My $20 a week challenge
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    Registered User melodys's Avatar
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    Default My $20 a week challenge

    I have been overspending lately and it's time to hop back on the frugal wagon. I've decided to cut down my food spending for two people for the next four weeks from $100 to $20. It is not as dramatic as it sounds because my summer CSA share just started so I'll get fresh produce weekly that is already paid for. Also, I have a well stocked pantry that needs to be eaten and some food in the fridge to start with. We eat mostly vegetarian so don't need meat. I can bake and will also get out my yogurt maker. Every weekend I will post my menu plan and money spent in this thread to keep me honest. Does anyone want to join me?

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    not just yet but I did want to validate. I did a dairy only thing awhile back and its very doable on $20 a week. It was milk,cheese,butter.cottage cheese/sour creme. I also threw in eggs. I didn't buy all every week. Cheese I got sale and froze. Butter and stick marg. too. I got big tubs of country crock at Sams. Eggs,cottage cheese and sour creme at Kroger on sale. We are not much on Yogurt. And we don't keepice cream in the house (as a safety diet precaution).
    I am just finishing my stockpile or I would join you. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Registered User melodys's Avatar
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    Here is my accountability post -
    Grocery bill this week: $6.18 (got $6.32 off the bill due to a grocery rebate program at my local store which kept the cost low)

    I will make bread tomorrow (had to buy some flour) and will make yogurt tonight (got a cup of plain yogurt for a starter)

    Menu for the week:
    Breakfasts:
    breakfast burritos that I will make ahead and freeze (ingredients already on hand)
    Yogurt and fruit smoothies with peanut butter (will make yogurt this weekend and have home canned fruit on hand)
    steal cut oats cooked overnight in a crockpot (from the pantry)

    Lunches:
    Green salads with egg, cheese, nuts, or baked tofu for protein (mostly from the CSA, some items from grocery store)
    Peanut butter and jam sandwiches (will make bread tomorrow, have PB and J on hand)

    Dinners:
    1.) Chard, beans and cheese casserole (found a recipe online, chard from the CSA, beans in the pantry, and I bought the cheese)
    on Brown rice (from the pantry)

    2.) Kale and yam salad with baked tofu (kale from the CSA, yam on hand, shelf stable tofu on hand)

    3.) 3 bean soup and biscuits (all ingredients for soup on hand, homemade biscuit mix in the fridge)

    4.) Roasted vegies and tofu (from the fridge and pantry)

    5.) Stuffed zucchini and stove top stuffing (on hand and in the pantry)

    Leftovers a couple of nights, fresh and canned fruit and yogurt for snacks, and a nice bottle of wine is waiting for me in the fridge. Maybe I'll bake some cookies (from pantry ingredients) this weekend for desserts.

    Whew, I think that about covers it. Not too bad if I say so myself

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    Registered User Buckeye5's Avatar
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    wow, wish I could, but there is no way I could do this challenge. going to keep checking in to see how it goes!! Good luck!!

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    Registered User melodys's Avatar
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    Whelp, ran into a little detour. My son has a friend visiting for a day as he makes his way from California to a fishing industry job in Alaska. What I didn't expect is that they would go to the grocery store and pick up a bit of snack food. It's completely understandable, but it was not quite in my plan.

    The yogurt turned out OK, could be better and I need to refresh my skills in that area. Bread is rising and hopefully will be good.

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    Looking forward to your posts. I think that you will do just fine going by your menu. It's always interesting to see how other people manage things.

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    Registered User melodys's Avatar
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    Something pretty good/interesting came out of my experiment today. It was roasted vegies for dinner and I had a couple of beets to toss in. In keeping with the idea of not wasting anything I looked up beet greens and realized that they were edible. I had always tossed them in the past. Boiled for 5 minutes then drained, added salt, pepper, a pat of butter, a splash of red wine vinegar, and some pine nuts, they were delicious. I'll never throw them away again.

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    TDN
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    Your meals sound great! Any chance you can share how you bake your tofu. I keep trying different ways but none I would do a second time. I am looking for a firm, chewy texture, I like it a bit crunchy on the outside too.

    I am doing something similar right now, trying to use up a lot of what is on hand, I spent $24 this week which is great for me( 2 people here) I am not liking having such large amounts of food that my freezers are crammed completely full. Trying to use it down then I am going to shop differently.

