OK folks, so my little food stamp grocery challenge continues. This is month two of a long term challenge where I'm seeing how difficult it would be to keep my spending down to the level of the average SNAP benefit in my area, which works out to $137/month.
So the April totals are in...
I spent $137.78! Yes!
OK, so I haven't decided if I should quibble about the $.78 or not, but any way you slice it, I did better than last month when I spent $197.
I finally came up with a price book that seems to be working for me. Many thanks to Debbie for giving me the idea. It's basically just a bunch of scraps of paper held together with a binder clip with colored paper clips marking the start of each section.
It's small enough to fit in my back pocket so I can easily bring it with me, it's easy to add more pages when I need to, and it has the added benefit of being free!
I also made a great discovery. Sprouts, which is the store with some of the best prices on produce, has a double deal day on Wednesdays. It's not that they double the discounts or anything, but the sale prices for the previous and upcoming weeks are both in effect.
This is a great development since there isn't a Sprouts in my neighborhood, so it means I can go less frequently but still take advantage of the sale prices. But wait... it gets better...
I also discovered that they do have a store that's closer to me than the ones I knew about, plus, it's very close to the Costco. Soooo... if I play my cards right, I can combine trips and go only once or twice a month and still take advantage of the great deals!
Aside from getting a better idea of what is and isn't a good deal, I'm really learning a great deal about my shopping and eating habits.
Trying to limit my shopping to the loss leaders and other great sales has helped me to be a bit more creative in the kitchen. It's been fun and refreshing to get out of some of my food ruts. Many thanks to Judy for the wonderful suggestion of chicken cacciatore... it totally rocked!
But I've also discovered that I have a bit of a hoarding mentality when it comes to food. I'm not exactly sure where this comes from... maybe it's a lingering compulsion from the eating disorder of my youth, or anxiety leftover from the days of being extremely broke. But I seem to have this strange urge buy WAY more than I need.
While I did do a better job of not buying ridiculous quantities of things unless it was a great deal - chicken for $0.59/lb, cream cheese at $1/package, pasta at $0.69/lb... I still found that I had this inexplicable guilt about eating things that I'd recently purchased... like it's somehow wasteful or gluttonous to eat something that I just bought.
Hmmm... should I be saving it for the zombie apocalypse or something?
I'm not quite sure what that's all about, so to help myself get over it, instead of "saving" the incredibly cheap frozen peaches, blueberries and pineapple that I got at, of all places the Dollar Tree, I made a delicious fruit salad. I must say it was quite yummy!
So, I think my goals for the month of May are gonna be to do less stocking up - unless, of course, there's a really, REALLY good deal, to try to eat through some of the reserves from the freezer and pantry, and to thoroughly enjoy and use the things that I do buy right away!
If you'd like some inspiration on the freezer/pantry front, go check out Lili's April grocery post. Holy Moly! She fed a family of 5 on $22.54!!! Maybe I'll get there someday...
So how about you? Anybody else have any great grocery revelations this month?