Thursday, July 31, 2014

Grocery challenge update

Grocery Challenge Update 1

Recently, our family has set upon a real frugality journey- Once a month grocery shopping. You can read about it here.  No biggie, except for $350.  I’m accustomed to spending at least $200 a week for our growing, healthy-eating, from scratch-cooking family of four.  Let me tell you, I thought (naively) that this would be super easy. 

Huh, strike one.

So it’s time for my weekly shopping trip. And I’m fighting the loud voice in my head telling me that we are running low on juice, cat food, and ground beef.  Why is it that 3 things not being overabundant in my house makes me feel like I have to go to wally mart?  Don’t get me wrong, I still have three bottles of juice (and frozen fruit to make my own if need be) and another pound of ground beef.  But there’s something in my head from years of routine to go to the store once a week. I had no idea there would be more to this than just not spending money. 
This is my pantry!  It's full.  We salvaged that old door from a 1920s house that they were updating.  I LOVE that door. 

Thinking that staying out of the store would be easy, strike two.

Could we afford to go to the store today? Yes.  Would that hinder or help our living more deliberately journey? This once, no, it wouldn't hurt it, but it’s the breaking of the habit that must be done. 
My children and I have NEVER done without anything that we need.  And we, God willing, never will! 

Menu planning is super easy, strike three.

I imagined (again, naively) that once I planned out my menu- BOOM- it was done. We went swimming and therefore I forgot to take out frozen meat, so I changed around the menu and instead made chicken nuggets.  I know, I know, that’s not healthy at all.  It goes against everything I am trying to do to help my family be preservative-free. But oh my word,  it is really hard.  It’s so stinkin’ easy to just pop some nuggets on a cookie sheet and, check, supper’s done.

I have started this journey for several reasons:
  1.  While we have less than the average amount (significantly less) of money in debt, I want my family to be FREE from all debt.
  2. My children need a healthy, well-rounded meal from which they witnessed their mother making.  I want to show them a labor of love and I want them to look back thinking, “My mama always made a meal for us.” I know they won’t always like it, and they will often complain.  But they will learn to do so with an attitude of gratitude. (Well, at least that's my goal.)
  3. I have seen too many children pick at their lunches at school, only to simply eat the sweets (cookies or bread) and throw the rest away. My mom always packed my lunch.  I would beg for broccoli and ranch. But she never gave me the option to eat spaghetti-os and such.  I am trying to instill this into my children as well, but taking it a step further by growing my own veggies.

Just one week and I have learned that :
  •  I need to be more flexible.
  •  I have to make my day’s schedule around something that I value as important.
  •  It’s ok!  Ultimately, so what if my kids have nuggets (pre-made) and mashed potatoes with peas every once in a while? It’s not like they are living off fast food and microwave meals.  They are still getting the nutrients and home-cooking most of the time. 
  •  This is a process.  I am an "all or nothing" person and this is going to take some time.  I need to practice patience. 

Final Word
I am really learning a lot about the different beliefs on “healthy-eating” and have seen many great concepts. But I firmly believe that my family will best benefit from a combination of all them.  I want to stick with a well-rounded meal of meat, dairy, vegetable, and a either rice, quinoa, or potatoes (in moderation, of course). And I am trying to do so with a smile on my face and completely from scratch. 

What do you think?

Thanks for stopping by, 

This post is linked to Old-Fashioned Friday
This post is linked to Friday Favorites.
This post is linked to Freedom Fridays. 


  1. Good luck with your challenge! I'm trying to cook more from scratch too and it is hard some days since I'm so busy with our three bio boys and foster daughter. Some days I'm just exhausted, but like you, I want to make sure I'm doing my best for them. It has helped to have them help me, as much as possible for the 9 years old and under crowd, to get dinner on the table. I feel lucky since they love veggies already! This is really encouraging for me to attempt to cut back on our grocery budget and plan better. Thanks!
    -S.L. Payne,

    1. Thank you so much for commenting, S.L. Payne! I feel that it is a real life-style change for us. Great idea with getting the kiddos to help. I'm thankful you find it encouraging. Please come back again, I will update next week.

  2. Lindsey,
    Came across your blog from the barn hop. I love reading about other families working out a budget....especially the food one :-) Question. Did you start the challenge with bulk items already at home? Just wondering. My biggest road block right now is getting the money to put towards even just one bulk item (50# bag of food). I am trying to find a way to make that work. I can't wait to see how your challenge goes. I think I need to challenge my family as our food budget is larger than our house payment! Though that includes all non food items, animal feed and anything like meds, school supplies, etc. But still!!! Oh, and we are a family of 10, so our food budget is a bit larger anyways.


    1. Hey Kerri. Thank you for your interest. I do have a "food stash" just for emergencies, but NO I did NOT start with many bulk items. Here in south Florida we don't have many good deals on foods and price matching like some stores. My only option for shopping is WallyMart. I used the WinnDixie B.O.G.O. sales flyer and wally world honors that. I try to buy when meat is buy on get one free. Wow on the family of 10. That's my dream! I want 5 children but have only yet been blessed with 2 wonderful babies. I do not include my animal feed or non-food items. I really try to make my own lotions, salves, and such. I do buy bulk or BOGO toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc. when they come around. I find it's a lot more work than I ever imagined, but the planning really pays off. Just start small, buy reading the sales ads. Then dive in. YOU CAN DO IT if you really want to! Good luck. Check back next week for my next update.