Wednesday, October 5, 2016

50 buck Challenge,Week 6


I am tired of doing this and am ready to go back to our normal way of life, however abnormal it is to the rest of the world.  The little things I miss other than really good coffee are options. Before, if I decided I wanted fresh pineapple, I went and bought it. If it was a gorgeous night and we wanted to grill a steak, I bought it and we enjoyed it.  If we decided we wanted a Caprese salad I went to the store and bought fresh mozzarella.  My food budget was not extravagant but it was not limited to only what was on sale or what I had on hand. I miss the luxury of impromptu decisions, and I realize now what a luxury it truly is.

Oh, and we did go out to eat Friday night. We are finding we really do need the date night for both entertainment and reconnection.

The Shopping


Red grapes .88 lb. 2.04
Ginger 2.49 lb.  .34
Honeycrisp apples 1.48 lb. 1.64
Red peppers 2/1.00  1.00
10 bean soup mix .99 lb.   .99

Piggly Wiggly
chicken quarters .49 lb. 4.90
Duke's mayonnaise 3.25

Persian Restaurant Takeout

Meat pies 2.95 each  5.90
Spinach pie 1.50


Cheese crackers 1.49
Fake Fritos 1.59
Sweet Potatoes 3 lb. .99
Cabbage 1.39
Boneless, skinless chicken thighs 3.27
Bread 1.35
Cheese ravioli 1.69 (clearance)
Chocolate milk 1.59
Pasta* .75
Hamburger buns .89
Canned biscuits .48 each .96
Cheese 1.89 
Pomegranate .69 each 1.38

Ice cream 3.00
Caramel topping 2.37
Apple juice 2.00

I spent 48.16 this week and included the takeout food as part of the budget.  I did not include our Friday night dinner because that is in our T& E budget. I actually have a ton of food left.  I have a couple of tomatoes, 1 bell pepper and 2 red peppers, 2 cukes, 1/4ish head of lettuce, more than half of the cabbage, 1 head of cauliflower, 1 onion, all the sweet potatoes, 3 regular potatoes, a few grapes, 1 apple, both pomegranates, a few limes, 1 carton of processed mushrooms (dehydrated) , 3 chicken breasts (frozen) 11 chicken thighs (boneless skinless, frozen) 7 chicken legs (frozen) the dried beans for bean soup, over 1/2 gallon of milk, 1 quart chocolate milk, about 2 cups of super thick kefir (making "cream cheese" out of it tomorrow), cheese ravioli, canned biscuits, 1/2 loaf bread and 4 hamburger buns.

Needed staples

The Meals

Wednesday cereal, coffee
Thursday cereal, coffee, grapes
Friday toast, coffee
Saturday Dutch Baby variation
Sunday went to church so coffee only
Monday toast, coffee
Tuesday coffee, peanut butter and jelly sandwich (breakfast lunch combo meal)

Wednesday handful of grapes (busy)
Thursday  random leftover stuff from the fridge (don't even remember what)
Friday peanut butter and jelly sandwich, milk, grapes
Saturday leftover pork butt bbq sandwiches, cauliflower salad
Sunday toasted cheese, onion and tomato sandwiches, coleslaw
Monday leftover tomatoes, okra and onion, about 2 tablespoons leftover lady peas, apple
Tuesday see breakfast

Wednesday TheHub was out for a dinner meeting, Me, leftover chicken thigh, leftover cauliflower stuffing, fake Fritos, leftover salsa
Thursday TheHub wanted to try the new Persian restaurant 2 meat pies, 1 spinach pie (takeout) salad (home made) tea
Friday out to eat
Saturday leftover cauliflower leftover lady peas, leftover collards (TheHub went to the ball game and had his prepaid meal.  I had whatever)
Sunday broccoli dense chicken divan, brownies
Monday Italian sausage (frozen from shopping 3 weeks ago) with sautéed bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, and mushrooms over pasta
Tuesday variation on a theme of chicken taco (homemade pan fried flour tortillas, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shredded cheese, seasoned cooked and shredded chicken from the .49 chicken quarter sale, leftover salsa) 

Snacks popcorn, peanut butter cookies, brownies, cheese crackers, apples, grapes, celery sticks, carrot sticks, muffins.

Extra cooking  6 minute brownies, 4 ingredient peanut butter cookies, homemade tortillas, plain muffins with hazelnut extract for additional flavor, 2 quarts chicken broth from the bones and 2 leg quarters of the .49 lb. chicken purchase.

* things I have on hand but am applying this weeks sales prices to


  1. Looks like you have enough leftover for next week if you want. Being frugal doesn't always allow for spontaneity. That's one of the hardest parts is always having to plan ahead.

