The Great Thanksgiving Challenge

November 1, 2008

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 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.

The Rules

  • 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.

The Goals

There are 3 goals of The Thanksgiving Challenge:

  1. Drastically cut back on our grocery bills and emphasize that some planning and shopping around can lead to significant savings.
  2. Eat down our pantry.
  3. Give thanks and raise awareness of the prevalence of hunger in this country and around the world.

The Disclaimers

  • 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. 

Afternoon Lunch

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.

Chugging along…

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{ 87 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Moran November 1, 2008 at 3:04 pm

I think your challenge is great! And its very nice of you to do it for a good cause after all!


2 Jen November 1, 2008 at 3:05 pm

What a great idea!! We’ve been trying to do something similar for the past month or so… only buying fresh dairy and fruit and veg, NO pantry items, meat, fun stuff, etc. It really does add up so quickly, and often, really isn’t that necessary! I see it as a personal challenge :-) Good luck with your efforts!


3 Alison November 1, 2008 at 3:09 pm

Very cool, I love doing challenge’s like this! In 2005 DH and I said NO SWEETS for a whole year for our new years resolution, the only exception was that if we went to a dinner party and there was dessert…. :) We made it and after a while didn’t even miss it anymore.

So I have a question…. you are in Chicago next weekend, right? Do I remember that it’s all inclusive? So all your food paid for while you are there? Friday to Sunday? Just curious! :)

$126 for 3 1/2 weeks is definitely challenging! I can’t wait to see how you guys do!


4 jayne November 1, 2008 at 3:10 pm

what a great challenge! also, is excellent!


5 Samantha November 1, 2008 at 3:11 pm

Wow, that surely would be a challenge for my household!

Good luck! I like your disclaimer :)


6 Hil November 1, 2008 at 3:12 pm

What a lovely idea! I need to confer with the husband, but I think I may join you. Although I might adjust my budget slightly…food prices in LA are insane.

Out of curiosity, where is the $126 figure from? Was that picked out of your love for the number 26, or was there a particular reason?


7 Santa Barbara Dreaming November 1, 2008 at 3:16 pm

What a noble challenge, Kath!
I cook for myself, and I always try to keep my food bill less than 100 bucks a month. Im actually kind of jealous you spend 400/month… though you DO cook gourmet, delicious lookin food for two!
I think I’m going to embark on my own challenge – limit sugar intake! (I have the BIGGEST sweet tooth….) :)
Good luck Kath, I can’t wait to read about it!


8 Kath November 1, 2008 at 3:17 pm

I know I’m away that weekend, but the husband will be home eating :)

Hil ,
I initially did $100 EXcluding Thanksgiving, but then I just decided to add in the $26 and include Thanksgiving dinner – and of course because of my #!!



9 Amy November 1, 2008 at 3:23 pm

Kath – what a great idea! I actually have pretty much the same story in my house (for my boyfriend and I). And since tracking on Mint I’ve also realized that we’re spending $400-500 a month. Now I give us some leeway since cooking is my hobby but I’ve also been feeling more of a need to save on that lately.

I experimented with this for a week recently but never got around to posting it on my blog, so I may just have to join you on this and chronicle my journey there. Thanks, as always for the inspiration!


10 caitlin November 1, 2008 at 3:23 pm

“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 donโ€™t have anything nice to say, donโ€™t say anything at all.”

LOVE IT. you rule, kath.

i think this is a greatttt experiment. honestly, i have but i dont ever look at it because i DONT want to know how much i spend on groceries…. i would hazard a guess that its around 350$. YEEKES!!!

have a great saturday!


11 Jen November 1, 2008 at 3:23 pm

Wow, that’s a big undertaking, but I bet you guys can do it! Very admirable.

Good Luck! ๐Ÿ˜‰


12 VeggieGirl November 1, 2008 at 3:24 pm

Such a fun challenge!!

Mmm, chili.

Have a wonderful time tonight!!


13 Jessica November 1, 2008 at 3:25 pm

What an amazing idea! This is very inspiring, I’m going to sit down and make a plan for ourselves as well. It’s a perfect time of year and budget area for us to cut back on as well. Thanks Kath!


14 Alyssa November 1, 2008 at 3:31 pm

I love the Dixie Chicks, especially that album!


15 Oh She Glows November 1, 2008 at 3:39 pm

I LOVE this experiement!

