Yo, Food Is Expensive! Budget Meals In 2022

Hello, and welcome back! As you can see I still have not upgraded the blog back to the way it was, but I am getting to it. My car needs new tires, and my daughter graduated, I am sure you can relate that sometimes there are more important things to buy than hobby items. But, I do want to get back to a regular blogging routine, and what better way to start than to talk about food, inflation, and budget meals. I hope to provide a new budget meal every week. It might not be on Thursday but on a different day. If a recipe is mine I will say so, if it isn’t I will share a link to the original recipe and how I may have changed it for my own needs. Cooking at home, even if it is more time-consuming, is one of the best ways to save money on your food budget, especially if you eat out a lot for lunches, or take out for dinner. Not only will it save money, but in general it is way healthier as well. I have CKD and if you read here you already know that. I have been able to get back to hovering right around stage 2 and I think a lot of that was accomplished by eating a less processed diet. I do still eat out, it is one of our favorite things to do as a family, and I do still like certain processed foods, but I have greatly limited, and or managed my intake of these types of foods. Homemade meals are generally lower in salt and food additives that may affect the health of the kidneys.

This meal is a meatless meal, but I will share how you could add some meat and still it could be affordable. But, if meat is not in your budget leave it out. This meal has plenty of calories, fat, and protein, all the things you need from a meal. You could add a side salad to beef up the intake of fresh veggies as well.

The recipe is for scalloped potatoes, and using my Walmart app the total in my area would be only 6 dollars for the whole meal.

Here is the breakdown and I get to 6 dollars because I am not going to use the full amount of some of these items. So, they can be used for another meal yet besides. This is also not a quick meal. It takes an hour to bake and forever to peel potatoes, lol. But, it is baking in my oven right now and it smells amazing.

3 lb bag of Green Giant red potatoes 3.78 You will only need a pound and a half so 1.89.

1 yellow onion is 94 cents.

A 2 lb bag of all-purpose flour is 1.16 but you will only use 3 tbsp which I guess is about 5 cents or less.

A package of 4 sticks of Imperial margarine is 1.48, but you only need to use one stick and that is .37 cents.

1 pint of 2% milk is only 54 cents.

An 8 oz bag of shredded cheddar cheese is 2.20, but a block is 2 dollars, and the Dollar Tree has cheese for 1.25.

That is all of the ingredients and this 6-dollar meal which should feed 4 people very easily with the possibility of leftovers is in the books. Dollar Tree has small packs of bacon, and turkey sausage that could be added for some more flavor, if it is within your budget.

BTW I just took these out of the oven and they are delicious!

Let me know if you make these. Here is the recipe that I used. As far as CKD goes if you have issues with potassium, soak your potatoes first for two hours, and rinse prior to cooking them in the dish. Use less cheese if you need to avoid the phosphorus and calcium.

I will definitely be making these again.

Meatless Monday is Affordable and Healthy!

Hello, hello. I will re-upgrading this blog within the next month. Until then you will have to look at the dull image at the top and layout, sorry. The domain name will also change. I let it lapse over the summer and am ready to start blogging again.

For some quick updates before I get to the main topic. I still have not taken the new Kidney Coach class, but you can still read the older version on this blog, as much as I got through. I hope to have that done very soon as summer winds down. I am finishing my Medical Billing and Coding classes to hopefully become certified by early next year. I am hoping this will be a supplement work-from-home job to my out-of-home nursing job. It is not hard, and a lot of it I already know, but it is boring, and they gave me a year to complete it so I see no need to rush.

If you read here often, then you know Meatless Monday is one of the weekly blog post topics I would do. I also have CKD, so limiting my meat protein intake is good. I have made it all the way back to stage 2, then dropped a bit and am hovering right at 58 or 59 eGFR.

I could literally eat this meal every Monday, and I could eat sweet green peas every day. I love them! Unfortunately, no one else in my house will eat them, so I don’t buy them as often as I could. I found these two videos below for your entertainment. The young man ate only peas for 3 days, now I don’t know about eating just peas for 3 days, but he did. He is funny, and I found him to be quite honest. The other video goes into detail about the many proven health benefits of peas, which are very healthy.

