Wednesday, September 2, 2009

$75 Challenge

I was looking up one thing and just kept clicking links until I ended up here. As I was reading through the blog, I found the $75 Challenge. I was game. I enjoy things like that, the things that bore my hubby to tears to discuss or make my children roll their eyes. I am just waiting until they end up just like me.

A challenge ... hmmm. I like a good challenge especially one involving saving money. Hubby likes saving money too even more when I manage to do it although he claims that I spend money to save money. So back to the challenge and setting my rules for myself...

We are a family of 10 (two adults and 8 children ranging in age from almost two to 17 years old). There are some dietary concerns as the youngest is allergic to dairy, eggs and red dye. The 17 year old (our exchange student) is allergic to chocolate as well as a vegetarian. Food costs alone run about $150 a week not including the raw milk we get from a dairy and our SHARE Foods units we buy once a month. Those two things will run $90-$110 a month. I also participate in a farm co-op where I get fresh produce bi-weekly. I already paid for that back in April. With that as my guideline and basis, I have decided on taking the challenge name at face value. My goal is $75 a week spent on groceries. Of course, I am always free to spend less as I am sure hubby would like to remind me.

I started off the week with good intentions. I made a menu for the family, and one where they would not ask if I was cutting back on the budget. (I started on Tuesday as that was the beginning of the month for the challenge.) Weekday lunches are just leftovers or sandwiches as it is just Eric and I at home now school is in session. Available Snacks are ones that I always keep on hand. They include pretzels, animal crackers, fruit, microwave popcorn and leftovers from breakfast/previous snacks (if any).

Tuesday (1st)
Breaskfast: Berry Crumb Bars, Hot Chocolate
Snack: Available Snacks
Dinner: Ziploc Chicken, Fried Potatoes, Baked Beans, Watermelon, Broccoli (had company for dinner)

Wednesday (2nd)
Breakfast: French Toast, Scrambled Eggs with Ham, Bananas, Juice
Snack: Trail Mix
Dinner: Leftovers

Thursday (3rd)
Breakfast: Cinnamon-Raisin Bread, Fruit, Milk/Hot Cocoa
Snack: Cheese Nachos
Dinner: Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli, Peaches

Friday (4th)
Breakfast: Breakfast Burritos, Fruit, Juice/Milk
Snack: Rice Krispie Treats
Dinner: Crockpot Chicken Enchiladas, Spanish Rice, Refried Beans, Fresh Fruit

Saturday (5th)
Breakfast: Pancakes, Sausage, Juice/Milk
Snacks: Available Snacks
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Homemade Pizza, Ceasar Salad, Breadsticks

Sunday (6th)
Breakfast: Cold Cereal/Granola
Snacks: Available Snacks
Dinner: Grilled Cheese, Tomato Soup, Fresh Fruit and Veggie Tray

So there is the menu for the week. I made my grocery list and did the shopping. How did I fare?

What I bought:
5 dozen eggs - $5.78
Half gallon soy milk (2) - $5.52
Baked Beans (2) - $ 2.44
Tomato Soup (4) - $ 2.40
Mandarin Oranges (15 oz)- $ .72
Roasted Peanuts (16 oz) - $2.68
Canola Oil (3 qt) - $2.84
Raisins (25 oz) - $2.58
Cashews (16 oz) - $4.48
Cheddar Cheese Soup (2) - $2.88
Orange Juice Concentrate (2) - $2.36
Cinnamon - $ .50
Vegetable Broth (5) - $5.00
Pineapple Chunks (20 oz)- $1.08
Cheddar Cheese (2 lb) - $5.98
Broccoli Cuts (1 lb) - $1.87
Apple Juice Concentrate (2) - $2.26
Apple-Cherry Juice Concentrate (2) -$2.54
Wheat Gluten - $1.84
Bananas (5 lbs) - $2.93
Generic Cheerios - $1.84
Generic Honey-Nut Cheerios - $1.98
Generic Rice Krispies - $2.34
Regular M&Ms (19 oz) - $3.98
Peanut M&Ms (19 oz) - $3.98
Tortilla Chips (2) - $4.00
Romaine Lettuce (2 heads) - $3.00
Miniature Marshmallows - $ .92
Total (with tax added): $81.51

I had to make a run to a second store for forgotten tomato paste. I bought 4 12-oz cans for a total of $4.40. That brings the total grocery bill to $85.91.

I have a garden and freezer full of meat (bought a side of beef a couple of months ago). My pantry shelves are kind of sparce of canned goods although I have plenty of spices and herbs as well as the basics like flour, pasta, rice and beans. That is why you will not see certain items plus with what I get at the co-op and SHARE in conjunction with my garden.
The tomato paste was to make pizza sauce (with tomatoes from my garden) for Saturday with extra pints canned for a later). The trail mix recipe makes enough to store half for next week. The eggs and cheese will last into next week. Those items were the higher cost items on my list so I don't expect my grocery to be as high next week. So yes, I spent more than $75 this week, but I am hoping it will average out.

Tomorrow I will post some of the recipes for my menu items ...


Owlhaven said...

Looks good! We have some food allergies in our family too....
milk, eggs, red dye One of mine breaks out in a rash from tomato paste-- :)


Anonymous said...

Good Luck in the challenge! It's gonna be tough but here's hoping all of us challengers can do it!