Well, here we are…week 4 on my quest to save $500 for a month by only spending $80 for groceries for the past 30 days for my family of 7 plus 4 dogs. In case you forgot, as I mentioned in my Penny Pinching June article, we have a decent sized walk in pantry, a chest freezer, a refrigerator in the kitchen and a refrigerator in the garage (used for mostly defrosting food or overflow of milk, eggs and other items) so prior to this experiment we had a decent stock pile of meat, dry goods and bread the only thing I was needing to purchase for the past month was items like milk, dairy and produce as these all have a short shelf life.
So how did I do this week with only $16.50 left of my $80 cash budget?
I can tell you, we put a really good dent in our food stockpile over the past month and we are down to our last loaf of bread, but we still have enough to probably use this method for another week or so, however, my family has been getting a little antsy when it comes to their guilty pleasures, things like ice cream, cookies, chips and soda, basically, all those treats they are used to having during the summer.
Now I admit, I do indulge my family on these items some of the time. We do not have these things on a regular basis in our home. In order for me to save money regularly, we don’t always have said treats and junk food. I usually make one or two baked goods for the week (a batch of cookies or a cake), things like chips and soda usually make an appearance in our house if we are having a cookout or the rest of the family comes over and although we eat our fair share of ice cream during the summer, I have noticed that generally by the 4th of July, the family starts getting burned out on it and by mid-August, I am discarding these now freezer burned treats.
2 gallons of milk
10 pounds of potatoes
1 package of cheese slices
1 jar peanut butter
For a grand total of $14.44. YAY!!! I actually came in under budget with $2.06 left to spare!
So what did we eat for this week?
Monday: Slow cooker, smothered chicken queso over rice.
Tuesday: Grilled hot Italian sausages and pierogies.
Wednesday: BBQ chicken on the grill/foil packet veggies (onion; summer squash & mushrooms)/garlic bread.
Thursday: Fresh slow cooker pinto beans/quesadillas.
Friday: Caprese salad pasta tossed with whatever was leftover of the sausages and chicken.
Saturday: Basil mac and cheese/fried chicken (that I forgot we had and was found in our chest freezer).
Sunday: Grilled steak/baked beans/simple salad with cucumbers and tomatoes.
Looking back, I am thankful it was a successful experiment and I was actually able to save my family the $500, if not more for the month. This was a challenge though, not going to lie about it, I probably would have had an easier go of it, if my meal planning was not as vast as it was and we ate things like beans and rice every Sunday or homemade pizza every Friday, but like I said previously, we like variety and it was nice to know that I was able to accomplish that with my stockpile and pantry offerings, sprinkled in with some fresh perishables.
As previously mentioned, I will probably institute these kinds of penny pinching months at least twice a year into our savings plan and depending on what kind of deals I can gather during the regular months, and probably to the dismay of family, maybe, eventually make this a quarterly event. I will keep you updated.