I've spent $13.36 so far, and here's what I've been able to get for that:
- 8 oranges
- 3 dozen eggs
- 6 large cucumbers
- 4 large onions
- 2 avocados
- 3 Granny Smith apples (blech, these are for CatMan)
- 1 watermelon (12.5 lbs)
Wow! That seems rather incredible even to me! I think the bargain spotting skills that I've been refining throughout March and April have really paid off this month.
I had high hopes of making the cucumbers last longer, since I use one in each salad that I make for dinners with CatMan. Unfortunately they kept going soft on me and I had to use them up. I did discover that you can prolong their life a bit by chopping them up and marinating them in vinegar & sugar to make "refrigerator pickles." It was a great way to extend their shelf life, and they do taste remarkably like bread and butter pickles. Unfortunately, pickles don't really taste that great in salads!
At any rate, I still have 5 oranges and a quarter of the watermelon left, plus one apple for CatMan. The onions haven't been touched (I bought those before the $21 challenge officially began, totally forgetting that the garden scallions would be available.) I've still got 15 fresh eggs and a dozen hard boiled, so I think I'm good in that department.
The frozen cauliflower and green beans have been eaten up, but I still have the enormous bag of stir fry veggies, the frozen spinach, frozen green chilies, and a small bag of mixed veggies - plus some frozen corn. And I haven't touched the frozen cranberries yet.
Sooo... with the $7.64 remaining in my budget here are my plans:
$3.24 will go toward stuff for the one remaining nice dinner that CatMan and I have planned this month. I've got everything I need to make the lasagna, but need to buy veggies (cauliflower and asparagus are the only two he'll eat) and salad fixins.
- $1 for 3 red bell peppers at Sprouts Market (we'll only use one in the salad - the rest will be for my salads)
- $.50 for another avocado at the Save-a-Lot store
- $.34 for another cucumber at the Save-a-Lot store
- $.40 for a small container of plain yogurt to make CatMan's favorite salad dressing
- $1 for a bag of frozen cauliflower
That leaves me with $4.40 that isn't yet spoken for. I have the hunch I may splurge on some cherries that are on sale while I'm at Sprouts... we'll see.
So, that's the update, now for the dilemma.
As I was cruising the grocery ads yesterday, I discovered that chicken leg quarters are on sale for $.49/lb in 10 pound bags! Now, I don't really "need" more chicken. I still have one 10 lb bag in the freezer and another defrosting in the fridge with plans to make teriyaki chicken, green chili stew, and something yet to be determined - maybe I'll just roast it to have on hand for whatever.
But... $0.49/lb is a real deal... probably the best deal of the year, and I'd really like to stock up now so I don't have to spend more to buy it later. So I'm torn.
If I stock up on chicken, that will totally blow my $21 challenge. But really, this $21 month is a "challenge within a challenge" as my broader goal is to see if I can keep my average monthly grocery bill down to $137/month (the food stamp level). And stocking up on chicken while it's on sale will really help keep the grocery bills low over the next few months. Soooo, do I sacrifice one challenge for another?
I have to admit that I'm leaning toward buying some chicken and just not counting it in terms of the $21 challenge - I mean, I wouldn't be buying it to eat it this month, so it really doesn't ruin the spirit of the thing. Or maybe I'm just trying to justify it...
Anyhow, what do you think? Should I cheat and buy the chicken or stay true to the $21 challenge?