Cleaning up the kitchen: Day 1

OK, so yesterday I rambled at length about how I got to where I’m at and why I’m so frustrated with, well, everything. So one day my mother didn’t give me a pony, and then … I mean. Um.
Anyway.
So today I started step one of the Cleaning Out the Kitchen challenge over at Don’t Waste the Crumbs. I want to share my excitement about how well I did with last night’s grocery trip! It’s more exciting than it sounds, I promise.

Cleaning out the fridge

I was shocked at how much I found in our fridge after only a week in our new house. Our week of not having the right pots and pans and things meant a week of staring at food that we couldn’t cook and eating way too much fast food. And of course, because we don’t want to waste anything we end up with scraps of greasy gross food that very much does not reheat well. I don’t have a before image, but here is our freshly cleaned out fridge. We didn’t end up tossing much  “good” food, just a lot of fast food and restaurant leftovers. But that food costs money, too. It was good to be mindful of that as I threw things out.
IMG_20141006_140822_934IMG_20141006_140921_970

 

It’s hard to see the top shelf, but it’s fruit and veggies and jam up top. Leftovers and things to be eaten soon in the middle and dairy and deli on the bottom. I’ve got a ton of condiments in the door that we barely use, but it’s all still good. So, we’re keeping it for the time being.

We’re moving the last of the stuff from the old house this weekend, and turning in our keys later this week. So our meal plan starts with some easy stuff on Monday and then ramps up as the week goes on. Our meals will include meatloaf, chicken teriyaki and tacos with salad. I cook things for T and myself for lunch so we can have a meal together before I go to work and it becomes leftovers for later dinners apart.

Oct. 4 – Clean out the fridge
Oct. 5-6 – Eat the old stuff
Oct. 7 – Create a grocery budget
Oct. 9 – Ditch hydrogenated oils
Oct. 10-12 – Clean out the Freezer
Oct. 13 – Eat a Simple Meal
Oct. 14 – Make money
Oct. 20 – Bake Bread Plan meals for one week
Oct. 30 – Clean out the pantry and cupboards; Create a signature company dish; Use food twice
Oct. 31 – Budget check-in
Nov. 1 – All the rest
 

The grocery trip

The other part of the DWTC challenge involves tracking what we spend on what and whether those spending habits align with our food philosophy and goals. It’s an approach that I’ve never encountered before and one that really makes sense to the numbers-addict in me. It’s helped me incorporate those philosophies into this week’s meal plan, and we’ll see how it goes on what I have planned for this week. In the end, I spent $80.90 on the trip to Meijer.

The good
I managed to get all of this for $7.71
IMG_20141006_140039_095
Here’s how:
Friday and Saturday were Meijer’s monthly 5% off days for groceries. So everything I bought was 5% off.
Grapes were only $0.97/lb ……………………….. $3.27
Honeycrisp apples were $1.69/lb ………………. $3.40
Bananas ………………………………………………….. $0.90
Onions, let’s talk about onions, shall we? I could have taken part in the buy-one-get-one free deal on 3 lb bags of onions, but it would have meant buying Bolthouse Farms brand onions. While Bolthouse has ended their lobbying for bans gay marriage, we continue to choose not to buy their products. Sometimes it means missing out on deals like this. And that’s OK.
So instead, onions ……………………………………. $1.79
Canteloupe (with a $0.50 coupon) …………….. $1.17
Broccoli/Cauliflower mix ($1 off coupon) …….. $1.37
Spring Mix ……………………………………………….. $3.29
Spinach Mix (free after buying spring mix) ….. FREE
Carrots (also limited by not buying Bolthouse) $1.70
Fresh garlic paste ($1 off coupon) ……………… $2.79

Plus, I had a $1.50 off $12 of produce, $4 in bottle returns, $5 off from an earned mperks reward last month, and $3.49 left on a gift card. And after all that, I hit my goal on a $5 and a $10 mperks reward for produce and total purchases, respectively, because it uses the pre-discounts price to record rewards. So produce was the major winner here. And as you’ll note below, I count the bottle deposit as part of the cost when we buy those items. So I count it as a discount later. We have another $5 off coupon that T got late last month (I forgot to bring it with me, which is why I like mperks so much), which will help with the next trip.

The bad
The biggest “Ugh” moment involved this bacon we love:
IMG_20141006_135231_423In the store, it looked like the sale rack that said $4.49 meant this stuff too, which would have been a steal! But when I got my receipt home, I realized I was in fact charged $8.49. That’s only $0.49 lower than the HIGHEST I’ve seen this bacon listed for. Le sigh. But since we love this bacon and we were down to less than a pound when I went out, T convinced me to keep all three packages. And fortunately when I pulled them back out to take this picture, I realized that it’s actually 1.5 lbs of bacon per package, which I was comparing to a 1-lb package price. So at $24.20 (after 5% off) for 4.5 pounds, it’s a splurge we can afford but it stings as a mistake. Next time I see a deal that looks too good to pass up, I’ll pass by a price checker first.

A smaller but no less annoying mistake was on margarine (I know, it’s not really healthy-lifestyle friendly, but we haven’t made the switch to butter yet).
IMG_20141006_135320_136I had a coupon clipped in my mperks wallet for $0.50 off, but my phone died. I thought it said 45 oz, it actually said 15 oz. The $2.85 container is something we’ll use and isn’t a bad deal (it was on sale plus the 5% off), but we could have spent less AND used a coupon for an overall $1 or so of savings. And as we saw with the produce, those dollars and cents add up.

 

The rest of it
Here’s where the remaining $46.05 went:
Chex Mix ……. $4.83 – 5% off – $0.55 coupon ………. $3.69
Pepperoni …… $2.69 – 5% off – $0.55 coupon ………. $2.03
Organic Milk … $6.69 – 5% off ……………………………. $6.35      I redeemed an Ibotta offer for $0.25
Faygo ………. $1.98(sale) – 5% off + $0.20 deposit … $1.88
Ramen ………. $1.09(sale) – 5% off ………………………. $1.03
Honey bread …. $1.50(sale) – 5% off ……………………. $1.43      I redeemed an Ibotta offer for $0.25
Sourdough bread $2.50(sale) – 5% off …………………. $2.37
Bagels ……… $3.00(sale) – 5% off ………………………… $2.85
Ice cream …… $6.67(sale) – 5% off ………………………. $6.34
Redds Apple Ale … $8.49(sale) + $0.60 deposit ………. $9.09     I redeemed an Ibotta offer for $1
Wine …………. $9.99(sale) …………………………………….. $9.99

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