Monday, January 31, 2011

January Pantry Challenge Wrap...I Can Explain

For the sake of "keeping it real" here, I thought I'd just quickly post about the second half of my grocery challenge for this month. On January 17th, I had about $10 left to work with. Later that week a friend alerted me to a big grain order that needed to be placed that week. Since I haven't been able to find a good source for grain locally, I jumped at the chance to be part of this order at a co-op in a nearby town. And thus began the lack of motivation to follow through with my grand plans. My shopping opportunities are usually on weekends and I didn't want to wait until February 1st to improve my numbers. Also, there were several coupon match-ups this past week which seemed worth stocking up on for future needs.

Anyway, adding to the $165 from earlier in the month:
1/21 Taste of Life $160.90
150 lb. wheat, 25 lb. corn, 50 lb. oat groats, 1 bucket lid
This supply will last the better part of a year at least.

1/22 Target $9.34
baby food - I do make baby food, too, but for the sake of variety and some ease, we bought some.

1/22 Whole Foods $26.34
bulk oats, 1 pkg. organic whole wheat pasta, 1 bag tortilla chips, 2 amazing* pizzas
*Whole Foods is becoming our favorite place for prepared pizzas. They make them to order for a great price on weekends.

1/24 Target $23.09
3 packs of diapers, 4 lb. dry beans, 1 lb. barley, 1 pkg. pasta, 1 lb. butter, 2 pumpkin pies ($1.07 each after coupons)

1/28 Costco $13.96
4.5 lb. cheese, 3 lb. sour cream

1/29 Safeway $39.04
9 jars pasta sauce, 4 cans soup, large pack of t.p., 9 individual yogurts, 3 4-pks yogurt, 3 small loaves bakery bread & bag of chips (for an easy Saturday lunch), 8.5 lb. boneless skinless chicken

1/29 Albertsons $19.98
4 dozen eggs, 1 bag tortilla chips, 5 boxes cereal, 24-pk bottled water (for team snacks in a few weeks), 2 bottles salad dressing, 1 shave gel, 1 loaf bread

1/29 King Soopers $52.89
9 boxes Kleenex, 4 pkgs. dishwasher detergent, 6 jars salsa, 1 pkg. rice, 1 can Ro-tel, 3 cans tomatoes, 1 yellow pepper, 4 avocados, 2 boxes pasta, 3 pkgs. sliced cheese, 5.5 lb. organic pears, 9 lb. organic apples, 2 tubs yogurt, 4 individual yogurts, 2 lb. organic baby carrots, 2 bottles soda

Grand total $511.17 {She hangs her head in shame.}

So I see it this way.
Stumble: going WAY over what I had planned.
Success: still finding items at their lowest prices.

Stumble: take-out - 2 meals of Chick-Fil-A, 1 meal of Chipotle (Burr-tio deal that fed us for 2 meals), and the 2 Whole Foods pizzas (again, food for 2 meals)
Success: getting through most of the month without boxed cereal or much yogurt for breakfast

Stumble: not planning ahead that made Chick-Fil-A the easiest option on a busy night
Success: cooking up dried beans and a crockpot full of mesquite chicken that made lots of meals

Stumble: not taking a full inventory before I started so I would remember what I had to work with
Success: baking lots of whole wheat bread and zucchini bread

Stumble: needing a better plan to make the most of sales while not going to the store too often...I simply need to plan better.
Success: getting a few meals put away in the freezer for busy nights and delivering a meal to dear friend.

Stumble: lacking contentment when certain items ran low
Success: keeping on keeping on....I'll keep trying.

I think lately we have been right around $400/month for groceries and household needs, but writing it out provides some clarity and motivation to streamline and keep searching for what is going to work for our family in this season.

I think I'll try again for February!


Stephanie said...

Don't lose heart, Rachel! We all stumble sometimes, but it looks like most of your "struggles" should really pay off in the long run!

By the way, do you have any idea how much an average meal costs to feed your family? I have some friend who are pretty convinced that is it "just as cheap" to eat fast food as to cook at home. I don't know what they're cooking, but I know for Tim and I that is certainly not the case.

Melissa S. said...

Wow, Rachel. I am amazed at how much you get for so little. I am a very poor bargain shopper, but wish to do better. How do you keep track of sales/coupons effectively? I have tried and tried at this and always get lazy. **sigh**

I really appreciate your pantry challenges. They inspire me to do better. :)

Michelle said...

Good job, Rachel! I agree, you have to take advantage of those deals when you find them!!! I also made a big grain purchase in late Dec using funds from both Dec & Jan. Splitting it between 2 months helped. I also split a 50lb bag of sugar and a 50lb bag of oats with a friend. That helped bring the price down, too. I couldn't believe it - I found 50 lbs Montana Wheat for $22!! Keep at it! :-)