Sunday, July 26, 2009

Grocery Challenge - At the halfway point

Slightly past the halfway point for the year, but I'm making progress on dropping the regular weekly grocery budget for the family into the range I tried out for one month last year. Getting my weekly shopping information into Google Docs has taken a while. I put all the weekly totals into a spreadsheet, and found I lost my ability to add a list of numbers properly, at least by the old paper & pencil methods. Somewhere over the last six months, I'd gotten off by about $40. Not sure if it was an incident (or three) of reversing numbers in transfer, or if the children and old age are taking their toll by erasing the basics of addition from my mind.

As far as errors go, it's a good one. My botched YTD was higher than the correct number, so I'm glad to admit it. I'm not going to go back through every single shopping trip, item by item. But, I will pop a snapshot of the year so far right here:

I haven't managed to get the weekly average below the target of $25/person (or less), but I'm getting closer. With the last few weeks of summer, there's a bit more "junk" food than there will be once school starts. Popsicles for handing to kids during outside chores in the heat. Ice cream and cones - so I can easily head off requests for $2-3 frozen treats at the pool. Single serve snacks, juice boxes and pre-sliced apples for hikes, bike rides or mommy pool camp. Between those items and the fact I'm shopping with the children throughout the summer, I look forward to the totals continuing to drop over the next few months.

The ongoing "try something new" suppers are a big part of the difference. By treating a few meals each week as experimental dinners and letting the kids make suggestions for how recipes can be altered to make dishes more kid-friendly, we're finding ways for everyone to eat the same meal, though sometimes with slight kid/grownup variations. I'm not cooking two completely separate dinners very often anymore. If I have a hankering for a really spicy curry dish, or something they've tried and truly disliked (like the pan-crisped deviled eggs on french lettuces), they get cheesy pasta and veggies. Other than the snacks mentioned above, we really don't have much in the way of heavily processed foods.

Here's the weekly lists for the last few weeks. I know the YTD and average don't match up... like I said, my math skills are not what they once were. Thankfully, there's technology to make up for my failings.
Week 28 - $96.67
Week 29 - $91.78
Week 30 - $106.33
Week 31 - $102.58

**Shoot. Along with my diminishing math skills, I've also forgotten how to correctly set up a batch of images for conversion. Will need to grab the last week and add to post in a bit.

1 comment:

Slamdunk said...

Simply being able to have a goal and track your progress is inspiration enough as you as many "hats" as anyone. My fav excuse "I am too busy" holds less weight everytime I read your posts on these topics.

Keep up the good work--though anything that you save probably will go to a government aid project anyway.