A Master Shopping List

How do you shop? Do you wing it? Do you make a list each time you go to the store?

Since I try to shop from my pantry and restock the shelves, I shop with a list. I have even made master shopping lists for each store that I frequent. And these lists are set up by store lay out. I know how geeky. But I am able to get into the stores, shop and check out rather quickly. Most of my time is spent waiting to check out.

Oh the looks I get when I am doing a major restocking trip and have 2, 3 or even 4 carts that are full. I try to go on off hours for these types of trips, it can take an hour or more to check out and going on a busy weekend morning tends to make the store managers cranky. I like to stay on their good sides. I often will have them waive the sales limit requirement for me. Of course it helps when you get Christmas cards from the managers because you are on a first name basis with them.

Right now, I need to recreate my lists; one store where I used to shop has closed. We also now have a Wegman’s. I have had many people tell me that they have good prices on the basics. I am placing that on my To Do list for Thursday since today’s list is already full.

Why don’t you join me and start a master list. Overall you will have a better shopping experience.

Pax Christi,

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Making the menu plan

I finally sat down and made the menu plan for the week. Everything listed here is from my pantry so I do not have to rush out to the store to buy anything for this week.  I will save this menu and in a month or two pull it out.  That way I will build up a stockpile of menus and I won’t have to reinvent the wheel.  I am going to build up at least a year’s worth of menus. So that I can have a seasonal menus based on the local in-season foods.

Here is the menu for the week.

Garlic Rolls

Crock Pot Pork Roast
Seasoned Rice

Fish Sticks
Macaroni and Cheese

Thursday (Boy Scout Night)

Homemade Pizzas

Taco Bar

Roast Chicken
Green Beans

Monday — Cereal
Tuesday — Waffles
Wednesday — Dutch Baby
Thursdays — Muffins
Friday — Cereal
Saturday — Breakfast Casserole
Sunday — Cereal


Have you inventoried your pantry yet and figured out a meal plan?

Pax Christi,

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Change of Plans and a Challenge

DH had to retire from the fire department, his 30 plus years of saving lives and property caught up with his body. The doctor decided that it had enough and needed to stop being punished, so as of August 1st he was retired.

Now we had a “plan” that involved him working for another at least 5 years. In that time all the consumer debt would be paid off, the van would be paid off and we would have about a year’s worth of food in the pantry. Well you all know what they say about plans.

The good news is that all of the consumer debt is paid off. The next step is to pay off the van. If we get a decent income tax refund, that should be take care of the remaining loan balance.  If not it will still be paid off with a year or so.

Unfortunately, the pantry isn’t as well stocked as I would like, even if he were still working full-time. I like to have about 3 months worth of food in the freezer and on the pantry shelves. The shopping that was done over the past couple of months was to fill in the gaps, with very little planning and stocking being done.

It is time for me to get back on the stocking and menu planning band wagon. I need to get the pantry restocked and back to my comfort level. My plan this week is to figure out what I have and what needs to be purchased to start to accomplish these goals.

Here is my challenge to you. Inventory your pantry and freezer. See how many meals you can come up with for your family. Think three meals a day, and maybe a snack. Include drinks too.

Would you be able to survive a week without a run to the store? Would you be able to survive two weeks? If you do not have a week’s worth of meals, then make a plan and start stocking your pantry. Once you have a week, move on to two.

Having food in the pantry is a blessing to you and your family.

Pax Christi,
A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Finding Freedom Friday — May 8

Finding Freedom with Freezer Meals/OAMC

Many people find financial freedom when they start batch cooking or once a month a cooking. This can save considerable money and time because you have meals in the freezer so you don’t have to worry about what eat. You are able to shop sales and save money on groceries. However that type of cooking doesn’t really work for our family. Most of the meals are casseroles, which DO NOT go over well here. Not to mention when you have a large family trying to put that much prepared food in a freezer can be a challenge.

So how have I found Financial Freedom without using this valuable tool? I have a pantry and a freezer and plan my meals. I have built up my pantry to the point where I plan my meals from what I have on hand and then look for the sales to replace the used items. I do not buy meats that cost over a $1.99 a pound. I get all of them on sale and buy enough to last the family at least a month.

I even keep a couple of “convenience” food items like En-Cor entrees (bought on an awesome sale) on hand so if things get totally hectic we can have a meal on the table within an hour. I plan at least one meatless meal a week. We also have breakfast for dinner at least once a month.

So while Freezer Meals and Once a Month Cooking is a wonderful tool and I highly recommend using it, if you find is doesn’t work for your family you can do the same thing by stocking the components of meals so you can make meals at home. Just make sure you include things that can be made quickly so you can resist the urge to do take out on those totally crazy nights that any family can have.

So head on over to Cents to Get Debt to Free to get some other great hints.

How do you do it?

People are always asking many types of the “How do you do it?” type of questions. One of the most frequent is how do we feed the family and not break the bank or have to rob a bank?

When I tell them my food budget is about $700 a month they do not believe it. I am blessed to have a variety of stores around here. They all compete with one another and have great sales. One or the other is always have a 10 for $10 sale on many of the items we use. They also have wonderful sales on meats. I never pay more than $1.99 a pound for meat, usually I pay much less.

Super Walmart is within 20 minutes from my door. A regular Walmart is 10 minutes away. Aldi’s is also 10 minutes from my house. I go there purchase other staples. BJs Wholesale club is within 15 minutes and they still have the best prices on milk, diaper wipes, blocks of cheese, cat litter and gas. So I pay for my annual membership with my first month’s savings.

So with all these great places and sales I have built up a wonderful pantry and freezer stock. I plan my meals from what I have on hand and replenish the pantry when the items go on sale.

I have been asked about my pantry so here are some pictures.

Pantry View 2

This is a good overall shot of the pantry. You can see the baking goods, spices, etc. on the back left shelf. On the back right shelf is overflow from the baking goods and the shelf on against the wall on the right (canned goods).

Panty View 1

These two shelves hold my canned goods — vegetables, fruits, meats and spaghetti sauce.

Pantry View 3

This shelf holds the cereal, canned milks, storage bags, and rice. On the bottom shelf I keep the big bottles of salsa, oil, syrup and ketchup.


This shelf is in a bad place for getting a good picture. It holds our spaghetti, dried fruits, trail mixes, peanut butters and jellys. If you look along the back floor you can see the cleaning items.

Frequent Use Items

This shelf holds out frequent use items. Some of the canned vegetables, egg noodles, side dishes, the children’s spaghetti O’s and ravioli and chips for lunches. Behind the doors on the left shelf are canned meats like tuna, chicken, turkey, beef and salmon.

Some of the things that didn’t make it into the picture is the rolling wire rack that holds the drink mixes that the family uses like pink lemonade and Kool-aid. A bin that is full of pop tarts and a bin that holds the snack items that we keep on hand.

So that is our pantry. Right now we couple eat of what we have on had for three to four months if things got really tight financially for some reason.

I encourage everyone to start to build up a pantry to have a buffer.