This past week… was weird. By that I mean I’ve been hyper emotional. Okay, if we’re fair, I’ve been hyper emotional since Super Bowl Sunday. I’ve been dealing with some very deep rooted emotional things for a while now. I’m on month 5 of dealing with this, and while I know I’m better than I was, there is still a lot to work through. There isn’t anything I can do to change anything, except work on myself and try to heal, which is made extra hard by how strongly I feel about the situation. If there was anything I could legitimately do get a second chance I would do it. But it’s out of my hands.
So in most ways this Frugal Food February has been good for me, in that I’m spending less money and not spending heaps of time cooking, but it’s also bad in that I’m not spending heaps of time cooking, and thus spending heaps of time thinking… or I should say, overthinking. It’s a curse. I’m working through it with meditation and processing the emotions as best I can when I have some quiet time. Anyway, onto the food!
So I wound up having way more shrimp in the freezer than I anticipated, so I actually got 5 meals out of it! Of course I totally forgot to prep my lunch for Friday on Thursday night, but luckily I remembered I’d stashed a serving of Rajma Masala w/ Jasmine Rice & Spinach in the freezer, so I wound up having that. The cottage cheese blintzes were good but not mind blowing. However they DID give me the opportunity to experiment in making YouTube video tutorials, so I now know I can do that once I get my video quality in order. I also wound up having to buy a quart of milk ($1.59) because I forgot I needed milk for the crepe mix I used for the blintzes. I filled in breakfasts with cheesy eggs on toast, topped with salsa and sour cream I had leftover from a few weeks ago.
Lunches were Korean Style Chicken and Eggplant Stir Fry w/ Sticky Rice, which was SUPER tasty, plus Chili Spaghetti with Shredded Cheese. And I used up the to meatballs in my freezer by making 2 meatball paninis (with the last little bit of shredded pizza cheese) with tomato salad.
Things I am proud of: I have not purchased any convenience food from CVS since I started this challenge!
Things I am less proud of: I have purchased a few (inexpensive) things on a whim and eaten them in one sitting when they’re multi-serving items. Oops. Yay, emotional eating! Oh well, it’s been less than $6 worth of stuff, which for me is amazing because, like I said, I’d buy 20oz. Cokes at CVS for $2.09 apiece a few times a week.
So onto week three!
What I’m working with this week:
The beginning of this week was kind of complicated. Sunday I spent the entire day with my girlfriends in Jim Thorpe, PA for their Winterfest. It was a great day and the weather was good but I definitely ate too much. On Monday I was treated to lunch by my Godmother, and Tuesday night was my monthly Sci Fi book club, where I ate out, AGAIN. Sheesh! Seems like all the money I’m saving on groceries I’m spending on dining out.
Breakfast for this week will be using up some leftover protein porridge mix I had sitting around. I’m cooking that with milk, apples and cinnamon and topping it with vanilla Greek yogurt and egg and cheese on English muffins. Lunches are more Chili Spaghetti with Shredded Cheese and later in the week, Swedish Meatballs in Cream Sauce with Potatoes and Lingonberry Jam. Dinners will be Pork w/ Blueberry BBQ Sauce and Mixed Grain Pilaf w/ Asparagus.
Snacks will be homemade Balanced Breaks and Almond Joy Protein balls, made with all my scant remaining protein powder, almonds, cocoa powder and shredded coconut.
Because I knew I was going to be out of town all day on Sunday, I dropped Bingley off at my ex’s house Saturday night and ran over to Walmart to pick up a few things there. But also grabbed some things I decidedly DID NOT need. I wanted to get some lunchmeat and a roll to bring on my day trip with me to avoid spending money on two whole meals. I also needed Greek yogurt for breakfast. Well, as it was 8:30 and I was exhausted from my work week I also bought carrot chips, potato chips, and a mini pie. OH and a box of mini Saltines. Total was $13.95 but 1/2 of that was junk food I didn’t really need. Bah.
I wasn’t super enthused by anything on sale at the grocery store this week, yet somehow I managed to spend more than I wanted to. I blame it on the emotions!
I only technically needed two things at Shoprite this week: I had a super coupon for asparagus that made it 99c/lb so I grabbed 2 lbs of that, plus they had chunk cheese 2 for $2 with a super coupon too, so I also grabbed those. I got 4 packets of low sodium tuna for snacking on this week (extra protein), plus some cottage cheese and frozen mixed berries to make a sort of ice cream/sorbet thing. Should be interesting. In total I spent $16.05.
