We decided to do another challenge this year. Many of the Riot for Austerity folks agreed to do a month without groceries (many of them excepting 1-2 special items. ie: milk for the kids). We couldn't agree on it as a family so instead we pulled our Red List concept out of the hat.
Basic idea is to write down everything purchased grocery wise for a month to give a seasonal snap shot of what we are buying and how much. This is what we bought for the month of March.
|Type||Quantity||Price, rounded||Total spent|
|carrots (1 lbs)||2||$2.00||$4.00|
|cooked shrimp (1 lbs)||3||$7.00||$21.00|
Notes & Lessons:
You might think some of the prices are high and you are probably right. $1 per banana? We choose to limit what we buy, but buy the highest quality available such as organic free trade bananas.
We also used a few things such as a duck from the freezer and barley from the cupboard that we didn't account for here. On the flip side, the list includes some things we purchased but didn't use. For example, we only used part of the ground turkey and shrimp. The majority went in to the freezer. The purpose was to just try tracking what we purchased.
This month also included a camping trip. We are little more liberal about snack and packaged foods while camping. Its gives us some relief as parents and it adds to the occasion for our child who normally doesnt get to eat many of the foods his peers eat. It can also have a down side. I made the mistake of packing both packages of turkey jerky and leaving a group of boys alone with it all. What would normally have lasted us several months was gone in an hour. We also purchased some extra food to share with our fellow campers.
We normally dont buy eggs. It just so happens we are between flocks right now so BAM! That added $30+ to our grocery bill this month.
There isn't much produce included because most of that comes from the garden. Looking over the produce; garlic, bananas and carrots stand out. We might still have carrots in the garden this time of year except the gophers got into them so no carrots. I can and will devote more room & effort to garlic. I didnt realize we used that much!!! [<=Learned] Anyone know a trick for starting garlic in April? Many of the bananas were dried for later snacking but Im thinking that adding a second dwarf banana tree to our house plants would be a good step forward.
Bread. What to say about bread? I wont add bread baking to my routine right now. The husband offered to keep a bread machine going but I wont have anything to do with Teflon/PTFE and cant find a bread maker that doesn't use it. Finding a solution to the bread problem is high on our list but probably still going to remain unresolved in the near future.
The thing we noticed most is that our juice habit has grown in the last year. Grown without us really noticing it until all of the sudden its a big scary deal! $59 in juice including the little ones we purchased to take camping. Thats about 25% of our monthly budget. Uhhhh. . . . embarrassing. Once our hens are laying and if we cut out juice our monthly grocery bill for three people would drop to $109 for food that many people consider to be out of their budget.
Thats why doing this periodically is a good idea. We hope you will consider keeping your own Red List in the near future.
FYI, we do go out to eat once in a while and our son takes school lunches about half the time.