Aliens in the Apple

October grocery challenge: week 1

Franci 11 Oct 2010 Food Frugal fun Grocery challenge

I had a very interesting moment on the first day of the challenge. I had hopped over to Tim Challies’ blog and read an article about The Heart of Frugality. I almost immediately wanted to forget about this challenge. The article was thought-provoking and pointed a few things out to me that I would benefit to work on. I thought it over and thought about my motives for doing the challenge. I’m not doing this challenge to show off what an awesome frugal shopper I am. In fact, I admit to being the opposite. I love finding ‘good deals’ but my problem is that I find too many of them, usually at the supermarket, and can never stick to my grocery budget! Like my dad always says: “You don’t save money at a sale, you spend it.” So the challenge this month is to sort of be an exercise for me to prove to myself that with a bit of creativity and actually using the stuff in my cupboards instead of always just buying more stuff to put in them, I can stick to a budget. And I chose a very low budget for this month so that everything in the future will seem easy to stick to! :-)

I’ve already seen a change of thinking when I go to the supermarket. I only buy what I need, not all the ‘good specials’ for the sake of it. Now, I realise that sometimes you have to spend money to save money (buying in bulk, for example), but I’ll get to learn those lessons later. :-)

I thought I’d give you a run-down of what I bought, for interest’s sake. Here’s what I spent the first week of the challenge:

baby rice — $2.69
gallon of milk — $3.69
chicken stock cubes — $1.99
beef mince — $4.31
sour cream — $1.99
fresh fruit & veggies — $16.94
cheese — $2.29

Total: $33.90

Hmmm. That means that I have $66.10 left for the next 3 weeks of October, but a number of things I bought last week we’ll keep using into this week or longer.

I’ve realised that I will have to adjust our menu plans a bit. First of all, a number of recipes I made last week (nachos, chicken and dumplings, and mac ‘n cheese) were enough for 2 meals or more, so I bumped a few dishes and we had mac ‘n cheese twice and chicken and dumplings twice and I froze a meal’s worth of nacho sauce for another time. (Keep in mind too that I was sick and didn’t feel like cooking new stuff when we had left-overs!) I also realised that I was probably a bit ambitious in the amount of meat I put on the menu. :-)

So, learning from the first week, here’s the proposed menu plan for week 2:


Mexican soup with cornbread muffins


Asian Glazed Tilapia with brown rice and sugar snap pea salad


Spanish Rice with mixed salad


Quiche and green salad.

Friday (we’re having the guests we cancelled on last week because of illness):

Roast chicken, potatoes and other roast vegetables, salad.


Chicken-Broccoli casserole with garlic bread and salad


Sandwiches or left-overs for dinner.


Comments (5)

Bryan Hoyt 11 Oct 2010 at 3:19pm

Interesting article on frugality. Enjoyed your Dad’s quote ;-)

Carina 13 Oct 2010 at 5:04am

Not enough protein - don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. Doesn’t help to have unwell family members. Forgive me. Love Mamma

Franci 13 Oct 2010 at 8:38am

Great to see you commenting, mum! Good of you to bring it up — other people might be wondering the same thing about protein. I’ve tried for us to have protein with every meal we eat (breakfasts often have yoghurt or nuts; and lunches I often cook eggs, or we have cheese or peanut butter or something like that; the kids often drink milk with morning/afternoon tea). As for the dinners, Monday night had beans, Tuesday fish, Wednesday meat in the rice, Thursday meat and eggs and cheese, Friday and Saturday Chicken. On Sunday we have a potluck at church.

I definitely try to let us have a balanced diet! :-)

Carina 13 Oct 2010 at 2:18pm

That’s good! I felt bad for commenting what might have been seen as negative. It wasn’t meant like that. It’s just that you all are so precious to me I don’t want you unwell! Love Mamma

Anna Miretti 17 Oct 2010 at 10:41am

You guys can do it! Way to go, Franci! I also love the variety of your menu. What are you guys doing as far as lunches go? I love seeing how people live on a budget…gives me ideas! :)