My hubby and I have been doing a similar thing for a while now- we stopped going out to eat about 8-10 months ago- and we have saved so much money. We do need a ‘refresher’ though and this challenge sounds like a plan. I will discuss it with him and we will set our goal!


16 amy a November 1, 2008 at 3:42 pm

Haha I NEED to do something along those lines — spend less on groceries and use up pantry items. I just cooked up batches of wheatberries and brown rice that I’ve been neglecting. I’m just going to tighten my purse-strings for now and see where that takes me!


17 Lisa November 1, 2008 at 3:47 pm

Whoa, that’s a heck of a challenge! It’s really admirable – plus HI is a great organization. My parents are the “I don’t need anything” type for their birthdays, so I went in with my sibs to get them some ducks and chickens.

Might you be a Bambi fan, too? ๐Ÿ˜‰


18 Amber November 1, 2008 at 3:50 pm

I am SO in. I am only sad I saw this after justgot back from a Traders Joes trip where I spent $68. LOL But I love a good challenge! I am leaving the husband at home for the rest of my shopping trips this month. =)


19 Melanie November 1, 2008 at 3:56 pm

Me and my partner already started doing this a month or so ago. We realised that we spent way too much money on food and we went grocery shopping even if our pantry and fridge were full. We spent 80$ a week on groceries + a few more trips during that week + cotsco + eating out + on sale items (even if we don’t need them). It ended up being more like a 150$ a week. So, I went grocery shopping on thursday, and we are not going until Thursday November 13. The fridge is full, the freezer too, the pantry too, so we can manage to eat enough for the next 2 weeks.

So, yeah, I’m in!!! What an excellent idea!


20 claire November 1, 2008 at 3:57 pm

this is great. good for you guys. last month we went to a cash only/envelope budget and it works really well to control spending and to let you know where your money is going. we also gave up eating out b/c it’s expensive and we don’t really enjoy it.


21 yadi November 1, 2008 at 4:02 pm

Our church has initiated a similar challenge. We are so blessed to have so much. We are so rich in food and in all the little things that bring us pleasure in our daily life. Good for you and your hubby!


22 Caroline F. November 1, 2008 at 4:03 pm

I was actually considering doing a similar challenge myself. I think it is such a great idea and I am in. I too made a WF stop this afternoon, but either way, it’s still a great idea to simply increase awareness. Good luck to you and I will do my best as well! To the pantry it is!
-Caroline F


23 runeatrepeat November 1, 2008 at 4:10 pm

The BF and I realize we spend way too much on food. I am all for this challenge! Count me in! Especially after I spent 40 bucks on like 5 random things from WF last week!


24 Mara November 1, 2008 at 4:12 pm

Good luck on the challenge! I don’t know that I could do $126 for the month… but I think under $300 for the month is doable!

Your chili looks great…have you ever tried putting corn in yours? It adds a great sweetness, especially when I overdo the chili powder!


25 Andrea November 1, 2008 at 4:15 pm

wow kath! what a great idea! thanks for posting the link to – i definitely have to check it out! my parents have been telling me to track my purchases since i’ve been in college (2 years ago ah) and i havent started yet.

lunch looks deeelish as usual :)


26 Tina November 1, 2008 at 4:36 pm

I love your idea for the challenge! Mal and I spend WAY too much on groceries each week. We seriously need to cut back!


27 HangryPants November 1, 2008 at 4:38 pm

Good for you! It’s going to be really interesting to watch.

“If you don’t have nothin’ nice to say, don’t say nothin’ at all.”

I think that’s what Thumper’s mom said in Bambi and I try to do the same.


28 Lauren November 1, 2008 at 4:39 pm

I have the same problem… one thing that REALLY helps me is to plan ahead for the week therefore I’ll use up all the food before it goes “bad.” It is time consuming… but better than throwing out half a loaf of bread, etc. I’m also trying to “eat up” my pantry as well… I want to buy some new types of granola but I want to finish the old first!
Good Luck!

Also stocking up on sales are ALWAYS helpful.


29 polly November 1, 2008 at 4:50 pm

Kath, you go!! That is very cool. I must admit we spend almost $300 per WEEK on groceries but we don’t eat out much at all. Good luck, sweetie! I am all for spending less $ on food and dontating to great causes!!


