$100-$120 a week grocery challenge

I have decided to take a grocery challenge. We need to start cutting down on expenses and I figured that the best way for me to see if there’s any room to lower our grocery budget is to set it up as a challenge. This challenge would essentially drop our budget by about $200. Our budget is around $630 a month and is consistent with what a family of 4 would receive on SNAP.

Many people have this horrible view about food stamps. It was never meant to be a sole source of income for food, but many people can only afford what they receive from SNAP for their food. I grew up being raised by a single mother, until my mother married my Navy (step) dad. We were on government assistance and would not have survived without it. I am the oldest of four siblings and I am the only one that can remember eating cheap hamburger helper or tomato sandwiches. As we got older some of those dishes became nostalgic and others we simply won’t touch. I despise hamburger helper.
I think that many people assume that if you got rid of food stamps then we would save money. I think all you are doing is contributing to the many hungry children in America.
There’s an obsession with food trends going on. Paleo, Atkins, Vegan, etc.  I read a very nice article that touches on that subject. http://www.ravishly.com/2016/03/31/check-your-food-privilege  This if from Our Stable Table, which is a blog that I love.

 

To start off I’m going to have to shred some of my insecurities and share with you what our 1st of the month budget looks like. Remember this a budget and not all of it is usually spent. After that I will go into detail about our family’s food preferences and any special diets.  I will share our 15th budget when it is at that time.

Category           Budgeted Amount         notes

Rent                                1100
Credit                              200
VZW                               170
USAA                              70
Groceries                       315
Gas                                  50
Work                              50
Cigarettes                   60
Shopping                       164             ATM
Fees/Lunches/misc     250
subscribesave               35

Total 2464
Unbudgeted amount      0

This payday pretty much all of our misc. money will be going to repairing our car. 😦

 

Family:

Husband: Army soldier, barely makes the weight limit for the Army, very picky, eats mostly meats, seafood, grains, carbs. He is trying to eat healthier but at this point he is just eating raw carrots smothered in ranch and I try to make him some salads. He is addicted to smoking and energy drinks. A good chunk of our budget would be lowered if that was cut out.

J2- 6 years old, ADHD/SPD, in feeding therapy, very selective eater, prefers a lot of bland type foods like raw carrots, cucumbers, crackers, cheese and then on the other spectrum high flavor/salty like pepperoni, chips, deli meats and of course sweets. My current therapy approach outside of his FT is “eat it or go to bed because we are on a budget and I’m not your therapist.”

Clark- 2 years old, G-tube, GERD, delayed emptying, hypotonia, milk allergy. Very good eater with things that he can chew. Needs high calorie. Current favorites are: puffs, broccoli, asparagus, tuna, chicken, anything that resembles a fry, rice, strawberries, potstickers, beans, roasted beets…he just eats whatever I put in front of him if it’s dairy free.

Me- Adult FTT, Gerd.  I’m trying to eat better, maybe more produce and less meat. Needs high calorie.

 

So I can already say that for this week I am over budget.

I went to Aldi first and got the majority of what I needed for $56.88.

 

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I don’t think the whole chicken was pictured. So from Aldi it was mostly produce, almond milk, bread, tortillas, canned beans, canned tomatoes, olive oil, fruit cups, quinoa, whole chicken, natural bacon, honey,  baking goods like baking soda, powder and yeast.

Then I went to Harris Teeter and spent $89.55. Some of the stuff from HT isn’t just for this week. I saw no point in getting just one cinnamon roll when they were 3/$5 and we eat one almost once a week. The chicken tenders were BOGO as well as the vanilla wafers. The Annie’s snacks were 2/$4. The nitrate free pepperoni was 2/$7. I know that if you are truly trying to buy cheap you go for the store brand. Seeing as how J2 eats a ton of pepperoni I was trying to get him something a little healthier.  The Asian sauces will be used in many recipes. The produce I got from HT was sweet peppers, clementines, cucumbers, and potatoes.

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Ignore the puffs on my table. They are everywhere.

I forgot apples, strawberries and a dairy free dressing. So I had to run to Kroger to get those things.

My *plan* for this week is as followed:

Friday
B: eggs, toast, fruit or veggie  (It was sautéed peppers and mushrooms)
L: leftovers
D: hamburger/Salisbury patties ( I premade them and put them in freezer), mashed potatoes with gravy, the rest of a package of frozen broccoli

Saturday:

B: cinnamon rolls, clementine
L: soba noodles, potstickers, make up a bath of rice for the week
D: blackened chicken pasta, zucchini   Note: This was supposed to be shrimp like the recipe, but the shrimp was too expensive. I didn’t realize we would be having chicken three times in a row.

Sunday
B: carrot apple bread
L: any leftovers, if none then sandwiches
D: chicken and veggie lo mein, rolls  EDIT: I changed the soup to lo mein because it was something that I wanted to try and was not necessary. Since it’s Sunday I try to make something that the majority will eat or a BIG family dinner.

Monday

B: overnight oats, toast, banana (not everyone will be eating the same thing)
L: carrot bread, leftover soup -pack J2 lunch with carrot bread and items that he eats
D: crockpot whole chicken, zucchini tots, steamed carrots, fruit

Tuesday:

B: waffles-not sure if they will be frozen or homemade ( I think we have maybe 3 frozen waffles left)
L: go veggie grilled cheese, leftover tots, berries, peppers
D: Buddha bowl for Clark and I, leftovers for the Joshua’s

Wednesday

B: eggs, avocado (j2 will probably want nutella toast)
L: PB and J, leftover chickpeas, carrots with DF lemon tahini dressing
D: spaghetti with roasted tomatoes, bread, salad

Thursday
B: home made muffins, fruit
L: leftover spaghetti, fruit and vanilla wafers for a treat
D: split pea bacon soup, cornbread (leftovers or sandwich for all opposed)

Friday
B: grits, toast, smoothie
L: leftovers, fruit, carrots crackers
D: homemade pizza, broccoli tots and fried potatoes

Meal plan for next week on Friday

Snacks that were bought or already available:
In the snack drawer in the fridge:
cut up cucumbers
strawberries
baby carrots
String cheese
cheese crackers
blueberries
nitrate free pepperoni
applesauce squeeze
plus there are peppers, broccoli, and clementines,

pantry:
fruit gummy snacks
portioned out vanilla wafers, triscuits, Annie’s cheese crackers (not for Clark), wheat crackers
trail mix
puffs
fruit cups
popcorn

Drinks:
Sweet tea  (I’m slowly trying to cut down. Right now it is decaffeinated and sweetened with cane sugar.)
Water, Flavored water
Almond Milk
(About to make lemonade)
Chai tea concentrate
different types of tea for me 🙂
I forgot to buy juice for the lunchbox

 

My husband just got home from being in GA for a board. He is already viciously complaining about the lack of easy access food. I didn’t buy any more lunch meat so there is only ham. I did not buy him Ramen and I was unaware that there was no more Ranch dressing.  I told him about our budget. He pretty much told me that he didn’t care and that he was going to get him some food. So he went to Wendy’s.   ><

So Day 1 has consisted of prepping some things like strawberries, salad and making breakfast popsicles for maybe next week. It’s pretty much a smoothie that is frozen in pop molds.
I didn’t buy hardly any meat. I bought a whole chicken, bacon and pepperoni. I am using up what I have in my freezer.
I will try to post again soon with an update.

 

 

 

 

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