    Good luck! Love reading your posts!

  10. #9
    Registered User melodys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TDN View Post
    Your meals sound great! Any chance you can share how you bake your tofu. I keep trying different ways but none I would do a second time. I am looking for a firm, chewy texture, I like it a bit crunchy on the outside too.
    Unfortunately, that is something I have never figured out how to do. My tofu never comes out great either

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    Registered User melodys's Avatar
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    For the first time in several weeks I stopped by my library. Picked up two cookbooks - one is Amish recipes which sounds like good simple healthy food hopefully I can find recipes in there to make out of my pantry ingredients, and the other is kale recipes. Kale is not my favorite food and I get a lot of kale and other greens out of the CSA.

    We usually keep juice in the house and that won't be happening for a while. But I did find a large container of unopened lemon juice, so I made some yummy lemonade. Just right for the warm sunny days ahead.

    Keeping it real. My son spent $24.34 on junk food with his friend. So we blew past this week's budget, but we talked and he is now onboard with the plan.

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    Registered User melodys's Avatar
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    Here is my menu for the week:

    Breakfast -
    yogurt and fruit smoothies
    oatmeal
    waffles and vegetarian sausage links

    Lunches -
    left overs
    PB&J sandwiches
    salads

    snacks
    Cheese and canned fruit

    Dinners
    Mexican style Beans and Rice + salad
    3 bean soup and sourdough bread
    Stir fry napa cabbage and tofu with rice
    Pasta with swiss chard + deviled eggs
    canned baked beans and cornbread + salad

    Dessert
    bake cookies from ingredients on hand

    I have most of the stuff on hand. I am making sourdough and wheat bread this weekend. Also need to make more yogurt. Sadly, I got caught by a couple more surprises. I joined a wine club several months ago and the first shipment happens to come this week. Also, I ordered a HelloFresh meal box at a deep discount then cancelled for several weeks but did not entirely unsubscribe and I got a surprise box coming this week. That was pretty dumb of me so I canceled now. Between the two of those that is my usual $100 per week grocery bill. I'll get good use of them, and I think I can extend my experiment by at least another week to make up for it in the end.

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    Registered User melodys's Avatar
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    I just spent $17.52 at the grocery store. I messed up making the sourdough bread and forgot about the starter on the counter. Will just make honey-wheat bread this evening.

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    Registered User Raiquee's Avatar
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    Beet greens are the exact same thing as Swiss chard. Swiss chard was developed from beets to not grow a root and have leafier greens! go you on this challenge! I may join you once the garden produces! How long are you doing this for?

  15. #14
    Registered User melodys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiquee View Post
    Beet greens are the exact same thing as Swiss chard. Swiss chard was developed from beets to not grow a root and have leafier greens! go you on this challenge! I may join you once the garden produces! How long are you doing this for?
    I had no idea on the relationship between beet greens and Swiss chard. That is interesting.

    At first I was thinking of going four weeks, but I have hardly made a dent and I am three weeks in. So probably at least two months. I want to eat up my stockpile both to save a bit of money and to not have it go to waste.

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    Registered User melodys's Avatar
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    My grocery bill this week was $31.47.

    I am having family over for brunch today, so I bought orange juice, fresh fruit, extra eggs and sausage for that which pushed me well over $20. I am making zucchini bread and muffins this morning and will be making Amish white bread this afternoon.

    Recipes for this week.

    Breakfast:
    Zucchini muffins and yogurt
    open faced egg and cheese sandwiches
    oatmeal with walnuts

    Lunches:
    salads (CSA ingredients)
    leftovers
    PB&J sandwiches

    Snacks:
    canned fruit in juice (from pantry)
    cheddar cheese cubes
    almonds (from pantry)

    Dinners:
    Black bean cakes with avocado and salad (from my HelloFresh oops box)
    Flatbread with tomato, mozzarella and pesto (HelloFresh)
    Red Quinoa and vegetable salad (HelloFresh)
    Grilled cheese sandwiches and soup (bean soup from yesterday, homemade bread, and cheese that I bought last week)
    mushroom ravioli with white sauce and sautéed greens (raviolis in the freezer, homemade white sauce, greens from CSA)

    Dessert:
    pineapple angel food cake (from pantry canned pineapple and angel food cake box)

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