Sunday, February 21, 2016

February $100 Grocery Budget Challenge Update 2/20/16

  
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!

17 comments:

  1. That is so awesome, Debbie. WOW!!!! Great work. I would love to earn that much in gift cards a month. Hope you have a super week.

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  2. Thanks Chrissy. :) I have a feeling I have more spare time than you do to work my points programs. Back when I was homeschooling my kids my days were very busy. ;)

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  3. I'm glad it is going well for you Debbie. Love your "office" it sounds like the perfect place for a chat :)

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    1. Thank you Mel. I love our "office" too. ;)

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  4. I love the idea of getting gardening supplies with the extra money. I know that seeds alone can be between $100-$200 for the huge garden that I usually grow. That is because I have grown all of my seedlings from seed in years past. But I always got so much yield from the garden that is was worth every penny.

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    1. Becky, you are right about the garden being worth every penny. Our green bean yield alone more than paid for all the gardening supplies last year.

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  5. Hi Debbie,

    I also like the idea of adding to your gardening supplies with your saved money. Many folks do not realize how much money they can save by growing a vegetable garden. In the spring of 2014, I spent nearly $100 on vegetable seeds and other supplies. This outlay of cash, which was a significant amount for our family at that time, prompted me to weigh EVERY single vegetable or fruit harvested from my garden that fall. I brought in over 1,200 pounds of fresh produce. If I'd purchased the same produce at the market it would have easily cost more than $1,200 in our region - especially since I practice organic gardening techniques.

    More than 1,200 pounds of food to share, can and freeze for $100 and some physical labor ... That's more than a HUGE 90% savings.

    Blessings,
    Mrs.B

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    1. Mrs. B, that was a huge amount of food that you were able to grow! I also do an organic garden for the most part, although last year I had to resort to a chemical treatment for the flea beetles that infested and decimated one of our gardens.

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    2. Mrs. B I do the same thing and have for years. I weigh everything I grow and log everything I can and freeze. My daddy used to do that years ago - so I do too. Figuring a $1/lb. sounds low to me - especially with organic. It is amazing how many dollars of food we can grow in a small space.

      I checked out your blog - NICE!

      http://cherylsfrugalcorner.blogspot.com

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  6. Debbie, I bow to your grocery skills! I do coupons and watch sale ads but we are still spending a lot of money at the grocery. I keep saying I'll do better but haven't really. Thanks for the inspiration.

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    1. Stacy, thank you but the only way I can do this is because I have a deep pantry, stocked freezer and I make most things from scratch. :) There are also just 2 of us here most of the time. I'm sure you could do it too. :)

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  7. I think I told you I'm considering this as my next challenge, in lieu of a no spend month. I spend way too much on groceries, it always amazes me how much my bill is when I hit the check out counter. Of course, I try not to go too often since I detest grocery shopping but maybe that's worse as I'm not planning my shopping to save the most money but rather to save the most time in the store? Anyway, good for you - awesome. You inspire me!

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    1. Thanks. :) I try to shop around the sales too and stock up then. It really helps.

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  8. Debbie you are doing fantastic with the grocery budget! I don't count gift cards either in my monthly totals. I figure it's FREE money.

    I always use the GC's to get extras or stock-up.
    You are really doing good. Wish I had an "office"!!!!! LOL

    http://cherylsfrugalcorner.blogspot.com

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    1. HI Cheryl, our "office" was free to begin with too, but we have had to do some repairs on it over the years. My hubby's amazing bosses actually gave him their hot tub that they we not using. :) Yes, he works for really wonderful people.

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