We are officially half way through our $50 grocery budget Challenge for the month of July. I must say that it has really opened our eyes to many things including how much food we waste on a regular basis and how much time we use preparing food.
Our meal plan deviated slightly for the best reason: my grandparents’ garden was overflowing!! They graciously sent us home with acorn, butternut, yellow, and zucchini squashes, okra, green beans to feed an army, garlic, cucumbers, tomatoes and some peppers. We are beyond blessed to have green thumbed family that is willing to share. Every thing we knew we wouldn’t eat before it spoiled we gave to our neighbors.
We also used a gift card my husband received for his birthday for a dinner out, we cooked out one night with friends using veggie burgers we already had in the freezer (they were on sale two months ago), and my husband had a free sub sandwich for his birthday at our favorite sub place that we used as well.
This challenge has made me VERY aware of two things: how much food we waste and how much time we spending cooking (and then not eating the food we cook).
This very strict budget has opened my eyes to the incredible amount of food that people waste – Us included. Whenever we were given the garden goodness from my grandparents, we immediately knew it wouldn’t all get eaten. So we spread the love.
Food waste is a real struggle around the world, but I feel it is most potent in the US. We are perpetually pummeled by ads that scream “Put this in your mouth right now!” and “Have dinner already made? They don’t want that. You should order out instead!”. There are ads for kids’ snacks, “healthy” snacks, fast food, gourmet (treat yo self) food, etc. Companies throw so much at you on a daily basis that it is hard to decide what to consume, which is why we end up spending SO MUCH at the grocery store. And out of all that food that you buy at the store and order at a restaurant, how much do you actually eat? Maybe two-thirds? So if I just spent $100 on groceries, we would likely end up throwing away $34 dollars worth. INSANE.
We LOVE only cooking three to four times a week. Not only do we reduce the amount of food that we are throwing away because we didn’t eat the leftovers fast enough, but we also reduce the amount of time we spend slaving in the kitchen. We started meal prepping on Sunday mornings while we drink coffee and Little Guy takes nap number one of the day. It gives us time to talk and plan but also we are super productive. Cooking together as a couple has really helped us bond in our now baby-centric world.
As of July 14th, we still have $19 remaining to spend. Even though I love Aldi with a great, firey passion, I have only shopped at Sprouts. There, I am able to only purchase what exactly I need instead of purchasing food in a predetermined size in packaging. We use bags similar to these to carry all of our groceries home in and we also get a $0.06 credit towards our bill. I have also started using muslin produce bags to help cut our plastic waste down when I purchase things in bulk (mushrooms, carrots, grains, beans, etc).
I hope the last two weeks of our $50 Grocery Budget July go as well as the first two!