Monday, November 3, 2008

Can a Healthy Eating Family of 6 Live on a MONTHLY Grocery/Food Budget of $200!?!



Last weekend while at a kid's birthday party, Rozanne and I had a discussion with another couple (her cousin and his wife) about our monthly grocery bills. As expected, we spend almost twice as much on our groceries as their family of 3 does.

Being a family of 6, I'm sure it's no surprise that we spend a good portion of our combined income on food. Keeping our kids and ourselves properly nourished is, of course, my top priority being both a health nut and a parent.

But should it cost that much? I mean really, with proper planning, smart shopping and a little creativity could we just use a fraction of our usual monthly grocery/food budget? Could we cut our food bill by as much as 75% and still eat healthy (buying local, hormone & pesticide free and organic when available)?

Well, that's the challenge that my wife and I have come up with this month. We chose "GRATITUDE" as our family theme for November.

Thanks to my friend Leo and his inspirational/motivational posts over at ZenHabits.net, we've been trying to really simplify life by paring down to what we deem essential - purging the contents of a room every week, getting rid of clothes that we haven't worn in a year and being grateful of the what we DO have (a roof over our heads, a supportive family and each other).

So here's our strategy (and some fine print)...

-We will buy only from our local farmer's markets because buying local cuts the transportation and shipping costs of the food down to next to nothing.
-We will buy in bulk if possible (nuts, dried fruit, spices and some meats that will be frozen immediately)
-Rozanne and I will follow my friend Brad Pilon's EatStopEat Lifestyle
-We will NOT buy any of the grocery shelf snacks (healthy or not) for the kids. The kids will only snack on fresh or dried fruit and whatever else we have in the house (including the occasional Halloween candy if necessary)
-We will use all the stuff in our freezer (I still have quite a bit of organic meat left from last month's shipment, so we'll use all of that starting with tonight's pepper steak dinner).
-Rozanne and I will our weekly allowance of $20 that we can use on whatever we like (that will be my "espresso" money)
-If you're reading this and you're a family member, don't be surprised if you get a phone call from one of us sometime this month inviting ourselves over for dinner :-)

Advantages:
-We will save $$$ (and with the holiday season coming up, we'll need it).
-We'll really see how "excessively" we live (I don't think we do by any means, but you'd be surprised).
-We won't eat out so I'll have to methodically plan our meals even more than I already do.
-Our young kids will realize how lucky they really are.
-Rozanne may lose that "last 10lbs" that she's been dying to lose

Disadvantages:












-We'll have to minimize the treats
-We can't be very "spur of the moment" for the next month.
-I will ABSOLUTELY NOT compromise my values and purchase "cheap food products" for the sake of saving money - no Mac'n'cheese, no luncheon meat, no weiners made of hoof. That said, if after 3 weeks we only have $3.75 left in our budget, all bets are off and I will go grocery shopping for some REAL food.
-I may lose 10lbs that I desperately cannot afford to.

So there's the challenge. Stay tuned and I'll let you know how it goes with frequent updates.

It's on.

CL
the FitAndBusyDad

P.S. One thing that will help me maintain my weight and hopefully help me put some muscle on and burn some fat are my daily workouts. I'll let you know how those go as well.

1 comment:

Ed Scow said...

Hey Chris,
Great idea buddy.
I actually read an article this past summer about a guy doing this and it seemed to go OK...although he didn't have 4 young mouths to feed!

Good luck, and don't forget to load up on the spices!

Ed