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Monday, October 31, 2011

$40/week Grocery Challenge Re-visit...

Okay, so yesterday was grocery shopping day (actually it was more like extreme home makeover day but you can read more about that, here)!  I am proud to say I stuck to the budget of $40!  Well, $41.46 but close enough.  If you are still skeptical if you can do this keep in mind that when I went yesterday I:

A.)  Had my 4-year-old with me
B.)  Did not use any coupons

I think what is really helping me stay within budget are a couple of things, but most importantly I am trying to re-think that amount of food we actually need.  I am not starving my family or forbidding them from having more than one glass of milk a day, I am just trying out smaller quantities and seeing if it will last for a week.  I did this when I originally challenged myself to a $40/week budget and learned some interesting things about my family; we eat/drink way less than I actually buy.  For example, I always buy a gallon of milk.  My sons drink lactose-free so they have their own stash but my husband and I are big cereal eaters and I use milk a lot for cooking so I assumed we definitely needed the full gallon.  One week I bought the 1/2 gallon instead fully assuming I would have to go back to the store mid-week but lo-and-behold we didn't even finish it by the next shopping trip.  I never buy a full gallon anymore and we never run out.

I also have started using half the meat I used to.  When I made spaghetti in the past I would always use the entire package of ground beef but now I split the meat in half and use cut up veggies to "beef up" the sauce (ha ha pun intended).  I can use the other half of the package to make burgers or stuffed peppers or enchiladas (I just again add more veggies to the recipe).  

The other key thing to my budget success is how I purchase my chicken.  You have heard me rave about  Thompson Poultry's delivery service and I just have to say again that this awesome company is saving me time and money.  I buy a 10lb. bag of boneless chicken breasts from them once a month, maybe longer and I get TONS of meals out of it.  Between using less and buying in bulk I spend a fraction of the money I used to on chicken.  If you are interested in buying from them click, here (Note: this link was written before they changed their name so Prestige Farms is Thompson Poultry for our purposes.)  I am going to be looking into buying other meats in bulk in the near future so I will keep you posted.

I know that all of these tricks may not work with your family if it is larger or you all have different eating habits but just try buying a little less and see how far you can stretch it.  You will be surprised!  If you have any tips on how to save money at the grocery store let me know!

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