Monday, October 10, 2011

$400 Grocery Challenge Week 1 Recap

Last week, I decided to take part in the $400 Whole Food Challenge over at beauty that moves, which is quite a lovely blog that I enjoy reading.

Our budget doesn't normally allow for $400 a month on food, and the more I thought about it, the more that I realized that I didn't really know what our monthly food budget was. I decided that this challenge would be a good way to try to spend as little as possible, while buying as much whole food as we can. The husband has remarked more than once over the last few weeks that we're not eating as much fruit and veg as we should be, and he's totally right. So. 


I went grocery shopping on Monday, armed with a rather ambitious list. I was disappointed to find that several of the items were not even available at our local grocery chain (farro, local maple syrup, reasonably priced agave nectar). I did some rearranging of the menu for the week in my mind, and I ended up spending $62.14. Not bad.

Broccoli gribiche and pastene with roasted tomatoes

Things that we ate this week: Pastene with butter, green beans and homemade bread
                                            Broccoli gribiche, leftover pastene with roasted tomatoes and more bread
                                            Kale salad
                                            Homemade pizza
                                            Hamburgers and salad

A minor wrench was thrown into my food schedule when the girl became sick on Friday night with a high fever (high enough that we drove to urgent care - she's fine now), and we ended up eating chocolate ice cream. This also threw my budget a curveball, as the husband was the one who went to pick up her Tylenol and ice cream, and came home with three bags of cookies/chips/ice cream/gross Campbell's soup that no one will eat, as is a worried papa's prerogative. Add $39.68 to our food spending.

Kale salad with bulgar wheat

Yesterday afternoon I went out to get ingredients for the burgers, and I got a few other things to make some more salads this week. Total spent was $14.19. I baked two more loaves of bread, plus today I am planning on making some pumpkin muffins for breakfasts. I still have some food from last week that I haven't used yet, so all in all I think we're in good shape. Avocados were on sale (yay!!!), so tonight I'm planning on making the Orzo Salad recipe from Super Natural Every Day, which is pretty much my new favorite cookbook of all times. Every recipe has been a winner so far. Love it.


Total spent so far: $116.01

My goal for this week is to use as much as I already have, using only the $12 I have in my bag to purchase anything else.

Did I mention I made the last of the coffee this morning?


  1. @the husband

    To your credit, two of the snacks were organic. So. *slow clap*

  2. You can do it!! Andrew (my large, hungry husband) and I spend anywhere from $250-$300 a month on groceries, disproving the argument that organic is expensive. We eat TONS of organic and all natural foods, but buy a lot in bulk at Honest Weight Co-op (grains...and yo, they have bulk farro, baking supplies, granola, etc.). We also buy our produce locally, which surprisingly enough, saves us tons, plus it feels good to support our local farmers. We use coupons and try to buy a lot of sale items, too. Though you have the 2 kiddies, I'm confident you can spend less then $400 a month, especially because of all the homemade goodness you make. Good luck!

  3. I budget about 200 a week for groceries. This includes everything, from planned meals to staples to snacks. I'm amazed that you have enough food in your house to feed two kids all day long on that budget. I tried to keep it under 100 a week but the kids were always starving, it seemed!

  4. @Nancy

    My kids eat ALL. DAY. LONG. But I actually think that this is a key to my success. They usually have a light breakfast (a cup of yogurt with some dry cereal, cereal with milk, toast with jam), then maybe they share a piece of fruit after another hour and a half or so. They like a big lunch (sandwich or noodles, raisins, carrot sticks, chips, juice, a small dessert like a couple of cookies or a small piece of chocolate). The rest of the day is spent snacking. I make a lot of air-popped popcorn! They love fruit, fruit leather, smoothies, cheese sticks. I am now trying to bake something for snacks at least once a week. Yesterday we made pumpkin muffins together, and they love them. I sneak ground flax seed into as much as possible for added nutrition. We buy some snack items in bulk to try to save on cost, coupled with coupons. This month is a great exercise for me because it's really making me see how much money we don't think that we're spending that we actually ARE.