Last week I went over my $170 budget by $5. This week I managed to stay under budget by $25. Here’s how I did it.
My husband and I are part of the so-called “sandwich generation”: Sandwiched between raising a young child and helping out with aging parents. With this type of lifestyle, quick meals and grab-and-go eating become routine because there always seems to be somewhere you have to go after work.
But a little planning and bulk food purchases can be a big help. With some of the staple items from last week’s shopping I made two large freezer bags of granola cereal, which means that with the exception of what I already bought for my daughter, there is no need to buy cereal for a while.
I froze a dozen lentil/rice cabbage rolls in tomato sauce. I also made two dozen banana raisin bran muffins and froze half. And I made lots of home popped corn for cheesy and caramel popcorn.
Not having to buy cereals, snack foods and the fixings for a few meals should go a long way to keeping me on budget for the next few weeks.
Beer, wine and liquor have always been part of my monthly food and beverage budget but up until this week I had enough in stock so I didn’t need to buy anything. This week however, I was really looking forward to a dinner party and that meant buying some wine.
I am no expert but Konrad Ejbich had done his usual Radio Noon show on CBC and had spoken positively about Chilean wines, so I tried three bottles of the Carmen Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon at $10.95 each. The wine was a real hit and I would definitely buy it again.
I served it with home made beef and button mushroom pot pie. An extra bonus this week is that all the vegetables came from my garden: lots of spinach for a spinach dip; and romaine lettuce, radishes and snow peas for a salad.
Dessert was warm chocolate chip cookies and baked custard flan.
So this week I spent $35 on wine, $80 on food to feed six people and my usual supply of bread, milk, eggs, cheese and some cleaning solutions cost $30.
Last week I did promise to source out our own Canadian products which pack flavour and value in order to stay within my budget. Look no further than my garden: fresh, local and almost free, except for our time and some seeds and water.
The challenge so far:
Week 1: $175 spent, $5 over budget.
Week 2: $145 spent, $25 under budget