I’ve made it to Week Four of the $600 Real Food Grocery Budget Challenge. Yesterday afternoon I did the grocery shopping for the next week. As I’ve explained before, because I am paid monthly, I decided to run the challenge from payday to payday, which was May 31st to June 28th. So, there are 6 days left in this challenge. The last week’s meals and snacks were planned as carefully as the previous weeks’ were, but I’m sad to say that I failed the challenge.
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I had $27.49 to spend on the last week of the challenge. I actually spent $127.73. And that doesn’t include the minimum two gallons of raw milk that I will purchase during the next week at $7.00 each.
My total for the month was $701.24.
The problem this week was that I ran out of several pantry staples. When I started this challenge, I had a full pantry. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t already had so many of the things I needed like coconut flour, coconut oil and seasonings. This week I needed to restock more than the few things I purchased, but I chose carefully which items I will simply wait until next week to buy.
Despite ridding our diet of most convenience foods, save for corn chips (which were a rare purchase before this challenge, but a great filler during it despite not meeting my real food standards) and Lara bars (I’ve got to learn to make these myself!), relaxing many of my real food standards, and cutting back on my own portions so that the challenge didn’t affect my children (I lost three pounds while doing this challenge), I still could not feed my family on $600 per month.
(Wondering how I came up with that $600 challenge amount? Check out the first post in this series.)
So, what did I get for my money this week? What will my family eat for the next seven five days?
Breakfasts: Monday–Oatmeal, Tuesday–Eggs, Wednesday–Sausage and Eggs, Thursday–Grain-free Pancakes, Friday–Eggs (This breakfast menu will remain the same throughout the month.)
Lunches: All leftovers. (Leftovers for lunch is how we usually do things. I only hope that I can continue to make enough for dinner each night this month to have leftovers for everyone at lunch.)
Dinners: Monday–Sweet Potato Pancakes, Tuesday–Butternut Squash Soup, Wednesday–Pasta, Thursday–Meatballs, Friday–Chicken and quinoa (So glad I had pastured chicken on hand! We normally don’t eat this many vegetarian meals in a week. Good quality meat will not fit into the $600 grocery budget, so I’m opting to simply eat less meat.)
Snacks: (The boys eat two snacks per day. I usually have a morning snack at work of fruit and cheese. Hubby doesn’t snack.) Homemade pudding, lara bars (those probably won’t appear on the menu after this week!), organic corn chips (this was a sacrifice–they are cheap and are something the boys aren’t used to having and so it will provide some novelty.), yogurt (not homemade this time), fruit, fruit leathers, home made fudge, home made grain-free banana bread or brownies, cheese, home made grain-free cookies.
I hope we can make it through the week with these snacks. They were cheaper and healthier than buying pre-packaged snacks, but it took me several hours in the kitchen today to bake them. (I love baking, I just don’t always have time and time is money.)
2 gallons of raw milk
1 box of organic fruit leather
14 oz colby jack cheese
8 ozs cocoa powder
3 lbs organic sugar
4 dozen eggs (cage-free, not local organic. My farmer hasn’t had eggs for sale since the beginning of the month. I think it’s time to start building that chicken house!)
1 box, 48 ct organic black tea
16 oz gluten-free pasta
26 ozs Real Salt
2 ozs organic vanilla
2 lbs organic jasmine rice
2 bags organic corn chips
3 lbs organic apples
2.65 lbs bananas
2 lbs organic blueberries
2.17 lbs organic grapes
3.68 lbs organic potatoes
2.13 lbs organic sweet potatoes
1.82 lbs organic butternut squash
Come back next week when I will share my final (and probably emotional) thoughts on the $600 Real Food Grocery Budget Challenge and tell you what I’ve learned about how to eat real food on a budget.