Grocery Budget Challenge
June 25

A few weeks ago on Facebook, somebody posted this.

Fast Food

At first I was irritated. Then I was disgusted. Finally, I was irate.  Are there really people that believe this garbage?  So I commented and obviously what followed was a somewhat heated exchange between two of us who were absolutely horrified at the ridiculousness of this statement and a few others who were defending the statement.  Now don’t get me wrong, we have definitely been through the drive-thru window at times, but my personal opinion is that American kids and adults are obese because people simply are not taking the time to prepare their families healthy and affordable meals.  Yes, even for “busy” families on the go.  I mean seriously. It takes the same amount of time to sit in line at a drive thru as it does to whip up a quick sandwich, fill up a bottle of water and put it in a lunch sack with a piece of fruit.  And if you have to go to fast food, who says you have to buy a bottle of water? Ask for a CUP of water…it’s free! Oh… here’s another idea…have your kid make his/her own sack lunch if you’re too busy!

One opposing opinion on this particular thread was that healthy foods are just so expensive and that families on a budget just can’t afford to eat healthy. Another person posted that they knew a single man who had a meager budget of $176 per month to feed himself and that it was nearly impossible for him to eat healthfully with that little to spend. What? Were these people for real?  So I shared a couple of links showing some price comparisons between one fast food meal for a family of 4 and a homemade meal showing clearly that a healthier homemade meal was cost comparable or even less expensive. Yikes! Did that strike a nerve.  I got my ass handed to me by one person! Here’s where I’m at…eat what you want, but blaming obesity on the cost of food is just plain lazy in my current view.


But, I perhaps I AM naive. I am fortunate enough to not have to have a grocery budget but I also don’t go to the store and go crazy buying everything on the shelves either.  I almost never shop in the inner isles where most of the “cheaper” processed foods are kept but I am certain that I could easily feed myself tons of delicious, fresh and healthy meals on $176 a month. And sure, there’s always going to be someone who has a “special circumstance” when it comes to grocery shopping and cooking for themselves, but I’m talking about an average, able bodied, of normal intelligence person here. No excuses.

Sooooooo…just to prove to myself (and anonymous Facebook person) that I am not completely diluted and idiotic I decided to do my own grocery challenge in July. $400 for my family of 3 ($176 for each adult and a little extra for the child who eats nothing). I’ve been online checking out lots of folks who have done similar challenges. One family did a challenge for $170 for the ENTIRE MONTH! Wow. They did theirs by raiding their pantry and the back of their freezers for “forgotten” food and supplemented it with their $170. So Smart!

I’ve decided to design my challenge similarly, but I want to see how it is to have to start from scratch because I know a lot of people don’t have freezers or pantries full of forgotten food. One of the goals I have for my household is to make it a center of production, not consumption, therefore, I will use what’s already in my pantry and freezer and deduct from my budget what I would have spent at the grocery store.  And it HAS to be primarily lean meats, vegetables & fruits, and whole grains. No Wonder Bread for us.

So here goes! Starting July 1 I’ve got $400 in cash only to spend for the entire month. And I will take the debit card out of my wallet so I don’t cheat. I’m not gonna lie…I’m kind of excited for this! See you next week for an update!