Peas are technically a legume, and I am not a fan of legumes, other than peanuts and peas. Beans make me gassy and cause frequent stools. I am not a fan of that at all. From a CKD standpoint peas are low in protein, fat, and sodium, with moderate levels of potassium and phosphorus. The phosphorus in the peas is not absorbed well by the body, though. They are also high in fiber. Be sure to read the label and get organic if you can, or peas with the least amount of additives and preservatives. Some are higher in sodium than others.

My simple Meatless Monday meal that I could eat every single Monday, is pasta, peas, and butter with some seasonings to taste, mostly garlic and paprika. If you are not a fan of avocado toast, which is all the rage right now, you could mash up some sweet peas and spread them on toast and no one would know but you. This is also affordable with a whole box of pasta costing about a dollar, and a can of peas 50 cents. I use whipped butter that is much lower in fat and it costs about 3 dollars depending on the brand for a tub. You obviously will only use part of the box of pasta, and some of the canned peas with a tbsp of butter. I also like to add lemon juice and brown sugar to the butter to make a beautiful sauce, but I don’t do that every time because I don’t always have lemons on hand. The peas on toast would be great for breakfast or lunch and are even more affordable than dinner. I like whole grain bread or the low carb high fiber wraps, so mine would be more expensive than it could be.

Let me know if you like sweet peas in the comments.

Homemade Bread In The Crockpot?

Hello, and welcome back! I am so glad if you are here reading this. Who doesn’t love homemade bread? I know we do, but I hardly ever make it, especially this time of year.

The recipe is not mine, and I think I will tweak it a little the next time I make it, which will be very soon. With three of us in the house, my daughter didn’t care for it at all, but my husband and I both liked it very much. All crackpots are different and this only took 2 1/2 hours to cook trust me it goes fast so be sure and watch it. I put it on warm after that time as it appeared done while I cooked the rest of our dinner. That was not a good idea as the bottom became very crusty and hard. I just cut it off, but still. I actually think I will just put it in the air fryer for a few minutes next time, at the end with some melted butter so the top gets a little crispy. I sprinkled Rosemary on the top as the directions say and it was so good.

This bread was so easy to make. Try it and see if you like it. Let me know how it comes out and how you changed it, if at all. Making your own bread may reduce the number of preservatives and other additives in store bread, plus it was so cheap to make. I did use white all-purpose flour because I had that on hand and I am the only one that likes wheat bread. White flour is best for people with CKD because it has less phosphorus. According to the website with the recipe 1 slice has 170 calories, I assume it is per slice, it wasn’t real specific. They are large slices though, so cut them in half to make two pieces if you need to.

Do you love aprons, farm decor, and rustic items? Check out my rooster apron below, available at Redbubble.

https://www.redbubble.com/i/apron/Colorful-Rooster-by-Missy69/57648519.6ZXWR?asc=u&epik=dj0yJnU9cTR2bl9NTGliQ19CcWdIcVlkLUd6b3N4eDhyaHJSRjAmcD0wJm49YkozWTlQVEFsVFV6WENzYzlZZWhIZyZ0PUFBQUFBR0xWOXRn

What Does $30 Of Meat Look Like From Misfits Market?

Welcome back to another food budget topic. I have chosen to go even lower carbs on my health journey. I will write more about that in a future post. I had good success losing weight last year following 100 grams of carbs per day. I lost about 20 pounds and was able to maintain that pretty easily. But, then the holidays came, and business of life, and I slacked off. I only gained about 5 pounds back, so I am still ok with that. However, as you know I have CKD and I want to lose more weight to improve my metabolic markers even more than they already have. This is not Keto, at least not yet. I assume I may have to go Keto to get to my ultimate goal weight, but I could be wrong. For now, I am eating about 75 grams of carbs or less per day, but not less than 50 as that would put me in Ketosis. I have been doing this for about ten days and have already shed one inch off my chest and waist. I have not weighed myself, yet. I have to say this way of eating, and this time I am including my husband, and sort of my daughter as she is now an adult. She does not need to lose weight, but she likes a lot of the garbage food I am no longer buying. I will here and there let her get some, but not like she used to. I simply don’t need it in the house. The only thing I really crave is potato chips. I actually feel really good. I stay within the protein limits I have calculated for myself and my CKD. I try to stick with healthier fat options than high saturated fats. I honestly feel good. I have noticed my dry eyes and mouth have improved immensely. It does not seem to be having any negative effects on my kidneys, and the hip joint pains I was experiencing following plant-based have gone away. Those are all good things. The only thing I need to see is if it will affect my Lipid Panel in a negative way.

