Monday, June 28, 2010

First challenge of Frugality Revisited

Eat at Home! (Sweet potato hash based on one of my favorite brunches from Northstar Cafe: basically you sautee some sweet potatoes, onion, peppers, turkey or bacon, whatever you have on hand, then throw a fried egg on top. Great meal!)

Things at home are kind of up in the air for a number of reasons this week. But I have vowed to avoid any sort of spending, aside from tomorrow's farm market which will be paid for with my few leftover pocket dollars from Disney, until the first of July. So this means we are emptying out the fridge, freezer and pantry. For kids who can be sulky about not having certain things for certain meals (OJ with breakfast, PB&J for lunch, etc.) this is less than ideal. However IMO apple juice with breakfast for a couple of days never killed anyone. (To their credit, they have become leaps-and-bounds more adventurous with their eating over the past year and a half.) This does lead me to the answer of a question that's been on my mind while following Katy Wolk-Stanley's Food Stamp Challenge this month: perhaps when you literally cannot afford to throw out uneaten organic veggies, your food choices necessarily gravitate to what your kids are willing to eat: nuggets, mac and cheese from a box, anything to be dipped in ketchup.

I intended to do the Challenge in June, but with being on vacation and eating at Disney (read: spending well over a month's grocery budget in a week) it really didn't work out. Now I find myself actually needing to do this challenge. So for the month of July, my family of four would get about $404 of food stamps. However, because I am starting off with a deep freeze full of farmer's beef which cost about $230, or about $19 a month, I will keep our food budget to just $385. This will include our food expense to have cookouts for both the 4th of July and our son's 7th birthday. Our normal food budget is about $450, so anything I save will be donated to The Mid Ohio Food Bank.

Additionally, we will cut down our eating out expenses to about one trip a week, not to exceed $100 for the month. This sounds like a lot, and personally I'd like to cut out restaurants entirely for a while, but the husband works mega hours lately, and likes to unwind by going out. The catch is, if we want to go somewhere nicer than $25, we have to give up subsequent trips out. I think this will work out better than cold turkey.

Now I guess I need to do the meal plan for the next 3 days. A task I'm not terribly fond of.

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