Monday, August 23, 2010

Go Go Gadget Creativity!!

We went to a wedding this weekend. It was out of town and involved travelling 5 hours, away from the move in progress at home. Normally for a wedding we make exceptions from our jar money, the wedding gift and associated costs will come from other savings, but this time our wish was to do it all from our normal weekly costs.

This goal we set out with left us only $15 in grocery money when we got back. $15 for three days worth of breakfasts, lunches and dinners, before we can fill up our jars again and restock the house.

Let me set the scene. My goal as we left for our trip was to consume as much of our perishable food as possible. I hate to think of wasting food, so I carefully planned our meals to try to use everything we had in our fridge. Since we just moved across 3 provinces, we don't have the kind of stocked pantry that a household usually has. There was no bean soup in the back recesses of a cupboard, no Kraft Dinner from a past pregnancy craving. Our shelves are painfully bare, as I didn't have time before we left to stock up on many staples.
On our drive back from the wedding I was talking to Ted about buying groceries, and I told him, "I think we can feed ourselves for three days with this $15." The ideas I kick myself for later. Now under normal circumstances, $15 is quite a lot for two people over three days. It's the unstocked pantry that made me start to second guess my challenge. I did have a few supplies, carrots and a head of lettuce in the fridge, half a box of pasta and rice in the pantry.

I hit the grocery store, studied the weekly specials, and came out with 3 days worth of groceries for $15.27. (Change scrounged from car/bottom of purse)

That grocery trip definitely struck me that if I can pull of three days for $15, where on earth is the rest of my budget going? Yes, babies are expensive, and yes, I am missing our usual staples of eggs and milk, but I wonder if half of what I consider "necessary purchases" during the week are in fact really necessary? Do I take my weekly grocery budget to it's limit this week simply because it is there to spend?

I think a key ingredient in maximizing my food budget is creativity. I need to examine exactly how focused I am on taking what's available, what's inexpensive, and what's healthy and combining it with my best ideas and recipes.

Dinner number one for the week:

BBQ chicken breasts with rice and BBQ carrots


Anonymous said...

Good luck saving money shopping at Moncion's.. That place is brutal.

Ally D said...

Agreed. When it comes to meats I think I will be pretty limited to what happens to be on sale. My big project this week is to research local farmers and compare prices for their fresh meats/produce.

Jessica Morris said...

I wish we were neighbors!! It would be so encouraging to have someone who "gets" the whole challenge yourself to make the budget work thing :)

We're eating from the pantry this week - other than buying greens for smoothies I am on a personal mission to not buy anything until Friday... which is hard since I haven't shopped in about 9 days :-p

Your dinner looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

Would it be a bad thing to accidently leave a stocked pantry in your house?! LOL ox

Ally D said...

I know who you are "anonymous!" LOL and yes, it would be! ;o) ox