Good morning and happy Monday!
Remember last November…when I had the insane idea to challenge give myself only $100 to spend the entire month on groceries for my family of four? It was hard. Really, really hard. And I didn’t exactly succeed. Thanksgiving sort of threw my budget for a bit of a loop, but I still stayed real close to the goal. You can read about the budget here and here. I picked the month of October to try the challenge again and there are factors that are in my favor, and out of my favor.
I am taking the kids to Florida for my sister’s Bridal Shower weekend so we won’t be home eating groceries those days. That being said, Mike will still be home and I do usually pack lots of food for our trips to avoid eating out while we travel. Also, I will need to stock up on candy for Halloween at the end of the month but I am hoping to get a good deal between store sales and coupons.
Its funny when I tell people what I am doing the first thing most people say is “how is that possible?” Here’s how.
- My usually shopping routine consists of shopping the store flyers and matching coupons with the deals to maximize the savings. So when there is a sale on black beans and they are really cheap, I will stock up. Basically that means at any given time I have a surplus of the items I know my family eats fairly often. By stocking up when it’s on sale I don’t ever have to pay full price. For example: Juliana and Joey eat a bowl of cheerios every morning before school. That’s at least 10 bowls a week or about 1 box. So when the boxes go on sale I can buy 12 and know that for the next 3 months I won’t need to worry about cereal. Also, I make sure I know my families usage and make sure I will stay within the expiration dates.
- The way the challenge works is that I will save at the grocery store by not buying stock up items. Instead I will use up what we have. Have you ever gone to the store and found a new item on sale that you hadn’t tried yet, but then never found anything to do with it so it’s still sitting on the pantry shelf? This month I will find a way to use all those items. Navy beans, I’m looking at you.
- I often stock up on meat at Sprouts farmer’s market when the chicken is $1.88/lb. And when I say stock up I mean I buy a lot of it. And this month instead of buying more we will clear out the freezer and eat what’s in there. All the items I’ve been stocking up on.
- A key factor to the challenge is not to let anything go to waste. In fact, I had bananas getting very brown on my counter this morning and instead of letting them go to waste I made some banana bread. That banana bread is going to school with my kids this week for snack time, instead of sending pretzels or whatever other item. So we turned something that was going to be wasted into something that will be used.
- Same thing with vegetables that are near the end of their time. I will just chop them all up and spray olive oil and seasonings and roast them. That will give the semi-wilted produce some new life and we will eat those as our side dishes for dinner.
The challenge is definitely a challenge. Last time we ate lots of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and had breakfast for dinner a number of times. But we survived. And saved over $250 that month by doing so.
I’ve already been to the grocery store to get milk and eggs, and I need to run in tomorrow because goldfish are on sale. I know, I know. I’m not supposed to be stocking up, but go figure our goldfish supply is near empty. So I will have to figure some into the budget. I will post the recipe for banana bread tomorrow, trust me you want it! I hope you save some poor bananas and make it, because it really is yummy. I’ll also be posting updates and my shopping list just like last time.
I’d love for you to join me in the challenge! You can start whenever you’d like and just go for 4 weeks. I’ll hopefully have lots of tips and recipes and maybe you’ll be able to teach me a thing or 2.
Hope you had a fantastic weekend!