Sunday, January 4, 2009

...And so it begins

I've often said that I could feed my family well on $200 in groceries each month so that's where this year will start for us. Granted my family is 1 adult and 1 ten year old boy that lives with me 1/2 the time but nonetheless many people believe this will be impossible or wonder how I can do it...well although a daunting challenge I believe it is a challenge worth taking.

I have read where one couple decided to try and live on $1 each per day for food and were able to pull this off but had to give up the things that keep us healthy such as fresh foods; fruits & vegetables. I have no desire to do this. What we eat must be good for us, our diet must consist of variety and fresh food is a big part of that.

Now going into this we know that I have food in the freezer right now and food in the pantry as well as staples such as Tabasco and Old Bay seasoning. I'm not going to clear everything out and throw it away as that would be not only wasteful but downright silly. In order to work through this I plan to take the average of the first 3 months of 2009 and see if indeed this can be done.

Also, I understand this to be a guideline and I know that one week I may spend $70 and the next $30 or some such thing but I will be doing my best to watch sales and experiment with new and less expensive cuts of meat as well as work with the majority of fruit and veggies while they are in season. This does not mean that I will change my basics of having frozen peas, corn or chopped spinach but I intend to clean out the freezer and have no more than what can be contained in the door most of the time.

Secondly, we have set a goal for no dining out for the month of January; this means no prepared foods from the grocery deli sections (other than cheese and cured meats, really there has to be a limit to this experiment). This goal may continue on a monthly basis or may continue on in some other modified capacity such as once per month, once per paycheck, etc.

Third, and those of you that know me understand this will be tough...I'm budgeting $50 per month for alcohol. That's right, it's over and above the $200 but if you think about it it's really only about $12 per week so even a moderate bottle of wine will eat that up in a hurry and I'm supposed to drink that much a week for my health at minimum right?

Today is the 4th day of the month and so far I have spent $34.71 on groceries. I believe this will be enough to last until next weekend when I will again need to head to the grocery to supplement what I already have on hand. We did go out for a last restaurant meal on 12/31; Lunchbox Laboratory for fine gourmet burgers. Not cheap but ohhhh so good. Henry even proclaimed his 1/2 lb fresh ground grass finished beef with bacon, cheddar and BBQ sauce to be the "best burger I've ever eaten". I must proclaim that my 1/2 lb freshly ground grass finished beef burger with balsamic onions and gorgonzola with a side of garlic pepper tater tots (served in an All Clad casserole of all things) to be a mighty fine sendoff to a month of no dining out as well. Here are some comments from the eaters at Don't forget to check out the photos...

So as I finish this up and head off to savor my glass of 06 Coffaro Estate Cuvee and warm up some chili from earlier in the week, I bid you adieu and ask for you well wishes and lucky thoughts to be with us on this journey. Remember though it will probably be more healthy (less sodium and refined foods) and it will need to be fresh. If it doesn't taste good though it doesn't really fit this idea at all...


  1. Please keep us posted... Good subject to write on. I'm sure there are many people who would love to do this but need a case study to follow, one such as yours.

    All the best.

  2. Very interesting. In this day of high prices it will be very challanging. Lots of luck to you. Mum

  3. I am really looking forward to following your journey. As we have discussed I am trying to do something similar with my family but as of yet I have not really been able to motivate myself to fully jump with both feet....