So, back to the title. Since we had started our extreme grocery budget challenge, which we have kind of steering away from it the past couple of weeks, but I will start again this week, I was not buying at Misfits Market. While their prices are good, I am noticing fewer and less organic options, and more items labeled natural instead. Natural can mean a lot of things. Plus, it is expensive. So, last week I made an order for 30 dollars of just meat. That is the required amount you have to purchase cold items to cash out. I picked what I wanted, but I don’t think I picked two sausages. I thought I picked one chicken, but I got two sausages. These seem to be good quality. I have had Diestel products before, and the True Story chicken sausages are awesome. The other ones I have not tried yet. So for 30 dollars, I got 5 meat items. This seems OK to me, but not great considering they are not organic, except for one. I may continue to buy from here if I find organic options, if not I probably am not going to try to incorporate Misfits into my budget.

I prefer organic meats if I can afford them on our extreme budget. I only eat beef on average one time a week, but I do like pork and chicken. I like turkey too but my husband really only likes it on Thanksgiving, lol.

Another fun challenge, along with the grocery budget, is $5 dollar dinners. I will be starting to share some $5 dollar dinner ideas for low carb. I really think it probably will be hard to get 5-dollar dinners low carb with quality meats. We will see. I have one already to share tomorrow.

The one thing I really am liking about this new way of eating is its simplicity of it. My grocery list is easy, and my meals are easy, it is just easy. I know a lot of influencers spend a ton of money on snacks and keto drinks. I don’t see myself doing that as most of the drinks I dislike, and some of the snacks are plain gross. They swear they are delicious but they most certainly are not. They are super expensive and not really that good for you. Anyway, I might share some of them too. There are a few that I have tried that I like, but there are way more that I don’t. The consistency is strange, as is the texture, and taste.

That is it for today. Come back tomorrow to see my first low-carb 5-dollar dinner option.

Disclaimer

Is It Still Possible To Create $5 Dinners With Inflation?

Hello, hello. You may have noticed I have not written anything in like 10 days. I took a much-needed break from blogging. I still have not had time to take the new AKF Kidney Coach Class, but I hope by the end of May I will have it done. Then I can edit the old posts, and post the new slides. I have not been feeling great the past couple of days. My new job has a lot of mental stress and it is wearing me out. You know they say the grass is not always greener on the other side. I can say for sure that is true. While my old job had become toxic in many ways, there were things I appreciated about that job. Switching to a new job did not necessarily change some of those toxic issues. Health care is a very stressful, and mentally challenging profession these days. I hope to have my certification in Medical Billing and Coding by the end of the Summer, and I can begin transitioning into that.

Back to the topic at hand. Is it still possible to create 5-dollar dinners with inflation? In November of 2020, I did a blog post with a whole list of possible 5 dollar dinner ideas. So, I decided to try and recreate them to see if they can still be made for 5 dollars or less. The first one is Chicken Fajita wraps. I have no idea why Chicken Fajita Casserole is on the list because I don’t know as I have ever made that. I am going to straight-up say this may not be doable unless you can find a really good deal on chicken since it is so expensive right now. You can always use beans instead of chicken. Anyway, I searched all of my local grocery stores to see if I could find chicken on sale at a decent price. The only place that did, and it is only a 2-day sale was my local Hitchcock’s. They have chicken leg quarters for 98 cents a pound. So, if you bought 2 pounds it would cost $1.96. Flour tortilla wraps you can not get any more for less than a dollar. In my area, the Dollar Tree has them for the best price of $1.25. The Great Value brand of Fajita seasoning mix is .62. one green pepper is .72, and one onion is.78. If you want the cheese to sprinkle on a block of Great Value cheese is 1.86. We will use sour cream instead of cheese, at 1.16 for a smaller container.

The total if you use chicken and cheese would be $6.57 and honestly, I don’t think that is all that bad considering.

