This Week’s Menu: Stocking Up

Baked chili rellenos casserole, our Sunday egg dish.

Brett and I want to kick up our savings even more next year, and one budget area we’ve decided we’re comfortable cutting back a bit is food and toiletries. Although the budget seems tight at times now, and saving on food can be a challenge in Hawaii (to say the least), we believe that by being more strategic in our menu planning and with our shopping we can cut back our monthly spending by around another $100 (we currently budget $500/month for food and toiletries.

To that end, we’re going to begin stocking up on certain pantry and freezer items until the end of the year, things that get used or eaten (more) frequently and that we know will keep for a while. I don’t say that lightly because the humidity here can be pervasive – things like potato chips or crackers or cereal that are sealed in bags can lose their crisp in a couple of months if exposed to the humidity. We don’t have a lot of extra space for storage inside, but enough that we can put a few things away, and items in jars or plastic containers can be kept outside in the garage.

Buying extras now with our current budget will mean that we can spend less next year. It won’t be a lot, but every little bit will help make it easier to save. To that end, items on our Costco stock-up list this month include but are not limited to a case of ramen, extra peanut butter, an extra container or two of nuts, and we’ll get a second container of fabric softener, and extra shampoo from Walmart. We’ll see how things total up this month, and decide if we can maybe get more. During our November and December shops is when we’ll get the things we can keep in the freezer.

Here’s to saving more next year!

Here’s our menu for this week:

  • Tuesday (this evening): Slow cooker stuffing with chicken;  (I am going to have 1/4 cup of stuffing, but mostly chicken); grilled zucchini
  • Wednesday: Ginger pork sandwiches; coleslaw (no bread for me)
  • Thursday: Teriyaki chicken meatball skewers with peppers; steamed rice; cucumbers (no rice for me)
  • Friday: Leftovers
  • Saturday: Grilled beef Polish sausages; sauerkraut; pilaf (I’m skipping the pilaf)
  • Sunday: Baked chili rellenos; yellow rice; cucumber salad (no rice for me)
  • Monday: Panzanella with beans and cheese (bumped from last week – I’m substituting zucchini for the bread in my portion)

We’ll be getting more cucumbers from the farmers’ market, and zucchini if we can find it. Farmer’s are apparently having a hard time with zucchini right now – the flowers are rotting before the squash can set. I also hope we can get some corn, but otherwise we’ll be buying fruit.

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8 thoughts on “This Week’s Menu: Stocking Up

  1. Snoskred says:

    Stocking up when things are on super special is a big thing that we do because we can save huge amounts of money that way, and we invested in a deep freeze to help us do this. Just two good examples –

    – I freeze bananas for my daily protein shake. When bananas are on special for 99 cents, I will stock up big time and put huge ziploc bags of frozen bananas right at the bottom of the freezer, so I can smugly eat my 99 cent bananas daily when everyone else is paying $3.99 or even more.

    – We eat a lot of chicken breast. It can range from 10.99 up to 14.99 here retail just off the shelf. But there is a place that regularly sells it for 4.49-5.99 a kg and they send out an email each week with their specials, so when they have it on super special I will buy 5-10kg, we spend a couple of hours preparing it the way we like (strips, pieces, breast steaks, kievs) and then we foodsave it all and freeze it.

    I wonder if foodsaving might be a thing worth looking into, in your situation there. 🙂 We’ve been at 99% humidity for months now here, with added icy coldness as a not great bonus – I’ll take your kind of humidity any day, I am so sick of beanies and gloves *inside* the house – and I have had to foodsave dry things I normally would not bother with.

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    • Laura says:

      Finding specials here is not as easy as it was back on the mainland – there are fewer stores and we’re a captive audience, so to speak. That’s why people here love Costco so much.

      We prefer chicken thighs here – I can usually find a 6-pack at Costco for under $18, and no where else around can beat that price. The food section at Walmart here is very small, but sometimes we can find good deals there.

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  2. JanBo says:

    I love your fugal tips and have watched how you eliminated carbs. Good job! Have you thought of ditching fabric softener for wool balls? They dry your clothes faster AND they are reusable.
    BTW- can you ask your landlord if you can VRBO your house during your mystery vacation? I am thinking there are enough people on this blog that you could rent it out pretty easily.

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    • Laura says:

      I have heard of the whole dryer balls, but we dry so much outside so we put the softener in the wash, to cut down on the stiffness and scratchiness.

      We cannot do VRBO or a house share here. The local codes are one reason, but our landlord doesn’t want anyone in the house he doesn’t personally meet and approve.

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    • Laura says:

      Sometimes I think the inside is just as bad as the garage! We’re not trying to create a huge stockpile though, so a couple of months sitting out in the garage isn’t going to affect things that much. We’ve been storing food out there for the past two years without any ill effects. Things in plastic bags or boxes stay inside though.

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