Monday, April 30, 2012

Lisa Walsh with Northwoods - Grocery Shopping

After I agreed to take the challenge, I spent a lot of time thinking about my strategy and what I would plan to eat for the five days. I planned my menu and then went shopping in my pantry. I didn’t want to add to the pile of staples that are usually neglected because I don’t really cook. I put all of those items (with brand names) on my shopping list so I could include the price I’d pay if I’d been buying them. Then, off to the store I went.

Food Stamp Challenge - Lisa's Food
Lisa's grocery purchases

Armed with a list and pen, I decided I should check out the prices of what I had on hand and get the dry goods first. That would let me determine how much money I had remaining to purchase produce. That is exactly the opposite route I usually take. I got the prices for what I had on hand and picked up the other items I had on my list. I was lucky that several items on my list were on sale, which gave me hope that I’d be able to get some extras. Unfortunately, because a couple of things I had on hand were brand name items, I ended up spending more of my budget than I would have if I’d chosen anther brand, especially the store brand. But, in good news, I discovered that the items I buy in bulk, like rice and popcorn, really are cheaper even if you are buying a smaller amount.

Then I decided to see what I would be able to do about caffeine, and that is when I realized I’d have to make some adjustments. I thought about it and realized that the reason I drink coffee is really because I get a coffee confection. I like the flavored, steamed, fancy drinks. The other times I drink coffee is just to get my caffeine fix. So, I checked out the price of tea bags and will break my coffee habit in the next week.
Lisa's list. She only went 40 cents over budget!

Food Stamp Challenge - Lisa's list
Lisa's shopping list

Here is my shopping list – with prices.  I went 40 cents over the $23 limit.

It took me a lot longer to shop today than usual, and I spent significantly less than I usually do. I also stuck to my list a lot more closely than usual. It is a good thing that I didn’t have to purchase condiments and spices though. And, I didn’t get any cheese or dairy. I won’t miss the milk (don’t tell my mom), but I suspect I am going to wish I’d allocated some funding for cheese.

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