The total if you use chicken with sour cream would be $5.87

To keep it closer to 5 dollars use a can of black beans at .72 for a total of $5.25 with sour cream but no cheese.

You can always make your own fajita mix if you have the 3 main ingredients, cumin, oregano, and chili powder already on hand.

I am making these tonight for dinner with chicken and sour cream. I par-boil the leg quarters for about 10 minutes. This makes it easy for me to remove the meat from the bones, plus if you have CKD it will reduce the fat, potassium, and phosphorus in the chicken.

We are still sticking by our 75 dollar per week grocery budget, for 3 people, and while it is not as easy as it was, it is still doable. Meat is super expensive right now, and we have cut back even more on meat.

Have an awesome Saturday!

Disclaimer

Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge Week #14 Dollar General

Hello, hello! Before I start my grocery haul for this week I want to remind my regular readers that the Kidney Class will begin again, after I take the updated class. It might be a couple of weeks, as I have a lot going on in other areas, but I will get to it.

This week, as promised, I decided to take my $75 dollar weekly food budget and head to Dollar General. Now, a few things to note. I was not optimistic at all as to how this would go. I either thought it would cost way more, or I would get cheap less quality food. I live in a very small town in rural Florida. There is a Dollar General in almost every town around me. About 25 minutes from me there is a Dollar General Market, which really is just like a small supermarket. You can get fresh fruit, veggies, and meat. But, I am talking about a regular Dollar General that has some freezer stuff, and the one where I live actually has a tiny area for fresh fruit and veggies. In my very tiny town we also have a Family Dollar, more on that in a minute, a small Hitchcock’s, and a Sun Stop which is really a gas station with a grocery, and deli section. I will hit all four of them, eventually with my budget.

This budget began as a 21 dollar per person budget, or 63 dollars per week. It also was a pantry challenge to see if someone like me, with CKD, could eat shelf stable foods and still feel well. That only took a couple of weeks to decide no, that is not possible. Everything is so expensive now, that I had to raise my weekly budget to 75 dollars. This is only for food, and it is to save money, spend down debt, not make new debt, avoid food waste, and just learn to be more wise with our money. I have to say, so far it has been successful, and with smart food choices, and portion control, it has not effected my health.

Dollar General is quite small, and buying groceries at these types of stores is odd, because most people probably go in and just buy a few things. The self checkout area is super tiny, and there is not a lot of place in the regular checkout, only one, to put groceries. But, we made it work, albeit with people looking at us strange. You are not going to get a huge selection, and honestly I am ok with that. Too many choices is just a pain to me.

I was pleasantly surprised by the small area of fresh fruit and veg. The grapes were way too expensive for me, but they looked good. I did get a bagged salad, some roma tomatoes, and white onions. These prices were comparable to Walmart, maybe a smidge higher. But, to not have to travel the 12 miles to Walmart is a plus. I noticed that the meat section was not horrible. I could get burger patties, ground beef, chicken breast, sausage, and various breakfast meats. I am not going to ever get organic, grass-fed meats in this town, but it is meat. The chicken breast was the frozen kind, like you can get at Walmart. The price for 2 pounds I think was 9.50. But, I had to run into Family Dollar because DG did not have the Idahoan potatoes, and the same size chicken breast was 7.50 there. I did not need any chicken and there were only a few bags left, so I did not buy any. They had no ground turkey at all, which was kind of disappointing. Family Dollar did not either. There were whole freezer sections where food had been sold out.

The dairy section was also not too bad. I expected just cheap imitation cheese, but there was actual real cheese and the price was not bad. I did need milk, and that was $4.50 which I think is way too much. I don’t drink milk, so it will last close to a week. I still have shredded cheese from last week, so I didn’t buy any more. I probably will never buy coffee creamer at these small stores. It costs way too much for a small container. But, if I am not wanting to drive to save gas, you never know I might. Maybe I will give up coffee. LOL, that is a lie.

