Monday, July 25, 2011

July Food Stamp Challenge: (Overdue) Update #2

I truly, honestly intended to post more regularly about the Food Stamp Challenge. However, as so often happens, life got in the way of my plans. Between taking a (cyber-free) week off to go camping with my family, dealing with the chaos pre-and post-vacation (including large mountains of laundry - line-dried of course ::grin::), running the produce cooperative, working with my publisher on finishing up the editing and layout for my book, tending to my garden, and keeping everyone fed, I haven't had much time for blogging lately.

In fact, blogging isn't the only thing that fell by the wayside in the last couple of weeks. I confess that my food budget really got away from me this month. I usually keep much closer tabs on how much we've spent as we go along, but this month I didn't get around to tallying things up since my last report nearly 3 weeks ago. Yikes! Thankfully the online budgeting system I use keeps good track of our expenses, so all I needed to do was log in, check to make sure the entries were categorized correctly, then hold my breath while I checked out the total for "groceries".

As it turns out, as of today we've spent $393.83 on food so far this month. That only leaves us $10.17 for the remaining six days of the month. Since we've already done our major food shopping for this week, that actually seems quite doable. We'll probably need to pick up a 4L bag of milk ($4.19) but that should be about it.

I'm pleasantly surprised that we've been able to come in under the $404 goal for the month. As I mentioned in my previous Food Stamp Challenge post, July tends to be one of the most expensive months of the year for us, grocery-wise, and although our average food bill is around $350 per month, July's is usually over $400 because we are stockpiling seasonal produce for freezing and canning. We bought quite a lot of food this month that will be consumed sometime in the future (like the $36 worth of strawberries at the PYO farm, most of which was either frozen or made into jam, the $30 pail of Ontario sweet cherries that I portioned and froze, and the big $12 hunk of sale-priced pork tenderloin that I bought and froze for a party we're hosting in August). We also spent MUCH more than we typically do on junk food (in an average month we spend almost nothing) since we were away on our major family vacation for the year and a camping trip wouldn't be a camping trip without s'mores and potato chips. In addition, we spent more on bread, eggs, and dairy products than we usually do, since we purchased some of those items midway through our trip at a small grocery store up north near our campground, where the prices were significantly higher than the best price we can get in the city.

All things considered, I think we ended up doing much better than I expected! I will post a final update at the end of the month so you can find out whether we stayed below our goal or not :)

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