|Berries picked in our garden last Summer before I froze them.|
At my last update over a week again, I let you know that I had spent $48.84 leaving me with $51.16 in cash for the rest of the month. I have now spent an additional $25 on things like fresh veggies, fruit, hot cocoa mix, milk and some canned goods. That brings us up to $73.84 spent and $26.16 left in cash for the rest of the month.
To be perfectly transparent, I have bought other grocery items but, as I stated when I started this challenge, I would be using gift cards to do that with. I had a $25 Walmart gift card and a $50 Safeway gift card that I had earned through points programs that I do online. I did use those cards to buy not only stock up grocery items that were added to our pantry, but also gifts and household items like 2 big containers of kitty litter and a glass measuring cup. We have cooked up one of the hams that I got with the Safeway gift card (it as marked down at 75% off) and have made several meals out if it so far and still have more. Most of the food items I bought with those gift cards however were clearance and marked down items and have gone into the freezer or pantry for future meals. This is my normal way of shopping. When I see something at a fantastic rock bottom price, I buy it for future use if it is something that I can freeze or is shelf stable.
My goal in this challenge was to just have a $100 budget that was coming out of our pocket for the month. Gift cards are something that I earn and cash in for on a regular basis. I would say that I average about $60 in Walmart gift cards earned a month. I use those gift cards to supplement my grocery budget so that it is less money coming out of our actual bank account. Every 6 weeks or so I buy a huge bag of Pedigree dog food for our over 100 pound White German Shepard mix dog. I use Walmart gift cards to do that.
My hubby and I were talking tonight in our "office", otherwise known as our hot tub (this is where we have our best talks since there are no distractions and we are relaxed) and I was commenting on how well this challenge has been going. I have been able to still stock up on things for future meals with the gift cards I had and that is an important part of how we keep our food costs down. This challenge has helped me to be more mindful of what we have, dig deeper in the pantry and freezer and be more creative in planning our meals. I floated the idea of me continuing this challenge next month also but upping the budget to $150 so that I can still stock up on reduced meats and things at stores other than Walmart. This would still be less than my normal $200-$250 monthly grocery budget. He was game to do it. :) That money saved can then be put towards gardening supplies that I don't already have which would then save use further money came later this Spring and Summer when we can eat more of the food I grow in the garden and not have to buy it in the store. Win-Win! I love how this is all playing out!