They had lots of dry beans and canned beans. We do not eat a lot of those, and I have some in the pantry for when we do. They did not have a ton of flour, and I have some in the pantry, so again, I did not buy any. I did not see any dry rice. They had a small selection of pasta, and I did pick up one box of spaghetti which was 90 cents. We decided to try the chicken pasta in the package. I am not sure if I will have that, as it is very high in sodium. It was only a dollar, though. The canned veggies were on sale for 75 cents each, and I got 6 cans. They had no Idahoan mashed potatoes, or taco seasoning. I had to get those at Family Dollar. I already tried the sweet pickles shown, and I don’t care for them, but they will go good in chicken or tuna salad. I bought one can of fully cooked roast beef at $3.50. This was a curiosity buy to see if it is worth it to have it in the pantry. Let’s face it, even if it might be affordable if no one will eat it, it makes no sense to buy it. The bread was a decent price, but the hot dog buns were way too much. Unfortunately, it was the only kind available on this day. The Armour chicken hot dogs were only 1 dollar, which I thought was a very good deal.

You can see my whole grocery haul in the image below. My grand total between the two stores was $64.15. That means I am 10 dollars under budget this week and honestly that makes DG definitely worth it. Would I shop here every week? No, most likely not, unless I had to. But, even if I shop here once or twice a month, and get my other items that I can not get here the other weeks, it is still worth it to save the gas and wear and tear on my car. If you read last week, then you know I can get my organic meat at Winn-Dixie and if I got at a good time a lot of times it will be marked down to a reasonable price. I was very unhappy with the organic milk I got there last week, though. That might have been why it was such a good deal, because something was wrong with it. No one would drink it. I had to waste it. It was well within the use by date, so that was not the issue.

Are you joining in my grocery budget challenge? Leave me a comment to let me know how it is going.

Next week, I think I will try my budget at our small Hitchcocks to see what I can get there for 75 dollars.

Taste Test Tuesday: WW Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Welcome back to another Taste Test Tuesday! Today, I am taste testing a WW inspired recipe I found quite by accident.

I had this rather large can of pureed pumpkin in my cupboard. I don’t even know why I bought it, as I don’t even know if I like pumpkin. I am a texture kind of eater and I could never convince myself to try pumpkin pie. So, it has been sitting in my cupboard and was close to expiring. I needed to try to figure out something I could do with it. Then I remembered I posted a video about making homemade protein bars that used pumpkin puree. Protein bars are convenient, but again the texture thing. I just can’t find one I really like enough to pay that ridiculous price. Every one I have tried I end up giving them all to my DIL. So technically, I am not wasting them. While browsing Pinterest one night, it’s like Pinterest reads my mind, a recipe for 2 point muffins popped up. It was a WW recipe and I was stunned to find out that the 2 points was for one little dinky miniature muffin. How disappointing! But, I decided to try them anyways, and using my Healthi app, previously itrackbites, I figured my miniature muffins to be 1 point a piece. I used a different brand of the one item, and I don’t know if that is why, but when you figure it up and weigh each muffin on a scale, they are one point each. Even, if you made these into a full size muffin, they are going to be less than a store bought muffin. There is no milk, oil, butter, or eggs in this recipe.

Plus, these were amazing! I mean amazing! So delicious, super moist, and my husband loved them. You are not adding any sugar, either.

Simply buy a spice cake mix, from whatever brand you like. I did Duncan Hines, because they were buy one get one free. I already had a 29 ounce can of pumpkin puree, and I only used half of it. So, one cake mix, and 15 ounces of pumpkin puree is what you need. Mix it all together. It will be very thick. Spray your mini muffin tins with some non-stick spray. You don’t need much. I put about 1 1/2 tsp in each muffin space. I baked them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes and let them cool on a rack on the counter. These are dense, but light. You can sprinkle a little brown sugar on them, and they are even more awesome. If you have a sweet tooth, try these muffins.

I have one more box, and a half can of pumpkin puree. So, next week I will try to make a homemade protein bar. Be sure to come back and see how they come out.

This spice cake mix is pretty high in fat. It also has phosphorus additives to keep it fresh on a shelf for a long time. To decrease the fat, and phosphorus, you could make your own spice cake dry mix. I might try that too, as I see myself making these often. They are great for breakfast, or an easy snack in my lunch bag.

