Sunday, May 31, 2009

Budgeting, meat, and a (sort of) pantry challenge

Tomorrow is June. A new month, another chance for me to get serious about sticking to our budget and tracking our expenses. It needs to be done. Hubby has a layoff on the horizon - we don't know when, but sometime in the next year, year and a half. Which means we need to sock away as much as we can, while we still can. Mainly, this means that I need to quit buying so darn many groceries, because we do pretty well in all the other areas!

I used to track our budget from my first paycheck of the month, rather than the first day of the month. Now that my paychecks don't matter so much, I'm going to go by the calendar. It's all put together and ready to go, I just have to do it.

Like I said, grocery shopping is my biggest weakness. I can easily plunk down $150 a week for groceries, and that's basically for the two of us. Needless to say, we have a very well stocked kitchen, but we also waste a lot of food because I lose stuff and don't remember that it's there. Well, that has to change. I need to keep better track. Thursday I'm cleaning out the freezer, and all the old meat that was never repackaged (I should *always* repackage my meat!) is going in the garbage (Friday is garbage day). And then, we start over.

But first, a pantry challenge of sorts. Today while I was grocery shopping, I found a bunch of clearance meats, with a sell-by date of tomorrow. I didn't go completely crazy, though I wanted to! I did, however, get six meals worth of ground beef, three meals worth of pork chops, and a very nice looking round steak. This, of course, represents even more meals, when you consider leftovers.

So, for the month of June, we're living on this, plus another bag of chicken tenderloins (we eat a lot of chicken tenderloins because they cook so fast), plus whatever else is in the freezer. My challenge will be to combine these with things that we have in the pantry (and there's a lot to work with there!). So, I'll just be making meals with what we have on hand.

This means that my grocery budget for the month will be spent on perishables - dairy products, fresh produce, and bread, mainly. The rest of the budget I can use for sale and coupon items. Hopefully this will help with the rotation - getting rid of some older food while making room for some more inexpensive purchases. We'll see how it goes!


Kimmer said...

This is a great pantry challenge! I'm especially interested to see what you do with the ground beef, because I can never think of anything other than hamburgers or tacos, and once in a while, chili.

nikeathena said...

We have been trying to set a budget for most of our married life and have still yet to get it straight. Groceries are our downfall as well, but for the opposite reason - we don't buy them! Good luck!

minxo said...

this is a good one. a personal favorite is crock pot meatballs that my mom used to make. easy and cheap. breadcrumbs, an egg, meat, maybe some onions and garlic and whatever spices mixed together and rolled into balls, throw them in the crockpot with a can of pasta sauce and a can of tomato paste and more of whatever spices you like and let it cook all delicious on pasta or as a sandwich and with ground turkey instead of beef its pretty healthy! my husband and baby LOVE. totally implementing pntry challenge at home this week.