Years ago when I read The Tightwad Gazette, Amy Dacycyzn advocated looking at your grocery patterns as a way to lower your overall expenditures because it is something you do have some control over. In some ways, we have lost a bit of our ability to do that because of our food intolerances, but we have made up for it by making most of our food from scratch.
As regular readers know, I don’t use many coupons for groceries. We eat mostly organic, made from scratch foods with the bulk of our groceries coming from Costco, Trader Joe’s and our meat and veggie CSAs along with the 1/2 side of beef we buy yearly.
Lately, I have wondered about our grocery costs, specifically, is it possible for our family of 5 to spend no more than the U.S.D.A.’s Thrifty Plan guidelines and still eat organic foods?
Using the U.S.D.A.’s guidelines from January 2012, our family, composed of a 2 year old, 3 year old, and an 8 year old in addition to me and my husband, should spend no more than $156.30 per week, or $8,127.60 per year.
We try to eat organic about 75% of the time, including our meat. We have milk and soy food intolerances, so we typically drink rice and almond milk.
Even though we rarely use coupons, eat mostly organic and have food intolerances, can we get by only spending $156.30 per week for a year? That is the challenge.
This challenge will begin today, July 13, 2012. I will record everything I spend on groceries and take pictures and share here every other Friday how I am doing.
Here is how I plan to stay within the thrifty budget plan for the year:
-Make all of our breads from scratch
-Investigate and begin buying some of our grains in bulk
-Have two pantry challenge months during the fall and winter
-Have two meatless dinners a week
-Buy in bulk at Costco
-Try to buy in season
-Avoid food waste
Advantages I currently have:
I have already paid for our two vegetable CSAs as well as our meat CSAs, which we will continue to receive through early October. Initially, that may skew my grocery spending lower than it normally would be. However, we will be buying the same CSAs again in the spring, so our expenditures will be much higher then.
Do you think it is possible to meet this challenge?
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