For figuring out a Itrackbites serving size. I took the total amount of the mixture and multiplied it by .10, that will give you 3.10 ounces per serving, or 5 bites, which as you can see on my scale is 5 mini muffins. Now, I do weigh them each time, because some are a little bigger than others. The pumpkin puree is zero points on the free plan I have. Be sure and scan yours to be sure you get the most accurate point value.

Tomorrow, on Wednesday, I usually do my Kidney Coach class. I would be doing week 14, however I found out they have updated the course and I need to take it again to get the new information. I will most likely have to go back and edit the older slides, so stay tuned for that. I hope to get it done this week, or next. This week is kind of hectic for me, so it might be next week. Please feel free to still ask me questions on the first 13 weeks content.

Disclaimer

Menopause, Belly Fat, and Weight Gain

Hello, and welcome to another Self Care Saturday post. In the month of April, I am focusing on the topic of Menopause. If you did not see my first post, you can find it in the archives.

Menopause is a fact of life. It is part of the middle ages, and there are different aspects of it. Just like kidney disease, dementia, or really any other topic everyone’s journey will look different. But, there are some main topics that are more common to all women going through Menopause, and one of those is belly fat and weight gain.

I encourage you to watch the full video below. There are no gimmicks here, no easy, or fast ways to lose belly fat, but good sound discussion on the topic. I am not promoting the course that she is selling at the end, I have no idea if what she offers is good, or not.

There are a few things I would like you to pay particular attention to.

  1. NEAT- I have talked about this before via using a step tracker, and getting up and moving every hour. I have two dogs, and one way I increase my NEAT is to take them out every hour, when I am home, from 8 am to 8 pm, even if it is raining. They love this! My back fenced yard, around the perimeter is exactly 125 steps. When I first started this I would do 2 laps or 250 steps. I now do 6 laps every hour. It is really a habit now, and I just do it. My dogs are used to it and will remind me. We play ball and enjoy the fresh air. Sometimes, when the weather is super lovely, I do my laps and then I sit on my swing listening to all of the nature around me. It truly is a beautiful part of my day.
  2. LBT- Licks, Bites, and Tastes. You will see what she means.
  3. The amount of protein they are promoting. If you have kidney disease or may be at risk of getting kidney disease please be very careful about consuming this much protein. I have talked a lot about getting back to stage 2, and while there are many things I think have allowed my kidneys to heal, consuming a lower end, but quality, amount of protein is one of them.

All in all, I feel like this is a good video, and lines up with articles and studies I have read. They do not promote any particular kind of diet, supplement, or gimmick. They do promote weight training, and I have discussed that before and how important it is for women to do weight training. They do talk a bit about heavy weights, and I urge you to go slow, especially if you are over age 50, and especially if you are over 50 with kidney disease. Please consult with your doctor before lifting heavy weights over age 50.

Once you hit menopause, and your estrogen begins to decline and eventually disappear, the fat you carry will shift from your hips and thighs to your abdominal area. Note, that they state the abdominal area is the last place most women will lose weight. You can’t target it via abdominal work, or decreasing sugar. It is a process, and most likely you will see results in your face, and chest, long before your waist.

You also will not need as many calories as you age. This is just plain true. So, you may not even realize how much you may be over consuming what your body needs.

If you would like to work with me as your health coach to conquer your health goals, send me a message via the contact form below.

Disclaimer

Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge: Week 13

Hello, and welcome to week 13 of my Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge. This is a year long challenge, and possibly more. If you have been following from the beginning this started as a dual challenge at 63 dollars per week, for a family of almost 3 adults now, and a challenge to see if someone with CKD, could eat shelf-stable, convenient type foods and still feel good. The latter only took a few weeks, and I quickly decided that no I could not eat those types of foods on a consistent basis and still feel well. Now, with that said I can eat shelf-stable veggies like canned veggies that are low in sodium and no funky preservatives. I don’t prefer canned fruit, but the same ingredients would apply. I can also tolerate shelf-stable tuna, and canned chicken, as long as the sodium is within reason, and there are no funky preservatives. I looked at canned beef, I think it was, roast beef maybe, but the sodium was insane, and it was expensive. I did not even bother to try it. Mainly, when I say shelf-stable I am talking about convenience foods, such as frozen meals, and ultra processed foods. Last week, I had to increase the budget from 63 dollars per week to 75, just because of how high food prices are now. The sole purpose for this challenge is to see how much money we can save, and to take account of how much food we are wasting. 75 dollars per week is about a third of what we were paying prior to starting this challenge. So far we have had to replace our fridge, and washing machine. We also just got nailed on taxes and were able to pay the balance. We did not have to finance any of this. The fridge and washing machine were not just bought because we wanted new, both of them needed to be replaced. We are not starving, we have reasonable snacks, and still enjoy the food we are eating.

