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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

For $25 a week

Jaimie and I have recently decided that we need to use what we've got and stop buying groceries in the manner most people do.  We are pretty stocked - between the freezers, the cold room (with our home canned goodies), and full cupboards.  I don't really like to have the fridge full because I like to see what's in there and it drives me batty to waste food.

On another blog, A Year Without Groceries, their family of 3 only buys from a buying club, farmer's markets and directly from the farmer.  We don't have a buyer's club around here that I am aware of, and there are no farmer's markets this time of year.  We do buy some food directly from the farmer - specifically beef from my mother and chickens from someone I work with (however, my friend has inquired whether I would be interested in raising chickens with her on her land - that may be in the works for this spring).  At the end of the farmer's market season this past year, we decided to do most of our shopping there for the months that it's open, but we do crave fresh produce on occasion.

On yet another blog that I frequent, a woman and her family of four are doing 100 days of Real food for $125 a week (she used this figure to show that a family can eat Real food with less than the $167 that a family of 4 would generally get on food stamps, to show that you don't have to spend a lot to eat well). 

We decided to eat mostly Real, because we do have some foods that we just like and know that we'll want them even if they aren't Real.  We'll also be eating whatever is already in the fridge or freezer, regardless of whether it's Real, because I dislike wasting (though we did end up donating almost all of the non-Real pantry foods in preparation for this challenge). 
So, long explanation, we've decided that we will do our best to spend only $25 a week on groceries.  Here are the rules:

*Food directly from the farmer is not included in the $25 figure.  Though we buy eggs from a person who sells them for her uncle, I am uncertain whether she takes a cut, and we buy them at her restaurant, so that is NOT direct from the farmer.  The meat, as described above, is direct from the farmer, so that is "free" as far as the $25 a week budget goes.  If there were a farmer's market open, that amount wouldn't count toward this budget either. 

*Home cleaning supplies, toiletries, alcohol and home maintenance are not included in the grocery budget.  The budget is strictly for things that we eat.  Plus, we have a lot of home maintenance.

*We will attempt to make as much Real food as possible, and local when we can (though it is winter right now). 

*If we buy food that is not Real, it is included in the budget. 

*Seeds, plants and orders for the garden are not included in the budget, mostly because we can't eat them directly and I don't want to buy garden stuff in spurts.  

Why wait when deciding to do something?  Now is as good as any other time to start.

This week our $25 goes to: So far, we spent $4.58 on milk (coupon for 2 gallons at 2.29 a piece).  I'm planning on buying Sprecher root beer for $9.99 (nope, not a health food, but delicious, local and made with honey), almonds for $1.98 & eggs for $1.75.  That leaves us $6.70 in case we want something else.   I'm thinking in future weeks, we'll probably re-stock on staples.  Milk and eggs are likely to be weekly expenditures, so at least we know those costs.  (I think we'll be doing a lot of cheese making, so we'll need a lot of milk).

No, we're not doing this for a year, but we are planning on trying it out for 3 months and then we'll see if we want to continue from there.

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