Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October Spending Challenge - Wrap-Up

Today ends Northwest Edible Life's No-Spend Month of October.  I didn't join full-on, but decided to challenge myself to spend zero money in restaurants and as little as possible on food at the grocery store. 

The last five days of the month went well.  We didn't go out to eat, Kat asked for one school lunch, and we spent $25.52 at the grocery store.  That amount was spent on two 1-pound bags of tortilla chips, 3/4 pound wheat berries, 1/2 pound black eyed peas, 3/4 pound red beans, 2 pounds smoked sausages, 1 quart half and half, 4 cans green beans, 4 pounds sugar, and 2 pints sour cream.

Here are the totals for the month:

Restaurant spending:  $9.96
School lunch spending: $10.75 (5 lunches)
Grocery store spending:  $176.06 (includes sales tax)
Pork processing fees:  $209.00 

My friend SonyaAnn brought up that other people stock up especially well the month before they go into a challenge like this.  And in the past, I've known of people to criticize no-spenders or low-spenders by saying that whatever we put off buying this month, we'll certainly buy next month, so that any savings gained is lost in the re-stocking. 

I disagree. I think a this kind of challenge reinforces the importance of having a well-stocked pantry all the time.  I don't consider myself a prepper, but at any given time, there is a lot of food hanging around our home.  That's food we have grown, hunted or bought when it was on sale.  We have meat, fruits and vegetables, butter in the freezers.  We have pasta, flour, sugar, grains such as steel cut oats and popcorn (great for cornmeal), oils, and more fruits and vegetables in the pantry.  Except for some basics, like milk and eggs, we could easily get by for a month without going to the store.  Likely we could go longer than that if necessary.  If Shane gets a deer or two while hunting this month, we'll have meat to last more than a year.

Because I had a well-stocked pantry to begin with, I just didn't need much in the way of groceries.  I didn't stock up in advance, and I didn't "put off" buying things until next month.  I bought a few items to round out our meals, a few items for no reason other than convenience, and a yes, even a few extras.

I also want to reinforce that exercises like this one are valuable if for no other reason than to make a person stop and think before spending money.  Anytime a person is mindful of her spending habits, that's a step in the right direction, I think.  So, while I've done better at similar challenges in the past, I will chalk this one up as a success.


Here's what we ate the past five days, most of which was already in the freezer, fridge and pantry:

Breakfasts and Lunches: 
  • Our breakfasts and lunches were very similar to earlier, consisting mostly of hot cereals, leftovers and/or simple sandwiches.
  • Kat requested one school lunches this week, which was turkey with gravy and brown rice. The meal came with a choice of two of carrot sticks, apple wedges, orange wedges or peas.

Suppers:  (This week's menu centered around chicken, with three meals made from one whole bird.)
  • Grilled pork chops, baked potatoes, home-canned green beans.
  • Grilled pork steaks, pan-fried potatoes, homegrown collard greens, homegrown zucchini and tomato bake, applesauce.
  • Hash brown casserole with onions and peppers, home canned peaches, home-grown collard greens.
  • Homemade flatbread pizzas (leftover grilled pork, homemade sauce, onions and peppers, cheese), veggies were bits and pieces from earlier meals.
  • Mummy dogs (polish sausage instead of hot dogs), "clean out the fridge" soup, salad with homemade dressing.
Drinks and Snacks:
Drinks this week were water, coffee, iced tea, raw milk, beer, apple cider.  Snacks were potato chips, tortilla chips, peanuts, saltines, marshmallow pops, and of course, some Halloween candy.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...