January had some learning curve to it, which just goes to show that even when you have been working with a budget for a long time, there is always something new to learn or figure out. As I've mentioned several times, a member of our little family has been staying away from gluten because of multiple symptoms. Happily, there seems to be some real healing taking place, and all of those symptoms (and more) have decreased. I have learned some interesting things - did you know that 'enriched' rice is not gluten free? The enrichment is sourced from wheat products. That meant that even though I had a fair amount of rice on hand, we had to get different rice. Soy sauce has wheat in it too...tamari does not, and they are similar enough that we can make that work. However...you can pick up a gallon of soy sauce for a pretty good price. Tamari does not have the higher demand, so it costs a little more. This has definitely been a month when I was grateful that we had plenty of food in our pantry, and are not purchasing groceries week-to-week. While some things will not work for 'gluten free', many of the foods we have on hand work just fine, so it was a matter of reading labels and paying attention. Those of us who can eat gluten will eat the wheat (and other gluten foods) we have on hand, but I am going to be keeping less of that sort of thing on hand in the long run.
Specialty items that are gluten free are more costly. I mean...I can get wheat based pasta for free or nearly free often enough that I don't really purchase it...not with money, anyway. We found some gluten-free corn pasta for 1.50 - for 12 ounces - and that is a pretty good price, so we got some. When we do have pasta, I will cook both kinds, so that the gluten free pastas last longer. Mind you, I'm not complaining about the expense or the need to make some adjustments - I'm truly grateful that we are able to do it within our budget!
So, that was our challenge this month - replacing some items here and there (tamari for soy sauce, some pastas, a different rice, etc.) to keep our meals safe for everyone involved while keeping them somewhat similar.
I did buy a few more things at the end of the month. Here they are:
Dollar Tree had some Kraft dressings, and I had a coupon for .75 off 2. I also picked up another bag of tortilla chips while they are 'bonus' bags - 11 oz. for $1 Total was $2.25.
|$2.25 at Dollar Tree|
I did some price matching to get some produce and a few other odds and ends, too. We are really enjoying the fresh pineapple, so I got one at the end of the sale again, for $1. Sour cream was $1 too. Hot dogs were .50 per pack (and they are gluten free!), celery and lettuce, .88 each, apples were 1.63 (.88 a pound), so our total was $6.39
At the tail-end of the month I got a few things from the new sale. The tortillas were .78 after the coupon I had. Shave gel was free (I had a coupon from the manufacturer). We got the pizza for Daughter and her friend when they had a sleepover ($2), the avocados were $1 for both, and so was the chili after coupon, and the tomatoes were .68. Total spent - $5.46
Finally, we went to the Asian Market, and, er...I can't find the receipt. The two kinds of rice noodles and both heads of won-bok (which I use to make kimchee) were under $6..but let's just say $6, since I'm not sure. Sorry.
Total spent for January $151.28...which is more than we've spent in a single month in a long, long time. We're usually right around $120, including some stocking up.
Total remaining, which will be set aside for bulk buys $8.72
We have ended the month with a full crisper drawer and plenty of items in the pantry and freezer, which is a good thing.
We are going into a week where I am doing a fair amount of subbing at the library, and a few days, it is near or during suppertime. I've been squirreling away some freezer meals - or at least some sides or entree's - to help make the week easier for everyone. Here is this week's plan:
cereal with almond milk, fruit
scrambled eggs w/cheese and corn tortillas, tomato juice
peanut butter toast, apples, cocoa
cinnamon rolls, applesauce, almond milk
leftovers from supper when available
soup from the freezer
cheese, crackers and apple slices
pbj, carrots and celery, fruit
kahlua pig, rice, kimchee, carrot-raisin salad
crock pot chicken w/KFC spice, mashed potatoes, green beans, pineapple
king ranch chicken, salad, peaches
chili over rice, apples
beef broccoli with rice noodles, mandarin oranges
frozen fruit smoothies
peanut butter and crackers
What are you cookin' up this week?