Dare I say giddy? Was that me doing a little dance in the produce section? Why yes! Yes it was. Our bargain basement purchase of chicken at $2.99 a pound last week freed up so much room in our budget that we finally had lots of choices. It felt awesome!
And yes, we got chocolate chips too.
This shopping trip for the Whole Foods Challenge, we indulged in extra apples, celery, spinach, and carrots, as well as bananas and pineapple. We bought frozen veggies, but went for the pricier mixed variety ($2.79 a bag instead of $1.99 per bag) and we got one more bag than we usually do. For once we left the store and I wasn’t worried that we’d have enough food to make it to the end of the month. I felt confident that we’d be fine.
Here’s a rolling tally of purchases so far. At the moment we have spent $401.49 with one shopping trip left. I have $89.61 to make it through the next week and throw a dinner party! Right now that seems easy, but maybe I’ll be sweating it the last day (fingers crossed I’ll be good).
As we head into the final week, we’ve gotten the hang of buying groceries on a tight budget. We’re confidently checking the areas of the store we need to check, keeping a running tally in our head of how much we’re spending, and weighing options for healthy living with a few treats.
Despite scouring magazines and recipe sites, there’s only so much you can do to make the same food taste different. We don’t have a lot of condiments or sauces to work with so it tends to be a mixed veggie/protein/rice combo or a mixed veggie/protein/pasta combo. It’s okay; it’s tasty, but I’m craving some variety for my palate.
The other big regret I have is we just can’t consistently buy organic at the levels that I’m used to. No organic protein at all! We’ve been able to get organic apples every week and organic celery once but that’s about it. It’s been frustrating and will definitely end once the challenge is over. That said, I actually shopped at Whole Foods almost exclusively before the challenge because I trust their meat department better than anyone else in my area. So while I know what I’ve been buying this month isn’t organic, I know it’s still pretty good.
After we realized that my husband had lost seven pounds during the first two weeks of the Challenge, I’ve been tinkering with portion sizes and giving him more liberal servings. He lost two more pounds during week three, and I’ve dropped another pound myself (five pounds total, but at least two pounds is water weight from adjusting to this fairly clean diet.)
Honestly, I think the main reason why we’ve both lost weight is because (a) we’re not “grazing” on snacks anymore; it’s so easy to do a fly-by through the kitchen and grab a morsel or two which adds up! and (b) we’re eating almost no processed foods. Outside of purchasing a bag of pasta, a box of crackers, and a box of mac and cheese, literally everything else is from scratch. Zero chemicals, zero “fake” sweeterners or flavorings, just what my kitchen, my stove, and my talents can provide. I wish we had a chemical screen at the beginning and end of the month; I’d be curious to see just how much gook we’ve purged from our bodies.
I’m off to make chocolate chip cookies now, a treat that I know will last for the next six days and only costs 16 cents a cookie. Way cheaper and way tastier than the store-bought kind.
What have you learned about frugal living that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks especially about mixing up the menu and getting a little variety.
Read ALL the 30-Day Whole Foods Thrifty Challenge posts.