I don’t know about you, but my grocery bill has soared through the roof these last few months! Between the end of the school year craziness, freelance work and college classes I have had little time to devote to meal planning and cooking.
This has led me to rely on quick-fix foods or *gasp* the drive-thru! Not only are these among the worst foods to eat, nutritionally speaking, they are also EXPENSIVE!
Our food bill has risen to over 1000 dollars a month! I know that we can do way better on our food budget and nutrition if I could just get back to meal planning and cooking every night.
I took the summer off from college and have cut back on my freelance work to focus on our family. Doing so also gives me a ton of time to meal plan, shop and cook!
I really do love to cook so I am looking forward to this.
Okay, okay. You likely stopped by to get the details on the 100 dollars a week challenge so I will get on with it!
The Grocery Challenge Ground Rules
- Stay away from empty calories! (ie: chips, soda, juices, cakes, candies)
- Watch our portions
- 3 meals and 2 small snacks a day
- Stay away from boxed/premade convenience style foods
- No fast food
- Keep meals simple so I can continue once I get busy again
Those are the basics. Now, I am a realist and as such, I do expect our kiddos to go a bit bonkers over these changes. Since I have done this before, I know what to expect and how to overcome the challenge.
You can read more about that here: Change the Way Your Family Eats Without Starting a Revolt
How to stick to a 100 dollars a week grocery budget
You might be wondering how I plan on doing this. I wondered if this was even possible myself. However, when my husband was laid off we stuck to a budget of 100 dollars a week for food for about 6 months. That was a couple of years ago.
The only thing different is that we were eating a vegan diet back then. We eat meat and dairy now. Meat and dairy products are so expensive! While I don’t plan to go completely vegan again, I do plan on reducing our meat and dairy consumption quite a bit.
We also live in rural Ohio so we are very limited in our grocery store choices. I will be shopping and meal planning based on the weekly Kroger ad, picking up odds and ends at Wal-Mart and going to the local grocery closeout store.
The reason I decided to make Kroger my main store is that I REALLY like their store brand items. The quality is comparable to name brands and usually half the price.
If you are wondering what a grocery closeout store is it’s pretty much scratch and dent items or close to the sell by date items. I usually get my yogurt, bacon, pasta and cereal there. I can’t really do my meal planning based on that store because the food varies from week to week.
Splitting our budget between 3 stores
When I discussed my $100 weekly budget idea with my husband he was really skeptical that this was something we could do. Afterall, we had been spending over $1000 a month on food for MONTHS!
His biggest concern was that we shop at 3 stores and to would be difficult to spread 100 dollars out over the three. However, what it really boils down to is self-discipline and a plan.
Here’s the plan:
The majority of my meal plan will be based on Kroger ad items and things I already have on hand.
I will only buy things I can’t get anywhere else at Wal-Mart.
The rest will be spent at the closeout store.
Grocery Challenge goals
- get back into the habit of cooking healthy, family-friendly meals every night
- stop overspending on food
- cut back on snacks and eat more real food
- stop short order cooking
At the end of each week, I will post a recap of how the week went, my meal plan and link up any recipes I used.