Monday, May 16, 2011

Budget shopping

$10 worth of groceries: 
Technically, $10.69

Stole a sip of my roommate's milk this morning for tea - time to go grocery shopping again! If you're like me, you've probably got a backstock of food in your pantry of stuff you've bought over the months and just haven't got around to eating.  I decided there was no point in wasting money by buying non-essentials, which would probably just end up cluttering my pantry.  Therefore, I decided I'd limit myself to the $10 cash in my wallet.  (Budgeting tip: if you're trying to save money, pay cash instead of plastic!)

Admittedly, the milk sale ($2.77 for a gallon) improved my budget.  I was low on pasta... there's always a sale on one brand or another, so that was an easy buy.  I was also low on cereal, so I checked for sales - store brands are often on sale.  Whole wheat cereals leave me feeling full for hours and keep my blood sugar stable.  I've learned the hard way that rice cereals suck at both tasks, so breakfast food was an easy choice (store brands not made of rice or pure sugar: fake-raisen bran, fake-cheerios, fake-mini-wheats.  I like neither raisens nor cheerios.) 

With my most important items bought, I went to fill the remaining holes in my pantry. I grabbed a BOGO bread-substitute (weirdly enough, while I love loaf bread, I hate sliced bread.) The apple juice (again, an item that always has one brand or another on sale) was cheap, but they were out of the kind I wanted (of the sale brands, anyway,) so I got a raincheck instead.  That meant I had a couple of dollars left for some fruit.

The apple, btw, will not be surviving the end of this post.  (Munch-munch!)

What are your pantry priorities?


  1. I find going to the supermarket before 9am can get you really good markdowns in the produce or meat dept. and i think i "heard" triple coupons at a favorite supermarket start on Wednesday....

  2. Milk, pasta, rice, farmer's market veggies (go at the end and they might mark things down so they don't have to carry them back!), bananas are the cheapest fruit...
    Protein is one of those things that are easy to leave behind when budget shopping since meat is so expensive. But eggs, black beans, and lentils are all good, cheap sources or protein. I haven't quite convinced myself to stock up on lentils- I feel like there's an art to making them tasty which I have not yet learned- but we keep eggs stocked. We also watch for sales on meat that's about to go bad so we can stock up our freezer.
    And now I have Amish friendship bread starter, which is made with cheap ingredients and good as a breakfast bread or a snack.
    Also, tons of teas and spices are a must to keep flavors interesting.

  3. Comment #1: Good tips! You're right, watching when the sales go on saves lots of money, and I've gotten into the habit of coupon clipping.

    Jess: I have a friend who mixes lentils with curry to make really spicy lentil burgers that are pretty good. But I've never really picked up the magic of cooking them myself. x.x For protein, I'll usually buy ground beef, chicken, or stew beef, and then use it to make a stew. A little goes a long way (1/2 pound in a large crockpot makes 6-8 meals.) It's filling, and it makes sure you keep getting regular proteins.

    Awesome about the bread starter. ^_^ I'm jealous - I've never made successful homemade bread on my own before!

  4. Well, a little bird told me you'll be heading this way soon, so I'll save a bag for you. :)

  5. Yay! ^_^ You'll see me this afternoon. Going to try to leave Raleigh by 1-2pm :) With a planter of seeds! Are you guys going to go hiking with us tomorrow?