Last week, I came in at I think 5 dollars under budget. I did have to pick up an extra gallon of milk part way through the week, so that money went for that. This week, I spent 25 cents over my budget, so 75.25. Food prices are still going up, and chicken is outrageous right now. Some of this is due to the millions of chickens that have been euthanized due to a Bird Flu outbreak. Chicken is my main protein that I eat. So, that is a bit distressing.

You can see the picture of my grocery haul below. Please don’t mind the cups in the sink. I shopped at Winn-Dixie and Walmart this week. I have mentioned before that I hate shopping at two stores. But, I needed some pool chemicals, and Walmart is right across the street from Winn-Dixie. Along with prices going up, there are still bare shelves for some items. You might be shocked to know, but each week I shop, whether it is Aldi’s, Winn-Dixie, or Walmart there is always coffee creamer in short supply. Onions are very high in price, too. Cheese and lunch meat have gone way up, and most other items have gone up at least a few cents as far as I can tell.

I was kind of annoyed this week, because I go to Winn-Dixie because they mark their meats way down, and my husband prefers their meat over Walmart. I don’t know why, they all taste the same to me, unless it is organic, then it is better no matter where I buy it. But, the new weekly ad prices started yesterday, yet they did not have all of the sale signs up and I had to go back and forth between the app, and store items to figure out what was on sale. This just took so much longer, and I won’t go on a Wednesday again. Two items that were super good deals this week, were the Swerve brown sugar replacement, and the organic milk. At Walmart, last week, I paid 7.50 for the same Swerve. At Winn-Dixie for this week only, it is buy one get one free. That means each bag was 4.25. The organic milk which was not in the sale flyer was 3.99 for a gallon. If you buy organic milk you know that is a good deal. I did not buy a lot of meat this week, because the prices are high, and we have a good stock in the freezer. The ham steaks were buy one get one free, and I can make them go a long way in several meals. Lettuce and tomatoes were also very high priced at Winn-Dixie. I had to get lettuce at Walmart where the price was a little more reasonable. I don’t know how much longer I will buy fresh tomatoes, and I hope my garden will produce some. I bought more canned veg this week, than frozen because one it is cheaper and two hurricane season is coming and I don’t like to fill the freezer too much in case we lose power for an extended period of time. We will use up what is in there, and then keep bare minimum on hand. The juice was buy one get one free too.

If you are on any kind of specialty diet to stay healthy, and or manage a chronic disease you are probably feeling a pinch in your budget. Healthier foods are more expensive right now, even beans and lentils have gone up in price. Do the best you can. Decrease your portions, especially if you are overweight and can afford to decrease your portions. Don’t be afraid to reach out to community organizations that may be able to help you get the foods you need to stay healthy. Not all junk food items are cheaper. They too are going up in price. Snack type foods, like chips and pretzels, even crackers are outrageous right now. We don’t drink a lot of soda, but the price for that is also through the roof. I am surprised people are still willing to pay these prices for food items that serve no purpose to health and well being. I know some people say eggs have gone up, but honestly dime for dime they are still a great deal as a protein source. The same goes for milk. I do not drink milk, but the others in my family do.

Are you on a grocery budget, or do you just spend whatever you want? Leave me a comment and let me know. Do you use any reward cards? I have the Winn Dixie rewards card and so far I have 5 dollars saved up to use on groceries. I just signed up for the Hitchcock’s card, but I have not used it yet.

Next week, my daughter and I will be taking our 75 dollar budget and shopping at our local Family Dollar and Dollar General to see what we can get. Family Dollar I know sells frozen chicken thighs, and Dollar General does have some fresh fruit and veg, albeit very expensive. We will see how that goes. These two stores are right in our town, and we could literally walk there if we had to. I am unsure of what day this will be, but probably Friday.

