Final Day of the $25/wk challenge! Did I make it? And some musings…

3 Oct

On the very last day of the @cbnickras $25/wk challenge, I had only $1.59 to make it on–yikes! Remember, I’m a picky eater (no beans, lentils or rice for me), and the object was not to feel deprived, but indeed satisfied. One problem–food was low, for I didn’t reach the market till today.

Breakfast 45 cents

A Thomas’s English muffin (bought at a bargain as previously described) for 28 cents, plus a small dollop of peanut butter–about 15 cents worth. Iced tea for two cents. Total?45 cents.

Four containers of fruit for a $2 total late today at the West Side Market!

Lunch 17 cents

Held lunch down to a quick Lipton’s Ring O Noodle chicken soup, as previously described–17 cents. Water to drink.

Dinner 97 cents

I went to the market, and got an unbelievable 8 lbs of Roma tomatoes for $5. That allowed me to make a pasta dish for a lower price than my Dave’s Market tomato-based dishes earlier in the week. I made spaghetti to the tune of 50 cents, then made a slightly different sauce from fresh, cut-up ingredients. With 25 cents worth of tomatoes, onion, a habanero pepper and a little oil, I chopped all ingredients finely, and fried them in oil, adding plenty of basil and a little salt. By the time the spaghetti was off the boil, this peppery pasta topping was ready. Served with two cents’ worth of iced tea, dinner hearty, filling and spicy. That was LOTS of spaghetti–believe me, I don’t stint with pasta. And, as shall be outlined in a separate post today, I got a huge bargain on cut up fruit–four containers for two dollars. I had twenty cents’ worth of pineapple as dessert! All for a dinner total of 97 cents

and yes, came in for a week’s total of EXACTLY $25! Woohoo!

This was a great experiment. It mirrored my usual eating habits fairly closely, but without my usual snacks. Somewhat less fruit at the end of the week due to shopping access, and less salad than usual–if I had bought all my fruit and veg at the West Side Market, and had actually stocked in advance, there would have been salads and fruit galore. If I used cheaper cuts of meat and poultry, costs would have allowed for some extras, too–but I prefer deboned, skinned chicken breasts and ground sirloin. If I had actually planned all this in advance, I could have had more variety with more freezeables. And with that in mind, I think I’ll do some other challenges in future.

What if I DID go  shopping with just $25 and was restricted to that for the entire week (not counting spices and condiments)? A different set of conditions, where planning becomes critical. What if I wanted to plan a special dinner for four–with just ten or fifteen dollars? Maybe you can challenge me to some other variations.

I wish you would. I really learned a lot from this exercise. I grew up with the idea that, however much you might budget yourself on clothes, you should buy the food you wanted–so I never really tracked how much a week’s worth of eating cost, just how much I spent at the grocery store. It became clear that judicious planning could bring my grocery bill way down. While I don’t know that I’d want to hold it at $25 each week, I now know I could, without a sense of deprivation. And if I challenge myself to different dishes (or at least main courses) per day for a week another time, I could fill my freezer for much tastier “I’m home from work, what can I eat days.” Hope you enjoyed eating with me (ice cream cools the peppered tongue better than anything–good thing I didn’t need any!)

Dinner   1.00 quick stew

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