30 coco November 1, 2008 at 5:01 pm

great challenge!!! Since I began to eat more whole food and organic food, my groceries spending have been increasing lately. But from time to time, I try to skip one week of groceries shopping to use all stored food in pantry. It works for me.


31 Serena November 1, 2008 at 5:03 pm

I think this is a great challenge, Kath – I’m not sure there is anything to say except you go and good luck! I was just thinking the other day that I need to be much much better about eating down the pantry and decided not to grocery shop for the next week or so to make myself do that. Can’t wait to see what interesting meals you come up with over the next few weeks!


32 Maggie November 1, 2008 at 5:04 pm

This is so cool. We spend a lot on groceries. And is so great for discovering just how much you spend. I don’t know if we can join you for this Thanksgiving’s challenge :) But I would definitely like to do some kind of similar challenge in the (near) future. Good luck!


33 sarahH November 1, 2008 at 5:40 pm

I think it is a good idea. However, what about the month after that? And the few months after that? The only thing I see wrong with this challenge is that people will do it for a month..feel good about it..then forget about and live like usual again. Is this challenge something you think you can do every month?


34 thepinkpeppercorn November 1, 2008 at 5:40 pm

mmmmmmmmmm Kashi crackers! A great product to keep stashed in a desk :) Brava on your plan too!


35 Beadie November 1, 2008 at 5:41 pm

Great challenge, Kath! I need to think on this and figure out what we could do to do a similar challenge.


36 nm November 1, 2008 at 5:44 pm

wow, i’m amazed…there is no way i could do that….

my husband and i rarely go out to eat, i always plan a ‘menu’ but i still manage to spend $100/wk at the grocery store. and i’m only buying exactly what i need, nothing too excessive. my pantry is constantly lacking too….

is there something i’m missing? a secret to keeping my food bill lower? my staples are fruits, vegs, grains, chicken, pb, nuts, milk. i just figured the produce was the culprit to my large bill? oh, and i live in the south where cost of living in lower.


37 Katie November 1, 2008 at 5:50 pm

Oh my goodness, tell me about it! My husband and I just promised each other that we wouldn’t have any more dinner parties/events until TG. It makes me sad, but we are just throwing $$ out the window. Good luck!


38 Karissa November 1, 2008 at 6:20 pm

Everyone’s already said it, but I think this is a great experiment and a very selfless initiative to raise awareness for hunger. I look forward to watching it unfold. Good Luck!


39 Brynn November 1, 2008 at 6:35 pm

I think that’s a great idea!

I had an open can of pumpkin that I’ve been needing to use and I was thinking I’d make your pumpkin bread, but when I saw your chili, I knew that’s what I’d do with it. I had it for lunch. Yum!!


40 Amy November 1, 2008 at 7:00 pm

I think that idea rocks! I have been cutting back on my spending a lot lately to save up for nursing school next year when I’ll have to cut my work hours in half. Eep! I think I will join you on this challenge. I live with my family but buy most of my own food so I think I’ll set a goal to not spend more than $70 on food from now until Thanksgiving. I think it’s definitely doable. Plus that will help me cut down on unnecessary foods like ice cream that I really don’t need. :)

Good luck with the challenge!!!


41 Lee (seelivelee) November 1, 2008 at 7:05 pm

That is such a cool challenge, Kath. I can’t wait to see how it unfolds, too! This will definitely keep me hooked and will spread awareness and inspiration around the blogging world for sure! I also love the fact that you guys are donating $ to the charity as well. Congratulations!


42 Justy2003 November 1, 2008 at 7:22 pm

I’m excited to see the cheap (yet still healthy & tasty!) meals you come up with on your new budget! The boyfriend and I tend to spend around $100/week on groceries and I even think that’s being pretty tight sometimes. However we only eat out one meal per week usually, so that $100 covers us for a whole week (and sometimes a little more).


43 Julie November 1, 2008 at 7:27 pm

So I saw that $400-500 a month number and thought – whoa – that’s insane! I opened Quicken and did a graph and my husband and I are also spending that much at the grocery store! And we also do a CSA, so I figured that helped with cost of expensive produce, but nope. I just love the grocery store!! I had to force myself not to stop there tonight even though I know I have tons of food in the house. Strange!