Then of course, I realized Tuesday that I was out of coffee. Since today we’re having a big snow storm and I have the day off of work, I decided to run to Walmart while I did laundry… where I bought coffee… AND a protein drink. That puts my total for this week at $34.71. Which isn’t awful but definitely more than I’d planned to spend. Oh, I did wind up saving 20 cents from iBotta, so $34.51. My running total for this 4-week challenge is now $113.73. Actually I’m pretty pleased with that, considering my normal monthly budget is $230!
How are you own personal challenges coming? Let me know in the comments!
So last week went mostly well, although there were a few “issues”. First, I had planned on making the crispy rice cereal I had bought into chocolate peanut butter protein crispy treats, but I didn’t realize how little chocolate protein powder I had left. I wound up just eating the cereal with some leftover milk as a snack. It really tasted good, too!
I got deferred from my plasma donations both days last week, too, once because of low iron (thanks, female body needing to shed iron-related fluids once a month) and the second time because I had a low grade fever. I had been fighting a sinus headache for a few days before hand, and it looks like it’s turned into a mild case of sinusitis. So Friday I wound up staying home from work, which wouldn’t have been a food issue but for the fact I had already brought all of my lunches to work and they were sitting in the work fridge. Luckily I wound up using up some eggs, cheese, salsa and sour cream I already had in my fridge from the previous weeks and ate that on a piece of toast.
Lastly, I still haven’t eaten those strawberries I bought because they were on sale. I definitely need to eat those up before they go bad. And I bought a bag of mini chocolate rice cakes on a whim at work on Saturday, which set me back another $1.34, bringing my week 1 total up to $54.54. Lame.
What really worked was the cheese and turkey as a snack. I just wrapped four slices of that turkey around a string cheese stick and ate that as a snack. Really satisfying and filling.
Also I totally forgot I had my Foodie Meetup this past Saturday! We ate a delicious Spanish/Peruvian meal and I had two meals leftover to enjoy on Sunday, one from work from when I stayed home on Friday, and one from Saturday night.
What I’m working with this week:
My list this week was SUPER short. ShopRite had split chicken breasts on sale this week with a super coupon, which made them $0.99/lb! So I grabbed the biggest package I could find. I’m going to cut the meat off of the bones, saving the bones and skin for a broth for next week, and use the chicken with the leftover eggplant, scallions, and some Korean seasonings to make a nice stir fry and serve that with sticky rice for lunches. I’m also going to use the shrimp and coconut flakes to make baked coconut shrimp and serve those with sweet chili sauce from my fridge, frozen veggies and seasoned baked potato halves. Everything from that meal will be coming from freezer, fridge and pantry! I didn’t do a great job sticking to my list this week. The iBotta app had a rebate for Lenny & Larry’s cookies, which I love, and it turns out ShopRite had them on sale for 2 for $3. With the rebate that made them $1 each, which is about half of what they usually go on sale for. I grabbed two of those. And I had planned to buy Halo Top ice cream, since it was on sale for $2.88 a pint, but Friendlys was on sale for 2 for $5 for the “half gallon” size and then there was a $1 off digital coupon, so I decided this was the better choice, value-wise. I grabbed some eggs, because it’s always good to have eggs in the house, and for breakfast I got cottage cheese and blueberries for cottage cheese blintzes, and English muffins for egg sandwiches later in the week. As you can see I got some iBotta money back on the cottage cheese, too.
All I really needed from Walmart was some cashew milk (I use this is my coffee) and some canned pumpkin for a microwave protein brownie I want to try. I also grabbed a really cheap bag of potato chips which, sadly, are already gone. I’m having an incredibly emotional week and my body is paying for it with junk food.
So, as you can see, I spent a grand total of $24.43 for the week, or less than half of the previous week!
As for the rest of the menu for the week, I’m going to supplement the Korean chicken stir fry and coconut shrimp with meatball paninis and tomato salad (with those tomatoes I bought last week) and chili pasta with shredded cheddar. I bought the cheddar this week and have the pasta in the pantry and the chili in the freezer. Snacks will be leftover vanilla yogurt, protein brownies, turkey and cheese, apples and 100 calorie packs of nuts. Seems like I did pretty well this week! No planned dinners out this week, either, and no dates on the horizon, which I am A-OK with. I’m already ready to take a break with that, and honestly I don’t think I’m ready. My heart is still stuck on someone else.
Did you get any great deals last week? Let me know in the comments!
Week one has begun! It’s Wednesday so technically it’s half over but I’m going to update you on my purchases and then I’ll do a wrap up and preview of week two on Sunday.
