On this trip we spent $57.23, leaving us with $221.45 in the budget.
This grocery trip has probably been the most difficult Challenge experience for me so far. The produce looked so fresh and good, and I just wanted to buy everything. At the same time, I was hyper-aware of all the prices, and I just kept thinking about our budget.
But when I analyze our receipts, I see that I was stressing out over all the wrong things …
Where we went cheaper
- We prefer shallots for their small size and their taste, but onions are significantly cheaper. Still, the shallots looked really good that day, so we went half and half.
- I don’t like turkey, because I find it dry and tough, but Hide convinced me to let him experiment with it this time because it is really cheap. We found it on manager’s special for $1.50/lb.
What we chose not to buy
- A Japanese dipping sauce, it’s soy sauce flavoured with yuzu, a citrus fruit. I use it almost purely for dipping dumplings, spring rolls, etc, not in cooking, so it feels like a luxury. (I could substitute soy sauce and vinegar instead.)
- Creamy mustard
- Another luxury item, I felt. We generally keep three different mustards in stock: a coarse stone ground mustard, a dijon, and a creamy mustard. I mean … who really needs three different mustards, right? Probably two … or one … is enough … right?
Where we could have improved
- Meat. It’s expensive. Stop eating meat, starting eating beans, right? But … we’re meatatarians. Maybe later in the month, we’ll be eating beans instead.
- I did it. I broke down. I couldn’t help myself. I had to get those mushrooms. They just looked too yummy to pass up.
- Tomatoes are not just expensive on a per pound basis, they’re also really heavy. But I don’t know how to live without tomatoes. Mushrooms or tomatoes can turn any dish tasty. Why do you think Italian cuisine is so delicious? Because they recognize the power of mushrooms and tomatoes. Maybe we’ll be eating canned tomatoes or tomato paste by the end of the Challenge.
- $2.99/lb? Are you serious? Clearly, I need to start looking at prices.
- Buying local
- But maybe the real problem is that the broccoli was local produce, sold at the international market. Supermarket prices are around $0.69/lb or $0.99/lb for the basics like onion, potatoes and carrots, but international market prices are around $1.49/lb or $1.99/lb and up.That feels really expensive – so expensive, that I started feeding my dog rice instead (I still buy some starchy vegetables for her, but I do it for the variety, not the calories).
At the same time, we want to support local businesses and local farmers. We have a personal connection with these people, and we want to buy from them. So it’s a struggle for us when we look at the price differences and our Challenge budget. What should we do?