I think I’ll try a similar challenge, since it is a little out of hand in our house as well. Thanks for the inspiration! and thanks for explaining the $126 – I was curious about that figure too! :)


44 Kristin November 1, 2008 at 7:37 pm

Coincidence, we also had chili tonight! I love your Thanksgiving food plan, I think it’d be hard for us because we don’t anything in our pantry! Each week, we buy small quantities of our pantry staples, I never have back stock of anything except tea and canned beans, maybe we can try something similar, we could stop eating out for the month!


45 Megan November 1, 2008 at 7:40 pm

I am afraid to know how much we spend on groceries! I love your idea! Great challenge!


46 Jessica November 1, 2008 at 8:00 pm

I think that what you two are doing is so fabulous!! It is very very admirable and I really think that more people should aspire to complete this challange. Good luck and have a wonderful start to the holidays!!!


47 Arden November 1, 2008 at 8:00 pm

Hmmm, I spend $600 a month for food. Just food and I don’t include pet food, paper stuff, girlie things, etc.

But….. there are 10 of us in our family! I buy apples and oranges by the case. lol

I love all you guys and your cute food.


48 Andi November 1, 2008 at 8:04 pm

I live alone, and I spend that much on groceries just to even get by and never go out…I live in an area where the cost of living is exorbitant. That probably would need to be taken into account if someone were to do this in NYC or LA, for example…


49 Laura November 1, 2008 at 8:29 pm

I was wondering what everyones thoughts are on a nut butter maker. I’m thinking of buying one that I found on sale for Christmas but I couldn’t find any reviews on the internet.
Any input is appreciated!


50 musicfan November 1, 2008 at 8:29 pm

may i ask if you are voting for obama? we average 60 per week on groceries.


51 Oh She Glows November 1, 2008 at 8:35 pm

Andi- I totally agree. I think that is why Kath said ‘choose whatever would be a challenge for your household’…not everyone would be able to sustain their family on $126…there are so many factors that go into it. But, I think the point of her challenge is to simply stop and think about what food you truly ‘need’.

I think we can apply this to ALL areas of our lives too. Does your shower really have to be 10 minutes every morning? Is it necessary to have all your lights on in the house at night? Can we manage with a bit cooler indoor temperatures if we put a sweater on? Every little bit helps!


52 Hil November 1, 2008 at 8:46 pm
53 Chelsea November 1, 2008 at 8:59 pm

I use the envelope system to so that I don’t go crazy at the grocery store. I do spend more in order to get local, organic, grassfed, etc. but it’s worth it to us for our health.


54 Andrea November 1, 2008 at 9:00 pm

LOVE this idea! I spend way too much on groceries per month. I find I go food shopping even when my pantry, fridge and freezer have enough food. I really need to cut back. I keep telling myself. I think I am going to start a slightly different challenge by trying to go grocery shopping every other week, instead of every week. If I need to, I will stop at my local farmers market for fresh produce and dairy. (the things I often run out of)

Good Luck!


55 Jamie November 1, 2008 at 9:05 pm

Oh my heck, we couldn’t live on 126.00 for three days. What are you going to eat?! Dried beans, iceberg lettuce, and chicken gizzards?


56 Jess. November 1, 2008 at 9:47 pm

i love this idea! you really are so inspiring Kath. i will def join in. i am setting my spending limit at $40 for the month tho because i did a major grocery shop last week and my cupboards, fridge and freezer are all jam packed full!!!! I am going to try to stick with $10 a week for things like produce, milk, bread and yogurt. this is something i really need to do. i spend about $400 a month on groceries and it is just me most of the time. i buy high qaulity food and i always have a very well stocked freezer and pantry, but it really is ridiculous… count me in!


57 Trish November 1, 2008 at 9:52 pm

OMG!!! I have a budget of 400-500 a month and I have a family of 5, that includes a 14 YO growing boy!!

I think you have a great idea. I wish I could join in, but we already have a budget well below what we should.

I will watch with anticipation as you succeed!


58 Laura Jane November 1, 2008 at 10:08 pm

Wow, that is such a great idea. Makes me doubt my recent decision. I did have a grocery/food budget of $150/month (including eating out, cleaning supplies, toiletries – pretty much anything you could buy at Wal-Mart, and cooking meals for guests). I just made a decision to increase my food budget to $250 this month because I wanted to be able to buy more healthy foods that are quick and easy to prepare. But $126 – that’s very inspiring.


