In researching online, it looks like people do this challenge in many different ways. You're supposed to set goals specifically for your household. For example, one woman with 4 kids set her monthly budget only $200 less than normal, but she wanted to use everything in her deep freezer and start making more creative meals.
I also found out that most people do this challenge because they end up throwing away lots of food that's gone bad. Praise God, I have never had to do that. Of course, I don't buy in bulk and I've really never had the room to have a psycho stockpile, so that could explain that.
So, considering tomorrow is the beginning of February, I better lay down some rules for this challenge. I'm making these up as I go, so I may decide to switch things around later. Think that's cheating? I don't care.
- I want to reduce my grocery spending. I allow myself to spend as much as I want on groceries. That can be anywhere from $100 to $250 per month, depending on how much stockpiling I do. I believe I average around $150. (Note - that does include Rite Aid and Walgreens purchases.) My goal for February is going to be $100. Including Rite Aid and Walgreens!! I already took out $100 in cash to spend from.
- I want to make new meals based on things we already have here. I want to use the whole chicken in our freezer which I am terrified of cooking. I want to use the Southern Biscuit flour that I bought with good intentions but have never used. I want to make recipes worth saving for future use.
- I want to not pass up incredible deals. There is no reason not to get something that is free. That is always going to be my opinion. I am not going to not grocery shop and pass up something like that. Besides, like Stephen said - there's no point in doing this if I'm going to have to go out in March and buy $500 worth of groceries to restock everything. So I'm going to continue grocery shopping, even several times a week, but be even more frugal than usual.
- I will continue to make certain purchases. Produce, milk, eggs, bread, etc. will be bought as needed, as usual.
- This challenge doesn't apply to groceries bought for special meals. The special meals in this case are for mom and dad. Once a week I cook for them, two meals and two desserts. So if I need to buy groceries for those recipes I will.
I'll set up a list (a looooong list) on the sidebar of our meals every day. Of course, Stephen doesn't even eat breakfast or lunch here so those meals are pretty light for me. A lot of days I'll just eat a brunch and then dinner with him, so I won't be doing a lot of heavy cooking except once a day.
Anything I missed? Anything else I should specify? Let me know. I feel like I'm throwing this together really quickly.
Oh, and no... I did not run out and buy groceries all week long to prepare for this. That would be cheating!