Grocery Budgeting – Week One
Budgeting weekly groceries can be challenging. When my food blogging friend, Patti Cake, asked if I wanted to join her in a $25-per-week food budgeting adventure, I said, “There’s no way.” Groceries are expensive, especially meat. Add a gallon of milk and good-quality bread to that meat, and you’ve about reached $25. Saving money on groceries, though, could mean paying off debts and taking care of other needs. I agreed to take on the challenge.
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Patti Cake from Patty Cake’s Pantry was inspired by Amanda from The Fundamental Home who said she feeds her family of 5 for $100 a month. If you want to save money on your monthly grocery spending, read Amanda’s five-part series on the topic.
Reading Amanda’s blog reminded me of the stories my dad told my brothers and me the Great Depression. My dad’s family farmed, and my grandmother was very resourceful. Daddy recalled always having biscuits and usually ham for breakfast. He said they never went without food and his mother often helped others who weren’t as fortunate.
We’ve come a long way from the Great Depression to the twenty-first century, yet families are still having to budget their food. Why are foods that are good for you so expensive, like organic, gluten-free, fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean meats? It’s because of supply and demand. There are more people in America demanding unhealthy food versus healthy food.
Since my grandmother could be so resourceful during the Great Depression, Amanda can feed five people for $100 a month, and Patti Cake has challenged me, I know I can feed two people for $25 a week. At first, it didn’t seem doable because I prefer healthy foods like 93% (or better) beef and whole-grain bread.
My husband is a professional over-the-road semi truck driver, and he and I like to grill a lot of times when he is home. I’ll stock up on steak, hamburger, and/or chicken – whatever is on sale usually. We grill a lot so that it lasts us all week. He takes some with him for the truck, and I keep the rest for me at home. But that wouldn’t always be possible on the $25-per-week budget.
This challenge certainly is requiring a bit of effort to do things differently. For example, my husband may at times go grocery shopping when he is on the road. This food budget challenge will be determined by what I purchase for the house, including pantry items I pick up for my husband’s truck menus. The exception will, most likely, be fresh meat since he doesn’t have a freezer to keep it frozen.
Freezer, Fridge, and Pantry Inventory
The first thing I did was to do freezer, fridge, and pantry inventory. The stock was low in all three, and I wondered how this was going to work. Nonetheless, seeing the half-full packages of navy beans and brown rice reminded me that I can live on that for a week. I was determined to make this work.
Check out my inventory lists below. I’ve included the quantity to give you an idea of how long the inventory would last. You can see that I drink Shakeology (once daily). It helps me to keep fit and helps to cut sugar cravings (because I LOVE sweets!). I also eat three-five fruit and vegetable servings per day. Therefore, the number of fruits and vegetables isn’t enough to last many days, and there is NO meat. Well, I take that back – hot dogs, not the healthiest food item.
- Sausage (5 patties)
- Strawberries (enough for 14 Shakeology servings)
- Banana slices (enough for 2 Shakeology servings)
- Hot dogs (1 package – it will last me at least a week)
- Fruits (enough for 2 days)
- Yellow squash (1)
- Eggplant (4 small)
- Cucumber (1)
- Cilantro (1 bunch)
- Basil (1 bunch)
- Hot dogs (2)
- Greek yogurt (past the date to purchase)
- Pickled beets (1 serving)
- Eggs (12)
- Milk (1/2 qt.)
- Almond milk (half gal.)
- Dubliner cheese (3 servings left)
- Creamer (enough for a month or more)
- Bread (5 slices)
- Salad dressings (1 full bottle and some in another)
- Shakeology (enough for a month)
- Coffee (1 nearly-full bag)
- Flour (1 bag)
- Oatmeal (1 box)
- Corn starch (1 box)
- Baking Powder (1 box)
- Tea, herb (2 boxes)
- Honey (2 bottles nearly empty)
- Brown sugar (1 bag)
- Baking soda (1 box)
- Pancake mix (1 box)
- Pasta (2 bags)
- Tahini (probably needs to be thrown out)
- Puddings (5 boxes)
- Corn (1 can)
- Evaporated milk (1 can)
- Diced tomatoes & green chiles (1 can)
- Chestnuts (1 can)
- Pimentos (1 jar)
- Protein bars (5)
- Tortilla chips (3 servings)
- Brown rice (enough for a month)
- Navy beans (enough for another week or two)
- Peanut butter (enough for two weeks)
- Pecans (enough for another week)
Since I love breakfast at any time of the day, the twelve eggs, bread, and five sausage patties would provide at least five meals. I forgot I had pancake mix!
I enjoy eggs and veggies for breakfast – a good way to encourage your family to eat more vegetables. My new summer cookbook (recipes can be used all year), Simple Summer Recipes, includes many of the recipes I have created in my own kitchen. There are other cookbooks with money-saving recipes like Budget Bytes by a college grad that found herself broke.
You can surprise yourself when taking inventory in the kitchen. There were enough vegetables and fruits in my inventory for two or three days. The Shakeology shakes take care of one meal per day. The food in the freezer, fridge, and pantry was inventoried, and I made my grocery list which I will share next time along with menus. I think there’s enough in my inventory to eat for two weeks – maybe not full-balanced healthy meals, but I wouldn’t starve.
Join the $25 Per Week Food Challenge
Visit Patti Cake at Patty Cakes Pantry to see how she’s doing with the $25-per-week food budgeting challenge. Between Patti Cake, Amanda, and me, you may want to join us for the challenge to save money for your family. If you do, let us know. Food budgeting together as a team will be inspiring and increase creativity.