$40/week for groceries?!?

(White House photo)

So, I was sick all last week with a nasty cough. In fact, I am on day 9 of this blasted thing, and there’s not much of anything that is helping. I’m a little cranky. But being sick has its advantages, as I am going to use it as my excuse as to why I forgot to post an update on last week’s $40 grocery challenge. How about that for writer’s liberty? I do have good news though…I actually made my goal of spending only $40! I don’t have a photo to show because it was simply: a whole lot of fruit and vegetables. Red grapes, asparagus, spinach, carrots, apples, oranges, and lots of bananas. Everything else we needed for the entire weeks was already at our house in my nice, little stockpile.

We had great dinners like turkey burgers and sweet potato fries, seasoned pork roast and steamed broccoli with homemade cheese sauce, apple pie waffles and bacon, and spaghetti and homemade meatballs. And when I spent the last $1.00 I had on 2 lemons to squeeze into herbal tea to soothe my throat, I was quite proud of my week of spending.

Week #4, however, is a different story. I am finding that I can go just about every other week and manage to make it within my $40. As I write this on Sunday night (to be published on Tuesday), I have already spent more than my $40. Blame it on my discombobulated brain because I’m sick, blame it on my need for some sweetened condensed milk to make homemade coffee creamer. You could even blame it on Bubby and his insane need for 4 “nanas” a day. Talk about rationing fruit. Good grief. But any way you look at it, the budget was blown this week and it was only day 1. However, I DID get some good shopping in at Albertsons with doublers. Here’s a few things I picked up:

  • 2 Hormel seasoned pork loins for $4.99 each. They are usually about 10.00 a piece.
  • 2 packages of Dannon yogurt for less than a buck.
  • A large tub of Country Crock spreadable butter for $1.99. I was a little iffy on this. Generally we try to buy real butter or Smart Balance, but I took a chance.
  • About 8 Zone Perfect protein bars for free.

And then at Walmart, I picked up a very large assortment of fruits and vegetables, some milk, eggs, and my sweetened condensed milk. I have to say that I really don’t like shopping at Walmart for my produce. I’d rather shop locally and organically, but our budget doesn’t allow for a lot of freedom in that area. Thankfully, in our little town this week, asparagus is on sale for $1.29 per pound (cheaper than Walmart!!!). I’d like to get a few more pounds of that as we roasted some last week and it was delicious.

So, I’m pretty much battin’ 500 in the area of success in my grocery challenge. And that’s okay. I decided from the beginning that I wasn’t going to be hard and fast with the rules. I was going to make sure that my family had what they needed to be well fed with good food. Have any of you jumped on board and started a grocery challenge for your family? Leave a comment here, or head over to my Facebook page and tell me about it. Pictures are always welcome!


  1. Kristina says:

    Part of me is so drawn to couponing and trying to meet a challenge like this and then another (bigger) part of me is totally appalled at the idea. I make a menu of 10 meals which lasts us two weeks and I do the grocery shopping then twice a month (adding in a couple of trips for milk, etc.). I simply cannot get over the hurdle of having things in my pantry that I will not use for weeks on end, you know? It is how I am with every closet or drawer or basket in our home. If we don't use it, we don't need it.
    Any tips? I also don't know how to look for coupons without being completely overwhelmed. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

    • FrugalFrontier says:

      Kris, this is a great place to get started if you are interested in couponing: http://fabulesslyfrugal.com/get-started. When it comes to having things in my pantry, the reason I do it is because I determine how much I am going to pay for the things I buy. When I can get 20 boxes of pasta for free and I know that will feed my family for an entire year, I get it. And when I know that my family will use particular dressings that I can get with coupons for $.25 a piece, I stock up. This past week, I got 2 pork roasts on sale for $4.99 when they are regularly priced at 10.99. So, if you have pork roast and pasta on your menu once a month and so do I, you will probably end up paying 12.99 for your dinner and I will pay $4.99. Does that help? Additionally, having things on hand has been a tremendous help for us right now because our finances are extremely tight, and being able to "shop from my pantry" for food that's already been puchased at rock bottom prices is a total benefit for us. Couponing isn't for everyone, but it definitely is for our family (out of necessity). If menu planning and shopping twice a month works for you and you are within a reasonable budget, then you are good to go. :)

    • FrugalFrontier says:

      Kris, I would also say that you can use coupons for the things you know you will use in the next few weeks and don't stock up so much. My pantry is no bigger than a typical pantry, and I have one additional metal shelving system (the same size as my pantry) to store extra boxes of cereal, jars of pickles, etc. I most definitely don't have an entire garage full of food. :)

  2. Mom says:

    4 bananas a day???? He beats me…..i only eat 2.
    Have you tried the asparagus raw? That's how I like it best. We had it at your wedding and I loved it.

    • FrugalFrontier says:

      We had asparagus at our wedding? Hmmmm. I had no idea. I don't like it raw…gotta have it drizzled with olive oil and roasted with garlic. Yum!

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