Shopping In Your Own Kitchen: Guest Post

It’s so fun for me to read how other moms manage their households and to hear what they do to make ends meet. Today, Connie shares some of her tricks to “eat from the pantry” all year long.

Being a stay at home mom with seven children means I have to be frugal in every area of spending. The most “daily” way of being frugal is menu planning. The first way that I accomplish frugal menu planning is to have a freezer. If you have one, you will be able to stock up on bargains, and when I say stock up, I mean STOCK UP.

My husband likes to do the grocery shopping and if he runs across a special, like the time he found packages of hot dogs on sale 3 for $1, he will buy as many as are available. (I was giddy for days over the fact that each hot dog was 4 cents!)

At any given time, our stocking up means we may have 20 packages of hot dogs in our freezer, along with 15 pounds of ground beef, 10 whole chickens, 12 loaves of bread, and anything else we have picked up for a fabulous price, like pizza sauce for 2 cents a can.

This allows me to plan a weekly menu by shopping in my own kitchen. I use what is available, that we have picked up at rock bottom prices, and plan around that.

One night last week for dinner, I took some breakfast sausages ($1 for 10 links) out of the freezer, canned biscuits we had found on sale and some free eggs my sister had given me, and we had a nice “country breakfast” dinner that fed our entire family of nine for around $3 TOTALThat works out to roughly 33 cents per person!

There are times, like for my husband’s birthday or when we are expecting company, that I will plan a run to the store so I can serve a special meal, like chicken parmesan and fettucini alfredo. But you can bet it won’t be 33 cents per person!

Stocking up on bargains and shopping in your own kitchen is far and away the most frugal way to go about feeding a family.

– Connie who blogs daily at Smockity Frocks, is a homeschooling mom of seven rowdy children, wife of one hunky golf pro, maker of aprons, wiper of noses, and writer of stories.

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  1. Brilliant! I don’t have a family of nine to feed (only 2 of us!), but I enjoy stocking up. One thing we have is a meat order that provides us with our meat for 6 months and then in 6 months we get the next load. We pay monthly for it and it reduces me impulse buying meat, etc. And they planned the portions/types of meats around what we eat/want. It’s helped a lot!!

  2. Oh if you could see my freezer….and pantry… and closet! I love that you hubby does the shopping!! :)

  3. I love having food in my freezers – all 3 of them! Like you, I can feed our family of ten for $3 or under per dinner. It is encouraging to read of others who are able to eat well for so little!

  4. Wow! Sounds like you were able to take advantage of some great deals and then enjoy them on your own schedule! Very cool! And I’m impressed that you can fit all that in there, as well.

  5. This was sooo fun to read!! I have 9 siblings myself, but we grew up on a farm where we raised our own meat and vegetables and drank the milk from the dairy cows. It’s so neat to see how large families swing it with grocery shopping at the store :) AND it’s great to see that it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg!! (I don’t mean to imply that we didn’t go grocery shopping at all, we did :P)

  6. I do the same thing! Since I have a stockpile of meat, flour, sugar, etc. all I typically have to purchase for groceries each week is dairy and produce and then I spend the remainder of my weekly budget stocking up! It’s especially fun when I find meat that’s marked down….I build up the freezer stockpile for very little!!

  7. We have 5 children, and I shop in the same way. My freezer is full of turkeys (I bought 9 last November), chicken breasts, boneless pork roasts, some chuck roasts and a couple of hams.

    When potatoes were on sale before Thanksgiving, I bought 360 pounds.

    We have lots of meals for $3 for the family!

  8. I’m learning to stock up….I went tonight with a handful of coupons and sale papers and had a reciept of 249.82 but only paid 150.00. I still can’t believe I did it….or if I can do it again. Now I need to learn how to organize my stuff to make better use of space..

  9. Having a well stocked pantry and freezer feels really good too:) Not only will you have gotten great deals, you also don’t have to worry about the weekly shopping trip if something comes up and your not able to go, you know you’ll still have dinner:)

  10. Thanks for the encouragement to be more thrifty with our pantry. As I was reading I thought of a question (which doesn’t apply to me now but has in the past). Do you have any suggestions for moving (long distance) and keeping perishable food from spoiling without just getting rid of it/giving it away beforehand?

    • @Lindsey,
      I have only moved 5-6 hrs. away, and we loaded up our perishables in an ice chest to take with us.

      I have been the recipient of lots of good food from friends who have moved across the country or even over seas, though. They couldn’t take it with them, and blessed us with it! You might be able to find a family who needs and would appreciate your perishables.

  11. Impressive! I’ve been struggling a bit with grocery shopping since we’re focusing on local meats, fruits, and veggies. Right now, I’m waiting until the school year is finished before working on the grocery shopping again. I feel so inspired reading your post!

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Meal Planning: Week 2 Pantry Challenge

One pleasant surprise from this Eat from the Pantry Challenge has been a renewed interest in cooking. Ask me again in three weeks’ time if I still like it. But, right now, it’s been a fun challenge to create fun meals for my family. I was dumbfounded when FishPapa and FishBoy12 asked several times if I could make this Greek-inspired Beef Pita dinner again. Well, golly. It was just this hunk of meat I found in the freezer.

