July 28, 2012

Pantry Challenge: Week Four, Final Report

Whew!  What a busy week!  We have been scrambling like mad trying to get everything done before our summer intern leaves in two weeks.  We are really going to miss him.  It is so much fun to work with enthusiastic people.  We have several hours of work ahead of us this morning, and then tonight we are going into town to see The Dark Knight Rises.  I'm not sure what we'll eat yet, probably leftovers for lunch and fast food for dinner.  

This month I didn't meet my goal of staying under $300, but it will be under $400.  We ate well.  In fact, it really didn't hurt at all to see how little we could spend.  The sad thing is, we did not buy any meat, eggs, or cheese with that money.  If it costs that much to feed my family of four (okay, sometimes it's more like 6 when I feed our summer intern) without buying the essentials I just listed, how do poor people survive?  I guess the answer is really cheap, processed garbage.  

Two days ago my husband was looking through the fridge and he exclaimed, "We are out of everything!"  Although we still have quite a bit of food in our house, we are out of a lot of things that we use often: butter, coconut milk, liquid dish soap, tortillas, dried fruit, chocolate.  Amazingly, we still have paper towels!  I might have to pick up some butter, soap, tortillas, and chocolate tonight.  Those are essentials at our house!  It's also discomforting to see how little meat is in our freezer.  My hubby took out the last pack of hamburger (the last pack of steaks was hidden, fortunately) a couple of days ago.  We've decided to buy a pig to butcher ourselves.  I'm excited because we don't eat much pork, so this will be a treat!  And I'm excited to fill up the deep freeze again!

Here's what we ate this week:

July 22: lunch was grilled hot dogs, corn, fresh salad, and peaches; dinner was leftover hamburger macaroni and sauteed white asparagus
July 23: lunch was frozen meat and veggie stir-fry for me, leftovers for hubby and kids; dinner was another stir-fry for me, and turkey pot pie for hubby and kids
July 24: I think we ate leftovers for lunch; I think dinner was grilled round steak- it was a really busy day!

July 25: dinner was salmon patties and salad, not sure what we had for lunch

July 26: lunch was pork ribs with corn, salad, bread with butter, and green beans; dinner was zucchini stuffed with italian sausage and red sauce, corn, salad, bread with butter

July 27: lunch was tuna fish sandwiches for the family, leftover paleo stir-fry for me; dinner was crockpot roast with potatoes

What I've learned from this pantry challenge:

1) Potatoes rock your budget!  They are the cheapest food, per pound (when a 10 lb bag costs $3, that's $.30 a pound).  They are a versatile, gluten-free, whole food.

2) We have alot of food in this house.

3) I tend to buy too much, and to buy things I'll never use (none of us like garbanzo beans, so why did I have a can in my pantry?)

4) We spend alot in part because my husband insists on brand-name items, and that adds up quickly.

4) I'm really blessed to have my own meat and eggs.

5) Fresh produce is pricey in my area, even when it's in season.

6) Clean spaces in my house make me happy!  An awesome side effect of cleaning out my pantry and freezer has been the motivation to clean other areas of my house.  I have cleaned out our family closet, lots of drawers and several cabinets.  It's so nice to open a drawer or cabinet and actually be able to tell what's in there, instead of having to sort through junk to find what I'm looking for.

I continue to express gratitude to my dad for buying me a propane grill.  We have used it so much these past few weeks, since it has been so hot!  It's also a lifesaver when the power goes out, which happens quite frequently out here.

What next?
I'm definitely going to do another pantry challenge in January, and I'm going to continue tracking my grocery spending.  We will continue using cloth napkins.  I'm also going to ask my husband's grandma to get me a subscription to the Sunday paper for the coupons.  I will still feed my family mostly fresh produce and meat, and continue to slowly replace the gluten-containing junk for gluten free.  Also, I need to clean out the deep freezers in the bunkhouse and my mother-in-law's house before we buy that pork.

I am planning a 30 day Paleo Challenge starting August 1st.  I have been so lax about my nutrition during this pantry challenge and I'm just looking forward to getting back to feeling good.  This is also the perfect time because there is so much delicious produce in season.  I'll blog about it in hopes of inspiring others to try eating Paleo.


Grace J. said...

Sounds like you did an awesome job with your pantry challenge! I've never even heard of Paleo, so I'm excited to hear about it!

Dem said...

Thanks Grace! I'm excited to share with you!