We've been preparing over the past week to attempt this year's All*You Grocery Challenge. Now, we're not trying to "cheat" by stocking up a month's worth of groceries so we can easily stay under budget, rather we've been inventorying what we have in our pantry and freezer. We've gotten lazy about our grocery spending and sometimes those impulse purchases don't get used the way we thought they might.
I'm hoping that our little garden grows and lots of fresh produce comes springing up - we've planted all sorts of veggies and I'd like to start canning this year. Last year I learned how to make freezer jams, this year I want to learn to preserve salsas, tomatoes and other fun things. We need space to do this and we don't need to hang on to a lot of food we aren't going to replace once we eat it.
So, over the next four weeks, we'll be following these rules:
- We have exactly $50 to spend on enough food for the two of us each week.
- Dining out has to come out of the budget, so we have to be careful unless someone else is paying.
- We're allowed to eat out of our pantry and garden for "free".
- We don't include household items or pet food in our grocery budget.
- We can't "carry over" unused funds from one week to the next.
We don't eat out often, about once or twice a week. But I'm concerned about keeping under budget and still being able to grab a bite before shopping at Winco each week. (Never grocery shop while hungry.) There's options though - from coupons to packing a lunch for the park to inexpensive taco trucks, so we'll see.
- come in under or at budget each week,
- continue to eat healthy meals with little reliance on processed foods,
- eat through the excess in our pantry, and
- do it all creatively.
I hope it'll be fun! And I hope we are able to succeed. We don't have the easy access to double/triple coupon days, catalina/register rewards stores or discount groceries that many others do. If we don't succeed, well, at least we'll have gotten through a goodly amount of leftover pantry items that have been gathering dust!