New Year Goal: Trim the Grocery Budget!


Well now that the wedding is behind me I am on to thinking about my new year goals.  One big goal is to cut the grocery budget.  I still have 5 children at home and with the rising cost of food I am really refocusing on how to save money on groceries.  I am not implanting anything new here..  just a major refocus.  It is so easy to get distracted by the things of life and end up buying more than I would like, or buying foods that are marginally healthy but still expensive.  In order for me to save money I trade my time..  I think it is a worthwhile trade!  LOL..  hubby trades his time for money and I in turn trade my time to be a good steward of that money.   

So what are my plans?  They included utilizing healthy, low cost basic food items to create some yummy and delicious meals!   

Here is what I served for dinner last night and cost breakdown for the meal.  I need to update all the prices of my basic ingredients since I did this last.  When I updated the cost of my pinto beans I was shocked to see that I was paying $7.39 for a 25# bag in 2005 and now Azure Standard is charging $19.85 for a 25# bag!  I have updated the costs of last nights dinner for this calculation.   

Pinto Bean and Sausage Soup (recipe below)
Cornbread (I made a 9x13 pan, the recipe I linked to is for making an 9 inch pan. I doubled this recipe)

Total cost for this meal was approx. $7.75 

Here is a quick breakdown (this is for 7 people (4 adults, 2 teenagers and 1- 11yr old): 

Soup Costs
Pinto beans $1.28
1lb sausage $2.00
Rounded costs: $3.75 ( I rounded up to include cost of onion and seasonings) 

Whole wheat pastry flour: .45
Cornmeal: .28
Milk: .46
Olive oil: .80 

Rounded Costs ($1.99 as listed above, I added extra for the remaining ingredients) $2.50 

Salad Costs:
Salad is hard to break down..  so I am estimating $1.50 .. the price varies depending on what you put into a salad.  In the winter the least expensive veggies are cabbage and carrots.  I like to use romaine lettuce with chopped read cabbage and grated carrots.  The salad is nutritious, inexpensive and looks pretty!    I make my own salad dressings to cut costs.  I will be working up a price breakdown for those soon.   

I have soup leftover to feed for lunch today and will serve that with oranges and homemade bread.   

Pinto Bean and Sausage Soup
4 cups dry pinto beans
16 cups water
4t salt
1lb sausage (such as “Jimmy Dean” brand)
1 onion chopped
salt and pepper to taste
A few dashes of Tabasco for anyone wanting a little zip to the soup 

Early in the day begin cooking beans.  Combine the pinto beans, water and salt.  Bring to a boil, slowly reduce heat over 5 minutes.  Put lid on and reduce heat all the way to low.  This process helps prevent the beans from boiling over after you put the lid on.  Simmer the beans for 2 ½ hours or until nice and soft. 

When the beans are almost done cook the sausage and chopped onion in a frying pan until the sausage is no longer pink and the onions are soft.   

Drain some of the water out of the beans.  Add the cooked sausage and if needed you can add back in some of the water to get the soup consistency you desire.  I always add about ½ teaspoon pepper.  Taste and add more salt, if needed, to suit your taste.  Add a few dashes of Tabasco for a little zing..   


I will be posting more menu ideas and cost breakdowns as I work on this for my grocery budget.


  1. Thanks for sharing all that you do with us, Crystal. It is always much appreciated, and I try to pass your wisdom on to others by reposting your link on my HEARTH AND HOME. In this post you mentioned sausage. I don't know if you like ground turkey (I only buy the 93/7), but it's healthier and cheaper than regular burger or sausage and I use it for everything...including making my own turkey sausage, meatballs, Italian sausage, meatloaf, etc. out of it. It's just a thought. God bless you, dear friend!


  2. Thank you for the recipe ! I simply must try this one.


  3. Enjoyed your post. Decided it was time to order the bean e-cookbook. Looks good. Thanks for your work that saves me work! ~Liz

  4. My daughter is on a pinto bean kick these days. Im sure she will love this recipe. Thanks.........Kitty

  5. Crystal, My husband and two older boys are deer hunters so thankfully this year my freezer is full of deer meat. We have the steaks, hamburger meat, and some sausage at no cost to us. I use the deer meat for everything. One favorite---beans and deer steak from the crockpot. First thing in the morning, I cook the beans on top of the stove until somewhat tender then I pour them in the crockpot and chop the deer steak up in it. I do not precook the deer meat. Then, they simmer until supper that night. The only thing I do at night is fix hot water cornbread. Low cost and EASY!!!


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