Saturday, February 28, 2015

March Grocery Challenge

Instead of making New Year's resolutions like everyone else, I seem to always challenge myself in March instead.  Last year I picked several items such as drinking a glass of water every morning and parking in the back of the parking lot at work to do every day for a month.  This year I had already mapped out an exercise and food challenge but then I got a better idea.

Now that I don't have to spend all my spare time studying, I seem to have a lot of extra time. Through February I used most of that time to declutter our house.  When I first mentioned this, Bill and Kayleigh looked at me like I was crazy because they didn't think there was anything left I could get rid of.  But there was!!  I cleaned every room, closet, and drawer upstairs.  The basement still hasn't been touched - maybe next year!  But during this process I realized that we really have a crazy amount of food.

I have two big pantries in the kitchen and 3 other cabinets and a drawer that we keep food in.  We also have the refrigerator/freezer as well as a separate freezer downstairs.  All of these are packed full but somehow that wasn't enough space so I took over the closet in one of the spare bedrooms as well.  Is this really necessary?

So, to help us get through some of this food as well as to save us some money (college is creeping up quicker than we'd like) I came up with the idea of not grocery shopping for a month, kind of.  We are used to eating a lot of fresh vegetables and we each have specific foods we rely on that I didn't want to eliminate.  It was meant to cut back our stash, not make us miserable and unhealthy.  So I decided that we would have a $100 grocery trip to get enough of some items that we use all the time for the month.  We weren't allowed to stock up on random things though.  Although Bill and Kayleigh both readily agreed to this challenge, I didn't feel it was fair to make Kayleigh change her lunches.  Every day she takes the same lunch (warning - it is pictured below and will make all vegans scream in horror - I've learned to just not think about it!).  Plus we can't live without any fresh vegetables for a month.  So each week we can spend up to $20 for her lunch items and 2-3 fresh produce items.  If there is enough money we can also use this for bread items depending on what is planned for the week.

Earlier this week I planned out a month worth of meals and the grocery list for the beginning of the month.  Today we went to Sam's Club, Aldi and Meijer.  Here are our results:

5 bunches of bananas that will be frozen once they ripen for my breakfast smoothie, 2 bags of flour tortillas, 2 2-pound bags of carrots, 1 bag tostada shells, and a 5-pound bag of Cuties.

5 boxes of hard shell taco shells, 4 soy milks, 3 almond milks, lasagna noodles, jumbo pasta shells.

15 pounds of baking potatoes, 10 pounds onions, 5 oz baby arugula, 2 8-oz bags of baby spinach, 1 pound baby spinach, 1 pound kale medley (all greens are frozen for my smoothies), 1 head iceberg lettuce,

2 loaves wheat bread, 2 baguettes, 2 pounds garlic (there were 21 bulbs in there!).

For Bill - granola bars that he eats for breakfast and iceberg salad.

And here is Kayleigh's horror of a lunch:

Brioche buns, yogurt (from a cow) and (yes, that is a deli bag) ham, What can you do?

Those are Kayleigh's favorite buns and they don't always have them so we bought one bag for this week and one bag to freeze.

Our total spent was:

Aldi                 $20.23
Sam's Club      $48.54
Meijer              $35.46

TOTAL           $104.23

Not bad.  If we hadn't got the second bag of buns we would have been good but that is money we will not have to spend another week.  I was hoping Sam's would have big bags of greens but they didn't.  They did have all that garlic, though, that wasn't on my original list.

So we are off to a good start.  We'll see how this goes!