59 ms November 1, 2008 at 10:10 pm

Good for you on the financial challenge!
We’re a family of four and I was shocked at how much money I spent at the grocery store on those random days I stopped in for a ‘few things’. Sticking to a budget and going grocery shopping has required a lot of planning and organization on my part ~ but I *know* these are skills you have! I have approached the grocery challenge for myself as just that, a challenge, and my competitive side comes out! I love me a good challenge! Our goal is $600 a month in groceries for the four of us and we can go out to eat once a week.

I have started keeping a little spiral notebook in my car so I can track any spending as soon as I get in my car from wherever I’m shopping. Just seeing every day how much I’ve spent so far in the month has drastically changed my spending decision-making. Things suddenly aren’t so ‘necessary’ anymore when I know I have to tally it in my book.

I’m interested to see any money saving tips you discover during the next few weeks ~ or anyone’s suggestions.


60 Grounded Fitness November 1, 2008 at 10:26 pm

good for you! i dont think i spend over $100 on groceries a month- im super thrifty so i couldnt cut back more if i tried.

Im excited to see what you come up with, though, cause it will be things a little more up my alley (ie. cheap).

Thanksgiving included: thats a huge feat!

Kelly Turner


61 Eliza November 1, 2008 at 10:28 pm


I think this is a great idea from an environmental waste standpoint, too.

I am inspired.


62 Kath November 1, 2008 at 11:03 pm

sarahH ,
I think the point is not to continue the challenge forever, but to end up somewhere in the middle. The big idea is to raise awareness. Whether or not it stick is up to each person, but I would hope at least it would make you appreciate the food you do buy.

Chelsea ,
Worth it for health – absolutely! And the environment and future of our country’s farm + agriculture systems. I do think it’s important to have those thoughts in the front of the mind when the prices are high. And we won’t stop buying organic milk and natural/organic meat for this challenge. That would be unrealistic.



63 Christie November 1, 2008 at 11:33 pm

There is just myself and my husband in my household and we shop every two weeks and average about $125 a trip. This includes dog food, toiletries, etc though. It does not, however, include eating out. I know that there is so much money we could be saving so we may try something similar.

Great idea!


64 Sarah November 2, 2008 at 12:50 am

Good luck! My husband and I are trying to manage our grocery money better. Our goal is to spend only $100-$125 every time he gets paid, but it’s hard! I’m still trying to figure out how I can afford all my fresh produce and stay within the budget.


65 sarah November 2, 2008 at 4:31 am

WOW good luck with that! i will be interested to see how you are able to stre-e-e-tch your budget out! i am happy if our weekly grocery bill (and that’s food only, not other household stuff) is under $120 for the 2 of us.


66 Thanksgiving 2008 November 2, 2008 at 5:02 am

Interesting Thanksgiving challenge, what a pity, I didn’t have chance to join it.


67 Stacy(IN) November 2, 2008 at 7:03 am

Great idea for the Thanksgiving challenge! I’ve been trying to cut back our grocery bill but I’m not sure I can be that thrifty. Are you including toiletries, etc. in your total? I usually spend $100-$125 per week for my husband and I but that includes pet food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc.


68 Alison November 2, 2008 at 7:13 am

I have to say that I’ve been thinking about this A LOT since you posted it yesterday. I didn’t know how much a month we’ve been spending on groceries so I just figured it out and we average $1000 a month! YIKES! We’re a family of 4 but still…. my kids are little! LOL! Let me also say that I do a lot of cooking for us, don’t buy a lot of pre-prepared foods, etc. Plus we’re vegetarian so we don’t even buy meat!

I think my (first?) challenge is going to be to spend less in the entire month of November than I did for our month where we spent the least on groceries…. which was $778.70. I use Quicken to track our finances and have never really used the features like this. So not exactly the same as your Thanksgiving Challenge but thanks for the inspiration to take a closer look at our food budget and try and make some changes for the better. We too need to eat down our pantry! I think now is the time.


69 melissa sue November 2, 2008 at 7:28 am

i LOVE your idea for the challenge!!

our times right now are tight because my fiance is in school and working only 30 hours/week, so i try to keep our monthly spending on groceries to under $350/month or less. it is NOT EASY!!

our CSA share has made it easier, but i can promise you that going to the grocery store more than once a week is a giant mistake. the more you go, the more you spend, the more impulse buys make their way into your cart.

i keep a very careful, detailed list of our meals for the week (this sometimes kills spontaneity, but it keeps costs down) as well as what’s in the house. the grocery list is god, so to speak.

good luck!!!