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Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge Week #12

Hello, again, and welcome to another week of my Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge. To see how this challenge has evolved from the previous weeks, please visit the archives and read. It is pretty interesting, especially how we are learning how much food we are buying that we don’t need. I have not done a shopping trip in 10 days. We had family visiting from out of state and I knew we would not be needing food, as we always eat out. They headed out right after lunch today, to get to the airport before the storms got here. I ran to the grocery stores quickly, so tomorrow I could relax before my weekend of work.

Today, I went to Winn-Dixie and Walmart. I hate going to more than one store, but it is the best way to get deals. Winn-Dixie does bogos kind of like Publix, and I do like that. Winn-Dixie had very good markdowns on meat, and I was very satisfied with that, but their creamer and frozen vegetables were much higher than Walmart. The grapes were also much higher at Winn-Dixie and I have been mostly eating bananas and apples, and I wanted grapes. I refuse to spend almost 3 dollars a pound for grapes, and they are not even organic. Walmart had the red grapes on sale for $1.68 per pound. I don’t think you can see the markdowns on the meat, but they are substantial. I don’t buy steak, or even beef, that often, but my son and his wife are coming to visit next weekend and the markdown for members was superb, so I got 2.29 pounds of certified Angus steaks for 14 dollars or something like that. The organic chicken thighs were marked down to 4 dollars and some change.

As far as pricing goes I spent just over 70 dollars at both stores. My budget is now 75 dollars per week due to how high the prices have gone. That leaves me some room if we run out of milk before I shop again, or bread. I still have not had a chance to try and make homemade sandwich bread, but I will. I noticed this time that frozen veggies have gone up quite a bit. I like to keep frozen broccoli, and a few others on hand in the freezer. WM frozen broccoli just a couple of weeks ago was .88 per bag, today it was 1.12 per bag. Snack-type foods are outrageous, as are bottled and canned drinks. I did not buy any cheese this week, because in my area they do not offer lower-fat cheeses, except mozzarella. We still have some cheese for my husband and daughter and it will easily last a week. I also did not buy lunch meat this week, as we still have tuna, and canned chicken on hand, plus some ham slices. Lunchmeat, the better quality especially, is really expensive right now. I eat tomatoes and bananas pretty much every day. That is why you see them in every single grocery haul I do. Yes, I do have CKD, but potassium is not an issue for me. Phosphorus and sodium are the ones I watch for, and preservatives. I think preservatives bother my kidneys more than my doctor thinks.

On the menu this week, well I’m not sure, lol. I have not been doing a lot of meal prep like I used to. I kind of just decide every couple of days now. We will be having some pork chops with veggies tonight. Our family brought us some awesome deli rolls from NY, and everyone is still loving them. I am on Itrackbites carb-conscious plan right now, so I have not even wanted one actually. I will make air fryer potatoes and some kind of other vegetables, maybe a salad because we have lettuce that needs to be used up. I will try to sneak in some meal prep for the weekend, tomorrow, so I don’t make bad choices for work. I will probably have tuna or chicken wraps on my 1 point Wellness wraps. It has been a rough week of eating well when we have eaten out every single day.

Check out my grocery budget haul for this week, below. Leave me a comment if you are joining in the grocery budget challenge. We have saved so much money, and we are not eating garbage food either. Remember we are a family of 3, almost all of us are adults now. Our budget is just for food for 3 people at $75 dollars per week. This is for food only, not pet food, or other items we buy, though I am frugal about that as well. If you are wondering why we always have coffee creamer, but no coffee, it is because we decided coffee is a luxury we can not go without and it is very expensive right now. It is a family treat and not included in the budget. I buy a bulk coffee from Amazon every six weeks for 24 dollars. It was very hard at first to get my family to stick to this budget, but now it is kind of routine. That does not mean, my daughter, or my husband, if they have spending money are not buying themselves junk food, but that is their money to waste. I will give my thoughts on Itrackbites in a few weeks after I have been on it for two months. I can tell you I have had good success so far.

Tomorrow, I will share some pictures from our day at the beach yesterday. It was a lovely day and I am glad we didn’t wait to go until today because the weather is nasty.

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