May wonders never cease.

Another thing I’ve discovered is that my kids can eat a lot of grapefruit! They were 19 cents each this past week, so I bought 20. They are easily eating one a day. Yeah for Vitamin C!

Here’s what the rest of the month looks like at the moment. Subject to change.

10. Chicken Tacos, Rice and Green Salad
11. Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Green Beans, Pumpkin Rolls
12. Turkey Pot Pie, Green Salad
13. Shrimp and Rice, Broccoli, Green Salad
14. Rice and Beans
15. Pizza and Salad
16. Shredded Beef Chimichangas
17. Mixed Grill (fish and Buttermilk-Yogurt Marinaded Chicken), Rice Pilaf, Green Salad, Garlic Foccaccia
18. Stuffed Pasta Shells, Green Salad
19. Shredded Beef and Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Carrots, Rolls
20. Burrito Bowls
21. Stir Fry
22. Pizza and Salad
23. Roast Chicken, Quick Seasoned Rice, Vegetables
24. Fish Tacos
25. Shredded Beef, Gravy, Rice, Salad, Fresh Bread
26. Pasta with Ragu, Green Salad, Foccaccia
27. Chihuahua Chili and Cornbread
28. Black Bean and Cheese Enchiladas, Mexican Rice, Salad
29. FishPapa’s Birthday! Grilled Fish, Rice Pilaf, Green Salad, Whole Grain Bread
30. Shredded Beef Tacos, Beans and Mexican Rice
31. Pizza and Salad

***Have you joined the Eat-from-the-Pantry Challenge? Almost 800 people have signed up on our Facebook event page and we’ve even gone international – cooks in at least three countries are participating: US, Canada, and France! Pop over to Money Saving Mom tomorrow morning to link up your progress reports.***

What are you cooking up this week? Do you have a meal plan? If not, how come?

For more meal planning inspiration, visit I’m an Organizing Junkie every Monday.

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  1. Wow, Jessica! The new blog design looks great. Very snazzy!

  2. Aren’t the grapefruits bitter? I’ll have to check them out.

  3. I LOVE your new look! Make me want to re-do my blog:) Maybe once I learn a little more at Blissdom I’ll go for it.

    In the mean time I’m happy for you and your lovely renovation!

  4. Wowza! I haven’t graduated to planning my menu a month in advance. Right now it’s every two weeks. You menu looks great! Thanks for sharing :)

  5. I tried writing the menu on the calendar like youngest daughter’s family.I’ve tried doing a weekly menu listed on the wall(magnets don’t stick to frig and I don’t tape to it)…sigh but still eating from pantry

  6. Living out of the pantry sure requires some creativity in the cooking department:-)

  7. Wow…look how nice and organized you are :) I can usually only get about 2 weeks out because I start changing my mind too much!

    I’ve been eating a lot of grapefruit too….it’s great with spinach and a light citrus vinaigrette. Yum!

  8. Love the new look! Looks so clean and simple. Like it lots.

    Menu looks great. I posted my 2 week menu today too.
    http://3blondesandthelaw.blogspot.com/2010/01/menu-plan-jan-10-23.html

    I made your pizza dough yesterday and we’ll be having it tonight. I wrapped it and put it in the fridge. I’m hoping that allowing it to warm to room temp before rolling it out will work just fine.

    I hope to try your Chihuahua Chili soon. I’ve never seen Chihuahua beer here (I assume it must be local to CA?); any recommendations for substitutions? What kind of a beer is it – wheat, light, amber, etc?

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      It’s a Mexican beer, but I have no idea what other category it fits in. Corona would be fine or whatever you like.

  9. P.S. What’s the Greek inspired pita meal? The link sent me to your a post from last week about the failed scones….

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I described that night’s dinner in the post as well. We ended ate the London Broil with the Pitas. I was waiting to write up the recipes. Sorry for the confusion!

  10. My daughter LOVES grapefruit. We were really surprised. Just to make it more “fun” and a little more sweet, we sprinkle a little colored sugar on top. She loves to sprinkle it herself. She’s 3.

  11. Awesome new look!!

    Check me out for our week 1 pantry challenge results and what’s for dinner this week!!

  12. We’ve got a grapefruit tree in our backyard and it’s been so cold here that we thought they might freeze on the tree. We’ve picked most of them and loved having them. We have such a bounty that we took a 5-gallon bucket full to work to give away!

  13. Sounds like a yummy menu!! Thanks for sharing!!

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  1. [...] lately, you might have seen that there is an Eat From The Pantry Challenge going on hosted by Life As Mom and Money Saving Mom. Several bloggers and non-bloggers alike have committed to eat as much from [...]

Thanks so much for participating in this conversation about "a mom's life."

This is a place where moms can be themselves. Remember that each mother's path looks a little different. Please keep your comments respectful and kind. Reasonable minds will disagree in a nice way.

So let's talk about it, using "our big girl words."

Share Your Thoughts

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