Wednesday, November 2, 2011

$100 Grocery Challenge

Okay... confession time.

Over the past few months I have been starting to think about tweaking the way I buy groceries. I don't really have time to go into my entire thought process but here's what thoughts have been going through my head:
  • I want to buy more local products. For me, this means primarily produce. I have a "produce guy" I have been going to for several weeks now. What this means is I get fresh produce and then meal plan around it. Now, we might still eat canned green beans or frozen peas, I'm not saying I'm entirely blowing off "convenience" vegetables and fruit, but I'm consistently buying our apples, potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes from him. Broccoli should come in soon, and apples are going out of season, so that means I'll begin buying organic apples from the store, but we'll have fresh broccoli instead. We buy our eggs from a friend at church exclusively. If I needed honey, I'd buy it from him too. Oh yeah, and all the produce from "my" guy is organic which is even better! I know there are some thing I'll always have to buy from the store (like bananas or asparagus out of season) but knowing I'm buying everything possible from this guy or the farmer's market means I'm doing something good for NC farmers.
  • I want to learn what products are worth paying more for, and what products are worth buying organic. I bought a brand of macaroni and cheese the other day from Walmart that was $0.37. Thirty-seven cents, people. Stephen laughed and said he wondered what was in it that we were eating for that price! Hmm... I didn't think about that. I got online to the Kraft website and compared their ingredients to the brand I had in the pantry now (not that we usually buy Kraft, but it was the first one I thought of). There were only a couple of ingredients that were different, and when I googled them I found absolutely nothing "scary" or odd about them. So I feel completely safe in feeding that to my family. Now, if something comes up that I realize it's not a good thing to be feeding them, I'll pay more for another brand that's better for them.
  • I want to make as many things homemade as possible. My main things right now are breads, waffles, breadcrumbs, cookies, pizza and french fries, although I sometimes make onion rings, potato chips (or veggie crisps), fruit roll-ups, and pancakes, among other things. I'd like to branch out some more and see what other things I can make. Actually, I just bought a pasta maker... interesting, eh?
All this to say that my husband and I are discussing our food budget now. We realize we have to pay a little more out of pocket in order to make sure our family is eating healthy. This may only be an extra $25 a month (I hope!!) It may not be any change financially, but just not buying certain things anymore. I've already cut out sodas for myself and juice for the kids (although Stephen is addicted to Mt. Dew and I do make punch every so often, like Kool-Aid and 4C).

So... I'm on the lookout. Trying to find healthy things for us to eat (although I do admit we're really pretty healthy to begin with, I think). The main things are going to be finding snack foods for all of us to enjoy. We all love potato chips but it's just not feasible to always make your own, and I don't feel comfortable with some of the ingredients in some brands of potato chips. Therefore, I will spend a little more money and get Eatsmart chips when they're on sale. I bought Grande tortilla chips today and bought the bag that had all ingredients that I understood - white corn, vegetable oil, salt. You can't get much better than that! Brianna and Hunter love cereals like Froot Loops and Apple Jacks but I just can't let them eat things like that anymore. One day they both ate too many Froot Loops (I wasn't really regulating how many they were snacking on) and let's just say it did NOT aid in their digestion later on! Like my mom said, anything with that much food coloring/dye can't be good for you! Hah! So I'd love to find some fruity cereals they both love and things like that.

Okay. So 'fess up. What snacks do you guys eat? What do you recommend? What should we stay away from?

And all of that to say - I didn't keep a budget for the month of October. I know I spent over $100 but that did also include our one-year old's birthday party, almost $50 worth of food for our ladies group party one night, and cooking for our fall festival at church. Yowza! This month should be much better. :)

Just for my records, I did make $91.84 from mystery shopping, rebates and surveys this month, and just $12.80 from the two measly thing I sold on ebay. I gotta get better about that!

1 comment:

Jennifer Kirby said...

We are totally headed down this same track. Let's remember to discuss in person sometime soon! Love you!