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
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.