Saturday, October 4, 2008

Are you up for a food challenge?

Citymama is doing a $10 challenge and I’m going to play along. The idea is to make a nutritious meal for a family of 4 for $10 or less. I want to make something that is reflective of the food we eat, rather than making just anything that I know will come in under $10. Not completely decided yet, but it will probably be some kind of stir-fry with either rice or noodles.

Think you can do it? Great! Check out her post for details.

This food challenge has got me thinking about the price of food these days. I have definitely been watching what we spend on groceries. I watch for specials and buy the store brands more often. A couple of weeks back, one of my local grocery stores (I have 4 within 2 miles of my home) had my favorite brand of pasta on special, $0.99 per box, down from $2.49. They put a limit of six, so I went back twice that week and bought six boxes each time. I think I was being smart, but you may think I’m crazy. Either way, I saved $27!

I was in another one of my local stores yesterday. One of the items on my list was bagels, but I just flat out refused when I saw they were $4.99 for a bag of six. Just plain ol’ bagels. Nothing fancy. Not organic. Talk about highway robbery! I ended up not buying them. I would rather wait until I visit one of the other stores, where I knew they’d be at least a dollar less.

What about you? Do you watch what you spend on food? How? Are there foods you don’t buy as often or have stopped buying because of price? I’d love to know.


Lars said...

I got no idea what the prices are in the US, so I'm probably pretty disqualified for this, but actually we are going the exact opposite direction here. I'm trying to start using more money on food; meaning buying better quality and more organic. Instead I'm buying less different things, concentrating dishes on 3-4 ingredienses, and the meat amounts also decreased this way, because you really don't need as much meat, when the taste and texture is better, and we are more and more leaving the meat out altogether. It is so much more rewarding buying and eating without feeling that your are not filling your body with chemicals, taking part in animal cruelty, destroying the planet and on top of it all it just taste better.

Hehe a bit off subject, sorry :)

Mandy said...

Living on my hub's postdoc salary, we are always watching our grocery spending! I don't think it's crazy to go back twice to buy your favorite brand pasta twice in a week at all! I would probably drag my hubs to go with me twice, so we can get 6x2x2 boxes of them! :p
We like to buy our seafood @ asia grocery store, because they are always cheaper, but i bet you already know this. :)

Dee said...

Lars, I think there's a balance to strike, and it's different for every family. Hubby and I have discussed changing the way we eat as well. We switched to grass-fed and naturally raised meats about a year ago. Those beef recalls we had at the time really disturbed me. It does cost more, so we just end up eating less. I also stock up when it's on special :-) Rather than organic all the time, I try to eat locally. Our farmer's markets are teeming with wonderful produce and I want to support them so they can continue to bring me the freshest produce. We have also made a plan to eat no meat 4 days a week. It doesn't sound like much, but it's what works for us. Even with our choices, there is no reason we can not do it on a budget.

Mandy, we are currently down to just one income now and I want to be careful. I always buy Asian ingredients, such as soy sauce or chili sauce, at Asian markets. I saw a bottle of hot sauce at my local market for like $6.00 but at the Asian market it only cost like $2.50! Robbery!

Lars said...

Yeah. I'm all for local, even more than organic. And I'm also always looking for the good deals and stocking up on the good stuff whenever possible too. And making a food plan for the whole week also helps budget a lot.

Stefania/CityMama said...

Oh I am so glad you are playing along! I figure we have it down since Asian food is so damn cheap. Can't wait to see what you come up with!! I'm sure it will be something delicious.

QGIRL said...

I took the challenge! Look for my post.
Groceries are my weekness. I love to shop for food. Recently we decided that we need to cut corners and the grocery budget took the hit. I now try to buy all our groceries (not including formula and diapers) for less than $100 a week. That seems like a lot but we live in the Chicago area, where food costs a lot!
To help keep our budget in check we don't eat out barely at all, we even take lunch to work. I do a lot of the cooking so that in itself challenging since I work 40 hours a week and spend 30 hours a week commuting.
It is hard but doable!

QGIRL said...

Weakness not weekness! ugh.

QGIRL said...

sorry! another error. I commute 3 hours a day/ 15 hours a week. not 30 hours a week.
I need to go to bed now. lol.

Dee said...

qgirl, too funny! I always make mistakes when I comment because my mind is working faster than my fingers, but I rarely go back and correct them :-) I thought 30hr/wk sounded like much, but it could be possible.

I know exactly how challenging it can be for working parents. First finding the time to cook. Then trying to do it on a budget. We spend at least $100 on groceries and I do think it is partly to do with where we live, but also some things I will compromise on and some not. But I do want to bring that number down. We'll see how that goes.

Mike of Mike's Table said...

I try to be mindful of the budget and stick fairly strictly to my grocery list. As I've become more experienced in dabbling with a little bit of everything, I'm much more aware of how some of the prices of things are really outrageous (like the aforementioned bagels). Produce and meat are always a tricky balance though.

dp said...

Mike, speaking of those bagels, we made a trip to Costco, where 12 bagels cost $4.99. We bought 24 of them, which may seem excessive. However, I have an extra freezer. I slice them, wrap them individually and freeze them. We can just grab one and stick it directly into the toaster. It's that easy.