at the top to see the USDA Thrifty Food Plans. I think this chart is very insightful. It was put together by the USDA to illustrate food budgets for households and to have a baseline for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, what they call food stamps these days.) The budgets range from “thrifty” to “liberal”  and take into account your household makeup by sex and age. The current pop culture debate is whether or not people can live on a food stamp budget or whether people can even afford to eat well and make better choices.

I’ve never closely tracked my food purchases, but I do see myself as a “thrifty” shopper while still bringing home a wide variety of fresh produce and whole foods. For my family size, my monthly food budget should be anywhere from $677.30 (thrifty) to $1318.63 (liberal, I WISH!!!) 

Currently I try to stay around $100/week for groceries, not including incidentals, diapers, dog food, etc. I’m pretty sure I blow that out of the water but I will follow my shopping habits for a few weeks and see where they are and how I can improve. After all, my motto for the year is Be Happy with Less. I’d love to only spend $400 a month on groceries and still maintain my healthy staples. 

I can’t tell you how many times I hear people tell me “I’d eat better if I could afford it.” But you can! Check back for some upcoming posts on how to eat better for less. No couponing, I promise! 

USDA Thrifty Food Plans