Tuesday, October 4, 2011

$400 for the month of October grocery challenge

I haven't participated in any sort of blog-land challenge in all honesty, just writing here, given my busyness and sleep deprivedness these days is quite a challenge.

But I've been thinking along these lines already. Between maternity leave for me (unpaid, since I'm self-employed) and work slow down for Patrick (also self employed, it comes with the territory), it's a good time to tighten up the budget.

So we're joining Heather, at one of my favorite blogs, Beauty that Moves, for her October Grocery challenge.

$400 Grocery Challenge

You can participate or follow Heather's and other's progress by clicking the button above. 

I would say that, on average, we spend close to twice that amount, which seems crazy to me when I think of it. I can remember the days, back in San Diego (food was cheaper there, then, not sure anymore), when we could easily get by on about $200 or so. But we were a family of two working adults, and we worked in hotels (me in banquets and spas, him on the conference circuit) where food was readily available to us on the job. I never thought to calculate how much we saved in not buying food, but I would guess that eating for free at work easily cut our grocery bill in half or more.

But I digress (as a so often do). Now, we're a family of four...2 adults, a 7 year old, and an infant who doesn't eat food yet, but whose breast feeding mama eats like a horse these days....

We buy local foods as much as possible, whole foods as much as possible, and organic as much as possible, and we cook from scratch. We also try to buy in season as much as possible, but I find myself cringing and caving to the picky eating habits of my 7 year old daughter and buying things like pre-made snack foods (which, when you buy the healthier varieties,cost even more) and strawberries out of season and the like.

Also, Patrick is on a low yeast diet, which requires a considerable amount of meat, also pricey.

So this will be a challenge, but not, I think, impossible. My strategy, such as it it, is as follows:

- Better menu planning...this has gotten pretty loosey goosey lately, and I know we spend less when I have a plan. 

- Utilizing CSA veggies and gifts from my parent's garden in the menu plan, especially items from the "take as much as you can use" area.  We've been good about this, but, I think, with a bit more planning, could be better. I have a nice bag of summer squash calling for creative use.

- Pulling modestly from what's on hand....don't want to drain the pantry or freezer, per say, but taking a look at what's there and what's been sitting could be helpful.

- Making a few more things from scratch...especially snack foods. Helena bores easily of whatever we get too often, so mixing it up could be fun and cost effective....this could also be challenging, given how full my plate is, so we'll see how it goes....

I'll keep you posted, hopefully with weekly updates...

Care to join in?


rosaria said...

Ah, a challenge for most people these days, to eat healthy on a tight budget. Soups are good.
Casseroles are good.
My go place to keep down expenses is always to cook in quantity, and freeze up the left overs.
You do have a big challenge with your husband's dietary needs.
Good luck.

Jane said...

My husband and I realized that one of our biggest expenses is food..eating out, groceries, etc. We have 2 teenagers now who eat us out of house and home. We're also looking for a house and understand that we have to cut back in our food area. It's hard but you've inspired me :)