Eating Less Expensively: Week 4 recap

It appears our $30-a-week grocery bills caught up with us. During the final week of my self-imposed challenge to eat balanced meals on the cheap, our total grocery store outlay was $62.26.

Considering the intitial goal was to stay below the weekly federal thrifty food plan budget of $103.20 for our family of three (plus a baby), it’s silly that I’m disappointed in that figure, isn’t it?

We needed to stock up on some pantry staples this week, including flour and canola oil, graham crackers and peanut butter. Our meals included several recipes from the USDA booklet I’ve oft mentioned: baked cod fillets with cheese, crispy baked potatoes (FYI, they take longer to bake than the recipe says), and beef-noodle casserole. I also made enchiladas using a less costly seasoning packet vs. the canned sauce my normal recipe calls for. My hubby made “bachelor food,” a staple from his (and his uncle’s) college days. (Combine chicken, a box or packet of chicken-flavored rice, cream of chicken or mushroom soup, plus water, and bake).

I’m planning to grocery shop tomorrow, as Eat Less Expensively April comes to an end. And oh boy, is my list a looooooong one. But I’m hopeful some good habits learned this month will stick. I’ve already planned out meals for the next week, focusing on what was in my cupboard and fridge. I’ll buy what I need for the coming week, plus just a few bargains. It’s nice to see my pantry looking a little sparse. I’d like to keep it pared down.

I’ll compile my thoughts on the challenge as a whole in my next Money-Savin’ Mama column. Look for it Friday in The Forum and on this blog.

Did any of you join me in this challenge, or were you inspired to take it on next month? What last tips do you super-savers have for me?