The July $50 Grocery Challenge
I am all for saving money. It’s kinda our thing. But only spending $50 on a month’s worth of groceries when we normally spend $200? You’re out of your mind! Or is it actually possible…?
July is going to be a rougher month for us financially as our maternity and family leave will finally catch up with us and we’ll be missing a few paychecks. We’ve planned to strip our budget to the bare bones – required bills (mortgage, utilities, phones, internet, etc – $1400), necessities (groceries, gas, pet food, etc – $520), and day care for Little Guy ($1000). This is a no spend month with an added grocery challenge.
Are we pumped for this? OH YEAH! Am I personally a little nervous about restricting us so much? Yes, indeed. Here is what we are doing in order to keep our budget to a tight $50 this month.
We are going to use all of our pantry staples.
I normally keep our pantry pretty stocked full our of regular staples. This includes rices, several types of beans, lentils, canned tomatoes, flour, sugar, spices, frozen veggies, frozen fruit, pasta, nuts, and peanut butter. There are so many meals that you can make just by using basic ingredients. We are vegan so there is no meat in any of our meals. Most plant based meals are incredibly inexpensive to make as long as you don’t buy any pre-made items (dairy free cheese, soy sausage, etc).
We are taking our lunch to work everyday and making it in bulk.
Instead of our regular PB&J with chips or leftover dinners, we will be eating beans and rice everyday for lunch. We are using a variation of the Frugalwoods’ recipe. It is delicious and nutritious – not to mention cheap! It is spruced up rice and beans. Using white rice ($0.67 for 1lb), black beans ($1.15 for 1lb), mushrooms ($1.99 for 1lb), an onion ($0.88 for 1lb), and spices that we have on hand it makes for a very inexpensive lunch for the both of us everyday (10 meals total!).
We are only cooking dinner THREE times a week.
Does that mean we are eating out the other four days? Heck no! We are eating leftovers. There is one day that we will be eating out and that is our wedding anniversary on the 14th. I have included an image of our actual meal plan for July. We will normally cook two nights in a row and then alternate the leftovers for two nights. This way it doesn’t feel like we are stuck eating the same thing over and over again. For more tips on meal planning you can visit my post on how to win at meal planning.
We are limiting our snacks and drinks.
Normally we don’t snack that much anyways, but those convenience snacks add up quickly. Instead of grabbing chips or packaged crackers at the store, we will be snacking on popcorn that was bought in bulk, nuts, or peanut butter on saltines. We will both make sure that our cubicles at work are stocked so that we do not venture to the vending machine when have the munchies. Another big expense can be the morning coffee or afternoon sodas. Our company purchases Java Dave’s coffee and each office has a coffee maker. Add a little hot cocoa mix and it’s almost like Starbucks 🙂 We will only venture to the break room if we are in need of a caffeine pick up.
I’ll update you all at the end of July so we can all see how we did. Here we go!