February 21, 2012

Make It From the Freezer March

Ok, so that's not the freezer, but you get the idea.

March is our month to get back into "Pay off debt" mode and start attacking our house with a crazy vengeance.

Because of that, and the fact that I really can NOT fit anything else in my freezers, and that we will have a new baby I am declaring March a "Make it From the Freezer" month.

My plan is to buy as little groceries as possible (we have PLENTY of meat) and use up what we already have in the house. We should really only need to buy fresh stuff like milk and eggs and fresh produce, and a few other regular monthly staples.

I am so excited about this. I love trying to find ways to save money and live frugally. We got a little off track over the holidays (we usually do) and have added a little padding to our monthly budgets. Now we will try to get back into our tighter routine and we realized that it is really nice when we have to be creative.

So, I figured I would share what I have on hand and what some of my ideas are for the month.

Perhaps some of you would like to join me in this challenge this month? To see how little we can spend on groceries and how much we can make from just what we have?

I have two fridge/freezers, one in the kitchen and one in the garage. I took an inventory of the freezers and pantry and this is some of what I have:

  • Bacon
  • Beef Round Steak
  • Breakfast sausage
  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • Chicken Leg Quarters
  • Chicken Thighs (bone in and boneless)
  • Whole Chickens
  • Ground Beef
  • Cooked and uncooked Ham
  • Cooked and uncooked Turkey
  • Meatballs
  • Pork Roast

Prepared (or nearly prepared) Meals:
  • Bean, Rice & Cheese Burritos
  • Calzones
  • Chicken Pockets
  • Chili
  • Chimichangas
  • Clam Chowder
  • Tortilla Soup
  • Chili Verde Sauce

  • Canned Apples
  • Cranberries
  • Frozen Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Strawberries
  • Chopped Tomatoes
  • Cooked Pinto Beans
  • Peas
  • Pumpkin Puree
  • Shredded Zucchini 
  • Canned Crushed Tomatoes

Breads, Baking Supplies & Other Ingredients:
  • Shredded Coconut
  • Nuts
  • Banana Bread
  • Dinner Rolls
  • English Muffins
  • Sourdough
  • Leftover German Chocolate
  • Cornmeal
  • Beans
  • Rice

The Plan:

I don't know exactly what my menus will be right now, but some of the stuff like the prepped meals are easy to plug into the calendar and I am leaving those for the week that Baby comes. The fruits and baking supplies will probably become things like cobblers, muffins and other snacks, along with smoothies and sauces.

Since I have such a wide range of meats to choose from thanks to sales and our love of the marked down section in the store, I have lots of choices for meals. I can make lots of casseroles, tacos, salads, soups, and I have been given permission to try enchiladas (yay!) which I think I will do with the Chili Verde I made and froze last week.

My usual monthly budget for the 5 of us is $400. This is just for food - I break out the household items like diapers and toilet paper separately just so I can keep track easier. Because of what I have on hand already I will be dropping my budget this month to $300, but I think I can really spend less than that for our staples. I did want to leave a bit of wiggle room just in case anything goes on a good sale (I am hoping for coffee to do so!). I do need to make a bit of room to buy some corned beef, because I can't go without it once the sales start. ;)

I can't wait to start planning my menus for the month! I think this will be really fun.

So, who would like to join me this month in using what they already have?



From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

I don't know how to do this Meg. We spend way more money on groceries than we should. I try to be frugal, but I'm not a planner and I know that that is the key to staying on a budget. I am very interested in reading how you do this. Good Luck!!

Farm Girl said...

It sounds like a excellent idea. I have so many peaches though. I have just about got my big freezer cleaned out. I have one pack of chicken breasts left.
I have been working on my pantry, but need to work harder to use up what is there. It sounds like a really nice challenge. I have cut about 100 to 150 dollars out of my grocery bill this month. I need to do a better job.
You inspire me to do better. This is a good idea.

MarmePurl said...

A cheerful warning for your future: You have boys. When boys hit the teenage years, they will eat $300. in a day. Each.

Kessie said...

I've been doing groceries on $30 a week all month, so I'm already doing this. Lots of casserole-type things and shepherd's pie to make food stretch. Also pasta with meat sauce, because pasta is cheap. Baked beans, spanish rice, taco soup. Cheapy meals. :-)

Wordmom said...

I'm doing something similar since while Albertson's was having its Wish Big Win Big game Sam kept stocking up on pantry items that were low in price but got him tickets for the game. I told him the only way to make that pay off was if we rode through March buying only the fresh stuff and eating all the staples out of the pantry.

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