Lately I have been reading a lot about the $30 challenge. Have you heard of it?
Basically it challenges you to live on $30 a week grocery budget for 2 people. Many say it can not be done. Others say it can - but oh how boring it would be.
Most challenges I see also ASSUME that you would have absolutely nothing already in your home. REALLY?
I well imagine that everyone would have a few basics laying around. A few spices, an additional can or two of veggies or fruit, some type of meat in the freezer, or something they have grown themselves. I don't know anyone that has nothing - but I am sure it happens more than we would like to admit.
I decided to take the challenge (pretend). This week when I was out running errands, I kept track of 'my pretend purchases' and I came home and made up a menu for the entire week. Most of my 'purchases' were from Aldi and the Dollar Tree, with a couple other sale items from the grocery. Just as a disclaimer - Indiana does NOT charge sales tax on edible items at the grocery - so I had no sales tax to add in.
40 oz. box of baking mix 2.09
20 oz. loaf of bread .85
2 packs of sliced chipped beef .98
Frozen leg quarters 80 oz. 4.69
Box Mac N Cheese .39
1 pkg. pasta 1.00
3 lb. bag rice 1.49
Tuna - 1 can .65
3 bags frozen veggies (.89 ea.) 2.67
corn, peas, beans
DOLLAR TREE purchases each item $1.00
1 lb. bag dry beans
16 oz. quick oats
24 oz. syrup
bag of frozen hash browns
10 oz. roll of sausage (frozen)
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
24 oz. can spaghetti sauce with meat
Apples 3lb. bag 1.99
1 lb. bananas .45
2 lb. bag whole carrots .99
3 lb. bag onions 1.00
Lunch meat 1.00
I would cut up and cook one apple to add to oats on occasion, maybe add banana or a bit of syrup
Pancakes would also be made for variety
Rice topped with syrup (or butter and sugar if you have some)
PBJ sandwiches or lunchmeat sandwiches. Add a piece of fruit or carrot sticks
Maybe some leftovers from dinner
*Cheesy tuna casserole (mac n cheese and tuna). Could add some frozen peas. Green beans and biscuits (mix)
*Spaghetti and toast
*Chipped beef gravy and biscuits - hash browns
*Chicken and rice soup. Cook chicken in water (for broth), add rice and diced carrots, peas, onions, or whatever else you have. Hopefully get 2 meals each from this.
*Chili - using some of dry beans, sausage, and crushed tomatoes. Hopefully have seasonings on hand. Should get 2 meals each.
Beans and rice (seasoned with your seasonings) and fried chicken and biscuits
I might fry up some apples for a treat if any left. I may have Jello I could add a banana to.
Mix some syrup and peanut butter together for a tasty treat.
With these supplies, I would have rice, carrots, onions, baking mix, syrup, and probably some chicken leftover for next week (no way we would eat 5 lbs. in a week). Next week other items could be added to extend these and whatever else I have on hand. I could hopefully add eggs or milk, or maybe some fresh salad veggies, or cheese - WATCH THE SALES.
Just watching sales and shopping at the cheapest places can enable you to eat well for minimal money. This would give the average person a chance to save extra money for paying off debt or saving or whatever goal they have in mind. It may just be a very lean time in your life. This is just to prove it is VERY doable.
I know most everyone who may be reading this, would have other items at home that could be added to the meals, whether it be frozen, canned, or garden fresh.
Just a reminder that the dollar stores also sell just about any other supplies you may need. Shampoo, conditioner, shampoo, soap, deodorant, cleaning supplies, laundry soap, dish soap, plastic wrap, foil, tea bags (100/$1), and even small bags of sugar, flour, and all spices, etc. ALL for $1.
Hope this makes everyone think about how they spend, and how they can spend less. We are truly blessed to have what we do have.
Maybe you can pass this info on to someone else who it truly will help.
**EDIT - I keep thinking of things I could make with the above items. Chicken pot pie, waffles and fried chicken, apple pie, onion rings, stir fry - oh, somebody stop me. YUM