Lately I have been all about saving money at the grocery store. In the past, I will admit to going to the grocery store HUNGRY and WITHOUT a shopping list and simply getting things that looked good. The problem with this? I was paying way too much for things, and buying more than we were able to eat before it went bad. We would wind up throwing half of it away.
My other problem? I wasn't too fond of freezing meat. I would buy fresh meat for each meal. Meaning grocery store trips every 2-3 days. This was NOT very wallet friendly. My new plan consisted of a weekly budget and 1 weekly trip to the grocery store. A big step in this for me was coming up with a weeks worth of dinner ideas. ( I always factor in 1 night eating out- whether its out to a restaurant, or dinner at a family or friend's house.) I also had to get over my aversion to freezing meat. We now buy our meat in bulk when it is on sale, and rinse, package and freeze it immediately after getting home from the store. Some weeks I don't even need to buy meat if we have enough stored in our freezer. I package everything in servings of 3-4 servings, which allows for dinner for the 2 of us, and leftovers for each of our lunches. Boyfriend usually takes leftover meat from dinner along with the leftover sides (rice, potatoes, etc) for his lunch, While I take my leftover meat and use it on a salad for lunch the next day. This usually works out PERFECTLY for us. For my weekly shopping trips I also figure out what I will need for the entire week, and work that into our weekly budget. I try to get ingredients that are on sale, and versatile so I can use them for several different recipes. For example, this week we got tons of onions, red peppers, and green bell peppers on sale. We used them one night with chicken for our homemade Kung Pao chicken, and we used them again with chicken the next night for baked Chicken Fajitas. Same ingredients, different spices. Completely different meals. Delicious.
So back to saving money. We have been trying to limit our spending, as we are planning on buying a house early next year. This new budget so far has saved us a couple hundred dollars a month. I told you, we were not watching our wallets at the store before. We also cut back a lot on going out to eat. I have also been trying to make things from scratch, that usually cost a lot more at the store. So far I have made my own fajita seasoning, biscuits, muffins, waffle mix, ranch dressing mix, and my latest feat? Homemade Raisins and Spice Oatmeal. The boyfriend has Quaker's Raisin and Spice Instant Oatmeal every single day for breakfast. Only recently did I realize that we are overpaying for this. He can eat 2-3 packets at a time! So I set out in search of a Raisin and Spice Oatmeal that could be not only less expensive, but healthier and taste better!
Raisins and Spice Dry Oatmeal Mix
Yields: 10 cups dry mix (10 large servings)
7 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 2/3 cups raisins
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 pinches salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 pinch all spice
Directions: Mix all ingredients together. Place in labled, zip lock baggies*.
To Serve: Scoop out 1 cup of Raisins and Spice Dry Oatmeal mix, combine with 1 cup water or milk. Microwave on High 1.5-2 minutes. Stir before serving.
*I placed mine in two large freezer bags, 5 cups per bag for Ryan to take to work.
Now each bag is perfectly portioned for an entire week's worth of breakfasts!
The Verdict? Boyfriend absolutely loved this. The store-bought stuff costs about $0.33/oz and this only cost about $0.06/oz to make from scratch. Not to mention tastier, healthier, and less proccessed. Now I am dreaming of Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal and perhaps a Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal mix!