Memorial Day Weekend

Can you believe that the first weekend of pool season has come and gone?

Justin and I, unfortunately, did not spend our weekend by the pool soaking in the sun.

No. Instead, Justin spent the weekend working on a gift for my grandfather. (He's trying to earn grandparent points.) When he wasn't doing that, he was resting, cooking, biking, and helping me to conquer the food budget.

For the past year I have been opposed to buying meat. It seemed unnecessary, and, honestly, I preferred eating fruits and vegetables. Well, last week after our initial buy of two whole chickens from Costco and freezing them, I have actually been surprisingly impressed with how well the whole "you can eat healthy on less money" has worked out.

Over the weekend, we spent approximately $70 and we were able to get 5 different meals worth of food. Most of those meals, when cooked, will provide enough leftovers for us to freeze and eat later. We had the items necessary for:

1. apple sausage ravioli
2. boeuf bourguignon with potatoes, veggies, and salad on the side
3. fondue (oil style with meat and veggies)
4. chicken (cooked however; grilled as shown above)
5. margherita pizza

Plus, we still had leftovers of baked ziti and enchilada casserole in the freezer.

More-or-less, it finally feels like our budget is well within reach. We have variety, a mix of frozen and fresh foods, and we aren't going broke. I can't say too much though, because this months' food budget is way out of whack, and the only way to tell if a budget works is to try it and see what sticks. In general though, my recommendation for food budgeting is to freeze, freeze, freeze, and plan. (General planning works wonders.)

Other things we did to conquer the nasty food budget included my writing down every. last. price. on the majority of the items we frequently buy so that we are able to see when there is a good deal and when the deal is just so-so. We started shopping at a restaurant supply store (that sells food), and we were able to find a few awesome deals (including 25 limes for $3!). In some cases it was worth buying the food in bulk, but in other cases the prices worked out to be about the same as if you were to buy at a grocery store. There is no reason to buy bulk vegetables or cheese that you cannot consume before it goes bad unless the price is about what you would pay for a normal portion of the food you are buying.

I also downloaded the app Receipt Hog on my iphone. You scan your receipts from the large scale grocery stores (i.e. Kroger, Publix, Fry's), and you get points. When you collect a certain amount of points, they will send you cash via paypal. Basically you get paid for shopping! (And it's shopping you have to do!)

In other news, Justin picked FIVE tomatos off of our tomato plant(s) this weekend. FIVE!

So how was your memorial day weekend? Were you sitting by the pool relaxing? Or were you getting life in order, like we were?

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