Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What I Learned in the Challenge

Participating in Mary's $75 a Week Grocery Challenge (check out the button in my sidebar) has been very enlightening. At the outset of the challenge I stated that this was just the push I needed to permanently cut back in this category.

I honestly never thought I could cut back that far and not feel the pinch. I figured I would deplete my stock pile and go without several items until the month was over. My plan at the end of the month was to raise it up slightly from the $75 and feel like I had a little more wiggle room but probably still feel squeezed.

I am blown away by the results at the end of the month. My pantry has never been so full - ever. I bought diapers, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, a special toy for my son, frozen pizza (ironically - a luxury item around here), and many more items we could have lived without (OK - not the diapers!) for the month. I never felt deprived. I felt . . . challenged, and focused, and really excited to see how well I could do it.

I did learn that it takes more time to save more money. I was much more willing to hit a greater number of stores in order to hit the lowest price on something. I spent more time scrounging for coupons for everything I was buying - clipping and arranging A LOT. But, I saved the money. And, right now I have the time and NEED to save the money.

My previous $100/month allotment was a HUGE accomplishment for me when I began to shop differently almost two years ago. I had cut WAY back from my previous spending of I-don't-even-know-how-much. But, I became so skilled at my new way of shopping, that $100/week became quite easy. I was more willing to forgo a sale or skip looking for a coupon. I also gave myself license to buy things with the extra money that really had nothing to do with that budget category (such as clothing or haircuts). Not a huge deal, except that then I really don't have an accurate account of what I was really spending in those categories.

All that to say "THANK YOU!!" to Mary for the challenge. I enjoyed the stretch, learned a lot, and feel much more confident that I can permanently cut back to $75/week and survive - quite happily.
Click HERE to see how all the other challenge participants ended this month.


  1. I've just discovered Mary's challenge, so I wasn't able to participate. I may try a version of it myself in October, but I truly don't see how we can do it so cheaply. Maybe food in Canada is a lot more expensive than in the US? Apples and Peaches, even in season, are over $1.30/lb here. Count on all five of us eating two pieces of fruit each day and that adds us to a lot. Also milk is super expensive.

    I'm going to keep reading blogs and see if any Canadians took part. It would certainly help our budget if I could cut it back so far. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Great things to learn...and I love that you bought EXTRA things...that you never felt deprived...that is VERY COOL!