April 2, 2011

The $34.27 Wrap-up: Two Weeks of Pantry, Freezer and Leftover Eating

There are three ways I can think of to feed your family for two weeks but only spend $34.27 at the grocery store:
  1. Eat tuna from the can for fourteen days (I'm obviously still not over that joke).
  2. Buy $240 dollars worth of food, but due to mad couponing and deal-getting skills, only pay $34.27 for them.
  3. Eat up the stuff you already have in your pantry, freezer and fridge. Make some compromises, but mostly eat like you normally do.
As much as I like the tuna joke, I'm going to stop using it (for real this time). Long ago, when Mr and I were first married, I joked once too often that we were eating cat food. And then someone (a kind, sweet, still-anonymous someone) left a box of groceries outside our door.

So: we didn't eat tuna out of a can for two weeks.

You also know how awesome I am not at couponing, even though I have such fantastic help

That leaves option three. Which, for the most part, is what we did. Except usually our food doesn't make faces at us.

We ate awesome things like Spinach and Lemon Pasta, Chicken Pot Pie, Roasted Red Pepper Pasta, Maple Candy, and Naan.

We ate mediocre things like Sesame Roasted Chicken and the subsequent (and tasteless) Asian Chicken Soup.

We ate frankly horrible things like Hard Bean Curry, and The Mayonnaise. My tongue will never forget The Mayonnaise.

We went grocery shopping twice, with lists that were vanishingly small, and got pretty lucky with coupons. (How awesome is it to go grocery shopping with only three things on your list? It's pretty darn awesome, that's how awesome it is.)

We exercised our making do muscles, and resisted the temptation to "just go and buy some more flour, for goodness' sake", as well as to give up and go out to eat at McDonald's (confession: I love McDonald's. Love it. Even after four years of high school employment.)

We used up almost everything that wasn't strictly an ingredient in our cupboard, and this is what was left of the inventory:

We ran out of (or came close to running out of) some things that I don't much care to run out of.

And we spent $41.86, which, if you're as super-bright at math as I am, is not $34.27. It is $7.59 more than $34.27.

But - and here's the part that I can't help but be excited about - it is $198.14 less than what I normally budget for that length of time.

That, my friends, is a win.