70 Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) November 2, 2008 at 8:20 am

Sounds great!


71 Amy November 2, 2008 at 9:58 am

We’re in–but we’re going for under $252, counting the pizza we ordered out yesterday and Thanksgiving Day meal here. It will still be challenging for us. Thanks for thinking of it!


72 Biz319 November 2, 2008 at 10:57 am

I think its a great idea Kath. Not only are you saving money, but it makes you think outside the box.

There have been plenty of times I am like “there’s nothing to eat!” All while I have a deep freeze full of meats, and canned goods and grains!

For me, my husband, and daughter, I spend about $100 a week. That includes breakfast/lunches and dinner!

It helps that Tony only eats lunch and dinner (he can’t stand breakfast!)

Best of luck to you – can’t wait to see how creative you’ll be!


73 Kath November 2, 2008 at 11:05 am

No, I am not including any household items. I usually split them out and put them in a household category in Mint. Food only!



74 Becca November 2, 2008 at 11:06 am

Hey kath,

Is it $126 per person or for both of you?


75 Kath November 2, 2008 at 11:08 am

Becca ,
Total for the household. It’s going to be a huge challenge for us! If you have only 1 person I’d make it less and 3+ make it more. Maybe $26 +/- per person?



76 Andrea (Off Her Cork) November 2, 2008 at 11:25 am

I wish you the best of luck with this! We spend a ton on groceries, it’s the fresh fruit and veggies that add up. I know there is no way I would be able to pull that off. Huge thumbs up for those of you partaking!


77 Becky November 2, 2008 at 11:42 am

My budget is also around $400 a month for a family of 4, but we have been known to go up to $600 after bulk food shoppings too. I think what you are doing is a great idea! I have to say, I probably spent around $400 when it was just two people in my household, but there was a lot more wasted food. :( Looking back on those days I almost can’t believe it! Especially since we’re talking 10+ years ago and food is more expensive now!


78 brooke November 2, 2008 at 2:55 pm

What a fantastic challenge! I’m in…


79 Jules27 November 2, 2008 at 4:27 pm

I had already planned on not spending as much on groceries this month so this goal is great. I think I am going to aim for $127, because 27 is my favorite number. I rarely go out to eat, but I do love good quality cocktails which are normally quite expensive so I will only be able to go out a couple times this month, which is probably a good thing.


80 Betty November 2, 2008 at 6:05 pm

We spend about the same as you do per month and have recently been working on cutting back a bit.

Is your goal of $127 just for food items? Since I’ve started looking at our bill more closely I’ve noticed a lot of high-ticket items are non-food items.


81 Noelle November 2, 2008 at 6:24 pm

Hey Kath…

Alright…I’ll finally admit it, I am a total lurker, and often check your blog before lunch (I am in a more western time zone, so it works out that way), and am a bit of a Kath addict!! I really like your ideas, recipes, and general candor on your blog!!

This is one of the best ideas that you’ve had so far!! I’m from Canada…so I’m going to have to check as to when the actual American Thanksgiving is, but I too am going to follow the $126 rule.. (I’m just one…but its CDN funds…so its a little bit less? ;))
I religiously keep track of my spending….however, I continue to watch myself p*ss away my money!! Not sure if that makes it worse!!!! :)

I look forward to hearing about your progress with this challenge!!



82 Kath November 2, 2008 at 6:35 pm

Noelle ,
Glad you’re de-lurking to join us!!



83 Sarah November 2, 2008 at 7:43 pm

we just finished a month of spending $60 or less a week. it was actually fun & rewarding! we use cash for our groceries so that we can actually see what we have left for the month. and we track all our other expenses through

good luck!


84 daphna November 3, 2008 at 1:07 am

Alright! I’m late to the party, but I’ll set my goal as $300 for groceries, including all drugstore/Target items. :)


85 Cat November 3, 2008 at 8:54 am

I’m totally in!! my goal is $100 minus one free lunch a week as well. I ordered out last night so now I’m down to $80. I think I can do it though!!


86 Holly November 3, 2008 at 11:26 am

What a GREAT idea! I am totally doing this….I’ve tried to cut back lately on food items, but still tend to do some of that “mindless” shopping. What can I say? I love the grocery store. :-)

Thanks for sharing your idea!!


87 runjess November 3, 2008 at 11:52 am

I have no idea why my groceries cost so much. Seems like too much money for one person.


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