Here was my biggest dilemma: Coca Cola. I like to have a Coke Zero Sugar in the afternoons. I ONLY buy soda when it’s on sale, except for the 20 oz. bottles I purchase as convenience drinks at CVS, which I already said I’d be avoiding. So in order to not go totally crazy during this challenge, I hunted around to find the best deal on Coke Products. Surprisingly, that was at Walgreens. They’re on sale 3 for $10, which is a really good price these days. Still, I can’t lie that I’m feeling a little guilty about spending $10 of my grocery budget on calorie free liquids, especially since it’s not really a necessity, but I think it will make not buying soda at CVS for a super inflated price easier. Here’s my receipt from Walgreens:
As you can see Coca Cola was 3 for $12 with a $2 digital coupon, plus I had a $1 rewards redemption from using my rewards card. This made each can $0.27, which is way better than the $2.09 +tax for a 20oz. bottle at CVS. So I consider that a win.
Also, I know I didn’t really *need* any more meat, but when ground beef is on sale for $1.99/lb with a super coupon, it’s impossible to pass up. So because I bought ground beef, I planned to make kofta kebabs! I already have all of the spices in my pantry so it would be easy. I used half of the package for kofta and threw the other half in the freezer for another week.
I got two 4-packs of 100-calorie popcorn bags, and as you can see they were $1.49 each on sale and I had a $1/2 manufacturer’s coupon, making them 99c each. I also got 2 pints of grape tomatoes at 99c each to accompany the bagged salad I already have in my fridge. I got rosemary for the Rosemary Cranberry Slow Cooker Pork I planned on making, along with 2 heads of cauliflower for roasting and serving with the pork. I also got a 5lb bag of potatoes for next week, since they were on sale for $2.50.
My favorite deal of the day, though, was apples. ShopRite had this special deal where if you bought a 2lb bag of Snapdragon apples you got a 2lb bag of Ruby Frost apples for free, which meant I got 4lbs of apples for $3.99, but I ALSO had an iBotta rebate for $1 off the Snapdragon apples, so I got 4lbs of apples for $3! Awesome, right? They’ll last a few weeks, too!
Strawberries weren’t particularly cheap but they were on sale for $2.50 so I grabbed a package. My best deal of the day was the individual containers of Friendship Cottage Cheese with fruit. Perfect for snacks, loaded with protein, and on sale for 4 for $5… buuuuuuut… iBotta had a rebate for $1 each up to 5 offers, so I got 4 of them for $1! That’s a really spectacular deal. I also grabbed a bag of light string cheese for snacks. Frigo was on sale for $2.99 for a pack of 12, and I had a $1 off manufacturer’s coupon too, making them $1.99 or $0.17 apiece!
My total at Shoprite was $34.59 minus the $5.10 in iBotta rebates, or $29.49. Not bad. Next up was Walmart.
I didn’t need much at Walmart, luckily. I got a box of store brand crispy rice cereal that I intended to make chocolate peanut butter protein rice treats out of, except I didn’t realize I didn’t have enough chocolate protein powder to go around. Oops. I got some honey smoked turkey to wrap around the string cheese for snacks (this has proved to be delicious, btw) and I had a $0.75 off manufacturer’s coupon for that, which made it a 16oz. package for $2.73. I got a quart of vanilla Greek yogurt I intended to strain and use as a spread for my Coconut Flour Banana Bread, but I got lazy, so I’m just eating it on the side.
I also got a large red onion I only used half of in the Roasted Vegetable Maftoul that went along with my kofta kebabs, seen here:
For the Maftoul, I also went to Produce Junction (a discount produce store) and got a 2lb bag of Indian eggplant for $3 (I only used half so I have some leftover for next week) and 3 bunches of cilantro for $2.50, or $5.50 total.
All in all, this week I spent more than I really wanted to, but I got a lot of things that will carry over into next week. My total was $53.20, but I know I can spent a LOT less next week. My regular grocery budget is $200 plus $30 for produce. This week I spent $22.60 on produce alone, but again, I have 5lbs of potatoes, 1 lb of eggplant, a half a large red onion and 2 bunches of cilantro left for next week, so there’s a lot of carry over here. Plus the Coca Cola should last me for the entire month if I don’t go overboard. I’ll figure out what sort of snack I can make with the crispy rice cereal, too. Maybe use up some PB2 and honey! We’ll see.
Are you doing your own challenge this month? Let me know what your best deal was in the comments!