Friday, July 17, 2009

All You Grocery Challenge

This week I started participating in the All You Magazine Grocery Challenge. Basically, the challenge is to keep to a budget of $25/week per person (not counting babies) for a month. The magazine will pick an overall winner based on how well she stayed on budget, healthy eating choices, and creativity/ingenuity.

Overall, I don't think I'll have too much of a problem staying within the $75/week budget. It's just a little lower than our usual $350/month budget, and it doesn't have to count non-food items, which my budget normally does. I think my biggest challenges will be keeping my spending equal each week, since I usually calculate the budget by the month, and also working around any special events or eating out that we do. Even though we don't eat out very often, when we do we usually count it in a separate budget from our normal grocery budget. However, this challenge requires you to include any restaurant or takeout meals that you buy.

Here are some of the strategies that I plan to use in the grocery challenge:

- Using meals frozen ahead of time. Of course, the girls and I are out of town for the first few days of the challenge, but Michael still needs groceries this week. Since I was going out of town, I froze a number of meals for Michael to eat while I was gone. That way, he has bought very little takeout and only made one trip or two small stops for grocery essentials. When we get back on Saturday and I'm trying to get back into the swing of things, we can eat whatever meals he didn't use up, to make settling in less hectic.

- Planning meals around sales and coupon deals. I always do this, but I'll have to be more careful during the challenge. If there are a ton of coupon deals in one week, I might not be able to get them all, since I can't go over the weekly budget. I'll definitely be paying a lot of attention to the weekly sales.

- Using what I have. This is probably my single most important strategy. Although I've been on vacation and haven't stocked up in a while, I'm sure I still have a good amount of food in my cupboards. Since without a car I can't run out to the store all the time, I am used to making do with what I find in the pantry. It's always surprising what meals I can come up with!

- Using our garden produce!!! I am so excited to finally have some results of our work in the garden! Last week, Michael picked 6 huge cucumbers, and we also have tons of basil, mint, cilantro, and parsley. Homemade pesto, here I come!

There are lots more frugal tips at Frugal Fridays!


  1. Using what you have is certainly a great way to save money! I love pantry cooking. One of my favorite sites for 'using up and making do' is You type in whatever you have on hand, and it starts listin recipes you can make. The more you put in, the more it comes up with, so don't forget things like mustard or olive oil or relish. It will tell you if you can make the dish 'right now,' or if you need another ingredient or two. Most of the time, you can find some way to replace those extras!
    That's great about your garden!

  2. Good luck, I am participating too, but between going blueberry picking and on vacation for a week, I amnot sure how well I will do.

  3. I'm participating too! Hoping I can stay within budget with 2 teenagers and a tween in the house.
    Thanks for sharing your tips!

  4. I am participating in the All You Grocery Challenge with 3 Adults & 3 Teenagers in my family. Our greatest challenge will be our participating in the County Fair from June 25–August 2 and not being home a lot during the day. We will be packing lunches and making Crockpot meals for dinner. We will also have a friend staying the week with one of my daughters so that adds a challenge.


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