    1. I probably do as long as we eat chicken, followed by chicken and then some more chicken. Right now my shopping is so exact with little margin for error (though I did have enough money in the budget to buy caramel sauce and ice cream on Tuesday) I have gained a tremendous respect for people who do this day in and day out. It is not only challenging but the work never stops. I see a slight mission change now because for someone who works outside the home, maintains kids and a house there needs to be some (a ton of) advance cooking/prep to maintain some semblance of sanity.

  2. Six-minute brownies? Dense chicken divan? Is it just more dense with meat? Or rice?

    1. Six minute brownies are the bomb, made in the microwave. It takes me about a half a minute to whip it together and 5 and a half cooking minutes. They are hot and gooey and perfect for us.
      The chicken divan was chicken sparse but had a ton of broccoli. I don't put rice in mine, just chicken, broccoli, mushrooms, the sauce (I had to make the cream of chicken soup from scratch though) and a smattering of cheese. We are not picky about the buttered breadcrumbs so I just ignore that step)

  3. It seems like you've been doing this for 2 months now....when will the madness end? lolz

    1. I am entering week 7 of 8, Though I may call it enough of a learning curve after this week. I will tell you TheHub thinks this current grocery budget is a gift!

  4. I can't imagine. I do my best at planning, but also have a freezer & pantry stocked for those nights where I just can't cobble together anything else. It would be extremely difficult for us if we only had a week's worth of groceries at any given time.

    1. I am pretty good at cooking on the fly, and I do have a majorly stocked freezer and pantry, but I am trying to replicate what people who live through very difficult times go through. Trust me when I say it is not fun at all! I want to buy things I wouldn't even buy normally, like Count Chocula cereal. I have never bought nor eaten it in my life, but today while I was shopping I had a serious craving for a bowl of it (and I don't even care for cereal)

  5. I bet you end up with a surplus and will be able to work things like COFFEE back in. I have read about people that cut back and were eventually able to buy a few luxuries again. I still feel bad for you about the coffee situation. Yes, let's refer to it as a situation.
    And you have no idea how much your kind words/pep talk help me. I did cry again but over the kindness that everyone showed me. I know it is a stupid thing to be upset over but this one got to me. Perhaps it was lugging heavy furniture around over and over that got me. Again thank you, my dear friend.

    1. I think we have all been where you were, so there is some weird sisterhood of understanding.

      Next week come hell or high water I am buying good coffee! (To be honest we are headed to the lake tomorrow and I have good coffee there!)

  6. Maybe you're being a little too rigid with your goals so the challenge starts to feel like punishment. I congratulate you on what you've accomplished, but I urge you to take a break at least once a week.


    1. We are headed for the lake place this weekend so date night will be on the deck watching the water and the world drift by. (Did I mention there will be a refreshing adult beverage in tow while we watch the drifting?)

  7. If I come and visit will you have good coffee? I am a morman so it really matters.

    1. I will have good coffee or an herbal tea if necessary, thought I will stick to the coffee!

  8. You are so right about the luxury of impromptu decisions. And, like too many other things, it is a luxury we don't label that way until our noses are rubbed in it.
    I wonder whether this challenge is going to permanently change the way you shop? I don't mean completely, but I am wondering whether its influence will linger.

    1. I don't know if it will or not. I know I will buy good coffee without blinking, and I know I will buy somethings just because we want them, but I imagine I will be a little more conservative in our "regular" meal planning.

  9. I just found your blog so I haven't been in on the process leading to your goal and budget. I am not a coffee drinker so I don't feel your pain there but I keep a budget monthly of $160 and there are always choices to make to keep the budget but the great thing when you do it long term is that you get the lowest price on items that your family loves (like coffee) and then you can get more. I stock up and get lots of things when they are super cheap but I often hear sadness from mine when the larger store of those items run out because they are used to having them around :) can't wait to check out the rest of your blog now!

    1. I am interested how you manage to keep a 160 monthly budget. How many do you feed on that amount. I have been doing it just 50 dollars a week which allows little stock up money.

    2. It is a very different way of shopping because I am always stocking up on things with the money that I have available. There are only a few times that I am getting things that we need immediately. There are only three of us and my guy is little still so I am sure the budget will go up but I have been at $160 for the last 5-7 years so it something that I can maintain. It is something that we did so that I could quit my job and stay home with my son while he was growing up and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I am starting to pick up part time jobs so that there is more flexibility but the grocery budget hasn't moved yet :) I make a lot of things from home like bread, rolls, cinnamon rolls, cookies, cakes and more so that we don't buy any of those things at the store. It helps us but takes up a lot of my time while trying to fit in two jobs!! Sounds like you did a lot with your budget and excited to read the other posts.

  10. It is hard to keep to a low budget if one is used to buying whatever one wanted without worrying too much about the price. I think you have done very well, keeping to your self-imposed budget for so long.

    1. For the most part it has been ok but I do miss my really good coffee!


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