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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Day 29: July Food Challenge $1/person/meal/day Looking Towards Next Month

Found today: red velvet ant
aka "the cow killer"
Money spent: $0 (did you expect to read otherwise?)
So, the last couple of days, The Spouse and I have been reviewing "what's on hand" and "what to buy grocery-wise next month."
It is interesting because almost NONE of the staples that I bought based off of Mr. Money Moustache's list of his family's staples were actually things we used (except eggs and cheese). Several things on his list have not even been opened. So, we certainly aren't buying those things for the next long, long while.

Instead, we made a list of what are actually OUR family staples.
Now granted, having a basic list of staples with which to make nutritious, healthy food in the house is important, so OK, we started there. And maybe he meant all along that you rotate each month what your "staples" are. Maybe, he even says that somewhere, but I must have missed that useful post. And I'm sure the things we have on hand will eventually be fully consumed, but on a month-to-month basis, our family's staple list is different the Senor Mustache.
And yours would be, too.
So, for August the list will be more "us." It'll have more bacon and more tomato soup. More green beans and no (additional) rice, potatoes, or oatmeal. It'll have more applesauce and eggs and yogurt and not quite so many carrots. We now know exactly how much milk, bread, cereal, and eggs we actually use in a month. We didn't know that before this adventure. Three gallons of milk A WEEK? Two loaves of bread each week. For the month: five cans of tomato/marinara sauce? Almost seven POUNDS of cheese? Six dozen eggs? 1.5 gallons of ice cream? Three bags of cereal? 20+ pounds of fresh vegetables. Nine pounds of meat. Nope. Had no idea.

And as happy as I am that we are going to have mastered this moustachian challenge for July 2016, for our family of five, with me on a restrictive food plan, we are not obligated to adhere to the $1/1/1 beyond Sunday when the challenge is ended.

Will we stay under $700/mo?
Absolutely! There are; however, several bulk items that I buy for my food plan that I am going to continue to purchase. It gives me joy and makes me able to keep doing what I'm doing these last four years and not weigh in at 300# (or more)! I've done the math and figured out how much per month those average out to, and it's about $65/mo.

We could put it in another category dubiously called the "Fat Tamer" fund or "Anti-Obesity" fund or "Remove-at-your-Peril" fund or the "IMAHANH" account (if mama ain't happy...) Just to give you an idea: one of those things is instant coffee. Don't judge me. The Spouse prefers coffee more mindfully prepared (read espresso). I like sugar-free flavoring in my cheap-o coffee. Our family budget can support those preferred items, but not on $1/1/1... I tried. We ran out of coffee. Even instant. It was not a good day.

So, for our family, we're going to hover around the $515 - $525/mo. That will still be a family savings of $175 each month (or more) from our past grocery bills. It will also remove the "freak out" factor from my day-to-day life.

Resolving that has taken up a lot of brain power, because the "competitive, good girl" in me wants to prove over and over again that I am just as good as anybody on any challenge. Yeah, whatever, Sassy Pants! My family, my food addictions, my kiddos, my life... it can be "good enough" as The Spouse and I mutually determine.

Come September, we may refine it even more. After all, school starts in six days. There's about to be a major change in routine.
The main thing that has happened is that we are no longer living in money oblivion.
I am now conscious of where the money is actually going, and fully acknowledging how much money we were pouring into food and into convenience purchases in the past.