I’ve decided to embark on a food challenge this month in honor of Thanksgiving, a holiday equally centered around food and giving thanks:
Our goal is to spend less than $126 on groceries from Nov. 1 through Thanksgiving Day.
(Yes, that includes Thanksgiving dinner!)
For our household, this is a HUGE challenge. We have been spending about $400-500 a month on groceries (I hope my dad doesn’t read that…)…..and dare I say we’ve gone above $500 before?! That does not include meals out. I use Mint.com to track our spending. It’s a great tool and has been a real eye-opener. I think in the same way food journals are so helpful to dieters, spending journals increase accountability and awareness in a very similar way. Groceries is the #1 most flexible category in our budget and it’s also our biggest leak of cash. We always hope to be under $75 a week with our groceries, and we usually are during our big weekly trip, but it’s the end-of-the-week trips for a “few more things,” Costco trips for bulk items, parties, impulse buys, and “we have to get this while it’s on sale” items that all add up.
The Thanks Giving
To express thanks for the food we do eat as well as increase awareness of hunger in the world, we are planning to donate 26% of what we DO spend to our favorite food-related charity: Heifer International.
- Whatever you have in your fridge and pantry on Nov. 1 is all fair game. I did make a point not to go grocery shopping last week, but I do have food already in the fridge. It’s just luck of the draw.
- We’re going to allow one free meal out a week, most likely a lunch out for each of us. Any additional lunches or dinners out will count towards the $126, and that will not go far! That means if we want to go out to dinner, we have to pack lunches everyday.
There are 3 goals of The Thanksgiving Challenge:
- Drastically cut back on our grocery bills and emphasize that some planning and shopping around can lead to significant savings.
Eat down our pantry.
Give thanks and raise awareness of the prevalence of hunger in this country and around the world.
- I realize this is not a true food experiment because we have plenty food in our fridge when the clock struck 12 last night (including greek yogurt, half a gallon of milk, some beer, blue cheese, lots of apples). And we will be eating from our pantry too, which includes canned goods, pastas, tons of grains, TONS of oatmeal, soy milk, cereals, crackers, some nut butters, and lots more.
- I also realize we get our bread for free, but note that if we didn’t, the husband would bake it for about $0.10 a loaf.
- We are hosting Thanksgiving dinner, but both of our families are bringing side dishes and may also contribute to groceries, but we’re not planning on it.
- Lastly, I am not embarking on this experiment to be criticized for any decisions we make during the month. But I do think it will be fun to watch things unfold. So if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
I encourage any of you who feel up to it to join us!!! Choose any amount that would be a challenge for your household and see where you end up.
I am chugging through my list. I finished the vegetarian week of my school menu, which required to have a COMPETE nutritional breakdown for all 5 days. Whew – glad that’s over. Now I’m on to plan the other 3.
I broke for lunch around 3, folded the laundry and headed up some leftover chili.
While the soup heated up I dug into the Kashi cheddar crackers –
And then had an official serving with lunch –
Filling, quick and easy –
I am listening to the Dixie Chicks “Fly” and it’s making me happy 8)
Tonight we’re going to our friends Michelle and Ben’s house for dinner. We’ll probably bike there, and I’m looking forward to getting out of the house.