So I could never figure out how to do the challenge without completely changing the way I cook and shop, and/or letting a bunch of stuff in the fridge go uneaten... which I'm Not about to do!
But Lili shops the same way I do, only she's MUCH better at it. So I got all inspired and figured I'd start by actually tracking what I spend on food for a month and see how it compares to the food stamp budget.
|Can't wait to see this film, BTW|
So, in the state of Colorado the average monthly food stamp benefit is $137 per person. Now, I suppose the fact that CatMan is here only about 1-2 days per week sorta throws a wrench into the calculations right off the bat, but I'll worry about that later. At the moment I just want to figure out how much I'm spending normally.
So for the month of March I'm gonna shop "frugal/normal" which means that I'm not going to go to any extreme lengths, but I'll abstain from buying $3/pound grapes flown in from Chile or treating myself to smoked salmon or pistachio nuts... you get the picture.
I figure this will give me a good baseline for comparisons. So I went shopping yesterday and spent a total of about $33.
I stopped at the Asian market because I'm getting low on my favorite shaoxing cooking wine, and discovered (much to my delight) that they had great prices on produce, and a whole bunch of other things... though I might need a translator in certain aisles!
I mostly stuck to the produce section and the only challenge will be that things came pre-packaged in rather large quantities, so I'm gonna have to eat a lot of veggies in order to use it all up!
Then I stopped at my neighborhood King Soopers (Kroger) to get some yummy organic Fuji apples for only $1/pound! And while I was there picked up a package of chicken leg quarters for $.79/pound. I can actually get them much cheaper at the discount grocery store if I'm willing to wait for the sales and buy them in 10lb bags... (they're usually around $5 for the bag) but, I'm trying to clean out the freezer at the moment so that's off the table.
ANYHOW... this brings me to the "Easily Entertained" part (you knew I'd get there eventually, didn't you?) At the moment I'm sitting in front of the oven watching my chicken roast through my newly cleaned oven window. I chopped up some potatoes, a sweet potato, an onion and one of the many winter squashes lurking in the basement, added some olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary and am thoroughly enjoying the sight, sound and smell of it all roasting.
I hope this doesn't offend any of you vegetarians out there, but there's something primally satisfying about the spitting sound of roasting chicken. Plus, it's the warmest spot in the house, and I'm having fun playing with the "gesture keyboard" (think handwriting detection) on my new tablet.
The chicken cost a total of $3.50 and the rest I already had on hand... should give me dinners for at least a week. We'll see how this goes...
So how about you? Do you know what you usually spend each month on groceries? Have you ever tried a food stamp challenge? And tell me about all of your techniques for frugal grocery shopping! Inquiring minds want to know!