Teaching and Tasties

Delicious eats and daring, death-defying teaching feats

Cheap Eats Challenge March 3, 2009

Filed under: Food — tlsussman @ 8:38 pm

A friend of mine (along with another two friends of hers) decided to challenge herself to spend no more than $100/month on food.  They are calling it the Cheap Eats Challenge.  Each of the three gets $100 plus four “tokens” – meals with family and friends.  I think this is a really cool idea and quite helpful to the rest of us.  Not only are they going to save money, but they will be posting recipes and ideas.  Further, they compared three or four major grocery stores on basic items.  Although I don’t know that I could handle $100/month, I actually come pretty close.  The problem is not as much the cost, but how much food goes to waste!  I do ok on most of the fruits, but somehow the veggies always go bad.  I have tons and tons of ideas for recipes, but I never seem to get to them all.  I have definitely been doing a better job on that front, but there is still too much food going to waste.  I also realized that I have a freezer full of food.  I always put stuff in there in case I don’t get a chance to cook or something, but somehow I never get to it.

All that being said, I think I will start my own Cheap Eats Challenge.  I won’t limit myself to the number of meals I eat with family (I really enjoy eating with them and I have to go for shabbat dinner – which would take up my 4 meals), but I am going to work on eating what is in the pantry.  I have tons of dried beans and other things that can be used, that should be used.  When I think about buying fruits and veggies, I think I will buy 1 less than I think I need, since that seems to be where I go wrong.

Between Brian and me, we spend about $250-$350 per month.  I would like to take this to $200-$300.  I’m pretty sure it’s possible.  Why not?  Right?!?!

I will keep tabs (loosely) on here and I have put the link to the Cheap Eats Challenge in the blogs section.  Might as well use their info to help me out too!


3 Responses to “Cheap Eats Challenge”

  1. Laura Says:

    Very interesting…. I think that your budget for the two of you is pretty cheap. I generally spend about $50 each week for food not counting eating out. And that’s just for me! I buy only organic, and that’s what sucks up my money. I am sure that if I shopped at Edgewater Produce again, I could easily do $100 a month, since I don’t eat any animal products, milk products, or processed foods (all of which are expensive).

    Are your friends including drinks into the $100 budget? It’s calories, so technically it’s food. And those will swallow your budget in a nanosecond.

    • tlsussman Says:

      My friends do include drinks in their count, but they are trying to stay away from alcohol. While it is a great idea, it seems that it is more of a test than anything else. They are not necessarily living “real life” this month, but rather seeing how much they can give up without wanting to die (or so it seems). I think it is a great idea to try and cut back, since life is getting pretty expensive, but I’m not sure it’s worth cutting back on everything. I also take a bit of issue with not eat with family more than 4 times/month. If family is willing to feed me AND send me home with food, I’m totally in.

      I have found that hitting 2-3 grocery stores each time I shop has been a big help. It really lets me get the cheap stuff at each one. Stanley’s produce is great for organic produce and is much cheaper than most stores. I can spend $30 for almost 2 weeks of produce. It rocks!!! Trader Joes is awesome for other things. I think if we are willing to go to different places, it can save – especially when they aren’t on opposite ends of the city!!!

  2. Laura Says:

    I checked out your friends’ website — it’s a really cool idea. It reminds me of another couple out there who were trying to live on $1 a day, since that is what a lot of people in lesser developed countries live on. They encountered the same criticism that your friends are getting regarding Sam’s club memberships and already purchased foods.

    It seems like a good exercise in awareness to me, but I would like to see that awareness include not only their wallets but the entire food system. I.e., in their efforts to pinch pennies, what kinds of food industries are they supporting? But that might be the next step. 🙂

    I wish I lived close to Stanley’s. Whole Foods is absurdly priced, but as long as I can afford to eat organic produce from there, then it’s downright insane to buy non-organic produce.

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