Saturday, January 24, 2009


24 days into our Urban Pantry Challenge I have over shot the $100 per month grocery budget.
I hate to lose.
Without any fan fair and a limited amount of excuses ( justifications ) here's the details of my defeat. I won't disclose the dear price owned to my husband ( opposing view that we spend closer to $150 per month ) except to begrudgingly deliver the spoils of my defeat to him.

Personal Care Items - $9.81
CVS had Colgate Toothbrushes on sale BOGO for $1.99/2, then I had coupons so each toothbrush ended up costing me 50¢ each. Also bought Colgate Toothpaste on sale for BOGO for $2.79/2, also had coupons so each six once tube of paste ended costing 89¢ each.

All total I saved over $20.34 according to my CVS receipt on 6 brushes & six tubes of paste.

We're all set on oral hygiene for the year!

Meat - $50.93
Local chain grocery store had a lost leader special on whole Prudue Roaster Chickens - 79¢ per lbs. Don't know about the rest of the country but I haven't seen under 99¢ a pound in ages for plump meaty birds.

On average I picked out roasters that were well under $6 each for a total of 7 birds.

Menu plan is to stretch each bird into two meals or one meal & sandwich fixings for lunches.

Also bought two discounted packages of pork chops and a discounted package of large cap stuffed mushrooms for DH.

Odds & Ends -$5.84
Milk from the dairy $3.
Bag of barley for soup making $1.29/16 oz.
Soy sauce $1.55 loss leader. Should last @ least a year as DH has a thing about soy products.

$66.58 over budget ( NYS tax included ).

I hate to lose.
~~ pelenaka ~~

Monday, January 5, 2009

Urban Pantry Challenge 2009 Living off da Larder.

Here's the 1st seg way -
While we were in Cleveland visiting with my 95 year old Abuela, Western New York had a heat wave of 60 degrees in our area thus melting the +14" of collected snow from the previous week.
Cellar flooded about 6"- 8". The majority of items such as our upright freezer & front load clothes washer are up on cinder blocks as well as the 8 year old furnace. Not my new unfulfilled chest freezer (doing a V-8 head smack).
So after putzing around doing a few loads of laundry the next day I start moving cardboard boxes which leads to moving mason jars to reorganize the home canned goods pantry shelves.
Then because I was waiting on the rinse cycle I moved on to the commercial side of our pantry area. That section holds items like coffee & white flour bought on sale along with hidden soda for adult refreshments.
What I found among the big bottles of Wesson oil bought 5 years ago for 99¢ was unfortunately a good cache of expired food.
Such a Sin.
2nd seg way - DH & I have been having this on going argument about exactly how much we spend on groceries per month. I say $100 including pantry stocking purchases. He says way more. Some weeks it is more due to a great score on pantry stocking but once averaged I still say it's about $25 a week.
Read recently that the average American family spends over $800 a month on groceries.
Food is one area of our budget that we can control to a certain degree.

So here is the details of our competition in this the 2009 Urban Pantry Challenge.
1) Keep all receipts be it from the store, farmer's market, or alternative sources such as bartering/gleaning or the left overs from food ministries (slip of paper with an estimate of retail cost of the item).
2) Shop our Pantry first & foremost.
3) Strive to use organic healthy options in our food preps.

Simple huh?

Here's what we start out with ; $287 spent on locally pasture raised beef. Split the order with BB & her Mom in September or early October. After listening to a story on NPR about the decrease in Cattle Ranchers & breeding stock due to the high cost of grain feed we decided to get our butts in high gear and load up. It worked out to $2.40 a pound after all was said and done.
So far we have used up the ground beef portion.
Stew meat, Steaks, & Roasts are left.
Chicken & Pork has been bought on a week by week basis until we find a local supply.
Then there is the 200 + jars of home canned food plus still filled jars from '07 & '06.
Commercial canned goods like Gandule beans, tuna, & pureed pumpkin. I have no idea what I paid for these except that it wasn't full retail. These foods stuffs were bought @ a store closings, Clarence, or as loss leaders. A few even with coupons.
Next is dry goods such as white rice, white flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, rye & wheat berries.
Dehydrated items such as herbs, celery, green bell peppers, butternut squash, sunflower & squash seeds, grapes to raisins, along with nuts.
Oh forgot pectin for canning.
Somewhere around a grand worth of commercial grocery stuffs collected over the past 2 years.
Milk raw from the dairy is $2.50 a gallon.
Cheese was had for a steal of which we still have 40 odd pounds left.
Personal care products such as shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. is valued around $40.

Did I leave anything out?

~~ pelenaka ~~

1/7/09 - To date neither DH or I have bought a single food item unless you count the extra large Timmy's coffee that I inhale on the way to work each night this week (under $10 but still do need to work on that carelessness).
We are out of milk but since we are having a travel advisory due to freezing rain & thick ice on roads driving out to the farm for a load of raw milk isn't happening.
Nor is visiting our local butcher for pork chops. I would love a big bowl of homemade French Onion Soup but as I write my gift from God is working on cages for my newly acquired bun's from a show on Sunday (future post next week when my vacation starts).
Just got home from my 5th night shift of 7 in a row, should be sleeping.
Note to self stop drinking coffee by 0300.
Homemade Tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches & tossed salad.
Unsure about that salad it was a discard from a food ministry on the 2nd.

1/9/09 - Correction for the 1st week of our Urban Pantry Challenge; DH spent $7 @ the butcher for ground beef to make his haven on earth meatloaf. Sides were steamed carrots & smashed papas that are some of the last had from gleaning last fall. The salad was still good.
If you have ever eaten @ his Mom's restaurant in Rochester, The Mulberry Mill then you know what I'm talking about.
$5 spent on raw milk.
So alll total $12 for the first week of January.