I plan to do one big shop before January with the last of December's grocery envelope money. I'll probably go on the 30th. I'm figuring out my produce so we can make it through the month without going to the grocery store for more than milk.
I can buy lettuce for the first two weeks. The vacuum sealed bags from Costco will last two weeks sealed, so we can eat one the first week and one the second week. We can get celery and bok choy for stir-fries for the first two weeks, carrots for the full month, frozen broccoli for the full month and frozen cauliflower if we can find it. Otherwise I may have to blanch and freeze two heads of cauliflower. We have plenty of home canned and non-home canned green beans to go through. I'll buy cabbage and break into it on week 3. I'll also buy some green onions for week one and some radishes for the whole month, eating the greens in the first week. I'd like some parsnips and turnips as well and a couple of sweet potatoes. We do not need potatoes, we are still working through what we grew. I will need onions, though. And two bags of mixed veggies for making stir-fried rice.
For fruit, we'll have apples and oranges for the last half of the month and for the first half I can buy 2 pineapples (there is a sale and hopefully they look good), using 1 the first week and 1 the second. For the first week I can buy bananas and golden kiwis. We have home canned pears, nectarines, peaches, and plums as well as store bought canned pineapple. I'll need to buy avocados in various stages of ripening.
I am going to make as much of our bread products as possible. Now that my daughter's gut has healed, we have reintroduced wheat into the diet and it seems to be going well. We still use a lot of gluten free things and will continue to do so, but she can have the occasional sandwich or hamburger bun or dinner roll made with wheat flour now. Or pizza. We try to keep it to twice a week.
I need to buy enough eggs to make it through the month and I need to see how much chicken is in the freezer and possibly a couple of hams. We don't have to worry about beef, although I might buy some more bacon. I need to check the freezer for that, too, and see how much sausage we have. We have some salmon and we have spot prawns in the freezer, too, so will do that a couple of times.
We'll need tortilla chips and I'll need to see how much cheese we have as I'll need enough for a couple of pizzas and a lasagna. We have lots of gluten free pretzels, but I'd like to have a couple of bags of potato chips and I'm sure DD will want her Simply Cheetos and I want to make sure we have the ingredients to make cookies. Oh, and we need peanut butter. We have lots of rice.
I can't think of anything else. I'm going to work on a meal plan for the month of November and that might make remember some other gaps to fill.
I'd like to keep as much of the money for groceries as possible. I budget $400 every two weeks, so if we can keep to the challenge, except for milk, that would be really good. I've managed to keep around $600 in the past because I didn't plan as well ahead of time, but still did pretty good. The main thing was making sure there were enough snack things to keep the other 3 happy.
But our goal in the new year is to improve our diets over all and a month without eating out will help with that by cutting out a lot of sodium. We need to eat more vegetables because we have been skimping lately, especially green ones, or in the case of cabbage, red and green ones. I will start my Aerogarden going tonight so that we will have salad greens by the start of week 4, maybe even week 3. Some varieties of lettuce grow faster than others.
I hope that a month without eating out will put us back on track all the way around, nutritionally and financially. And then continue on from there, maybe only getting take out once or twice a month. I have to get past my too tired to cook mentality, which I feel all too often, but then when I force myself to cook, I'm almost always just fine. It helps that I've been sleeping better since I got the adjustable bed frame. I can elevate my legs a little and my head a little and it makes a world of difference.
If anyone wants to join me on the eat from the pantry challenge, go ahead. There's a bunch of us doing it over on the Sutton's Daze facebook group and on youtube. The goal is to stay out of the grocery store as much as possible for the month of January and save as much of your grocery budget as you can. You can make exceptions for certain foods. Some buy produce only, some buy milk and eggs only, some only buy bread. You set your own challenge according to your ability.