Budget Day 97: Some Mistakes

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Our final week is coming to a close so this could very well be my last little bullet point list of all my groceries! I plan to keep blogging though…I am just not quite sure what the frequency will be yet. Speaking of, if you have any topic ideas that you would love to hear about please let me know by leaving a comment below. I’ve already gotten some great ideas from the Facebook fans, which is quickly turning into a growing list of things that I plan to tackle once this is over.

Anyway, as I previously mentioned I did most of my shopping for this week on Tuesday when we were on our way home from the airport. Not only were we fresh off the plane (it was just me alone with my 3-year-old and 6-year-old by the way…my husband was on a separate business trip), but I was also trying to squeeze in a quick trip to Earth Fare AND the bread store before taking my daughters to their weekly gymnastics class. This was all before we even made it home to drop off our luggage. A case of an overplanned mom? Absolutely. It was very much one of those days.

Needless to say I was in a major hurry. I even forgot to feed myself some lunch (thankfully, I at least remembered to feed my kids!) so my lightheadedness was making my shopping trip at Earth Fare even more difficult. I had at least made out my grocery list in advance under much better circumstances, but as I’ve said before I haven’t memorized how much stuff costs so I never know if I can buy everything on my list (I admit it – this is a big weakness of mine that for some reason I don’t try to fix!). I suppose this shopping trip is probably representative of what a lot of other moms and busy people experience regularly though. We want real food and we want it cheap, but we don’t have 2 or 3 uninterrupted hours to peruse the aisles of the grocery store to comparison shop and read labels. So as you can imagine my rushed and hungry self made some unfortunate mistakes…BUT I am happy to say that going over budget (or buying junk food) was definitely not one of those mistakes! Because no matter what – I refuse to fail this project! :)

Once I was home and all the aspects of our crazy day were finally over I sat down and looked at my receipt. And I probably only looked at my receipt because I had to type it up for this blog post. So this was actually a good lesson for me that going forward when I get home from the store I should double-check that I spent my money wisely. And now that I was thinking clearly some things on my receipt immediately jumped out at me as big mistakes. The first mistake was the fact that I was in such a hurry I didn’t have time to go to Trader Joe’s like I normally do to save money on expensive items like cheese, nuts, and honey. Buying those particular items from Earth Fare this time easily cost me five or six more dollars than I normally would have spent somewhere else.

My next mistake was that I must have been in a dream state when I put the ingredients for my chocolate torte recipe on the grocery list.  I like to roll these into the pictured powerball size and munch on them after every meal.  Sure, I love to satisfy my chocolate craving, but is it absolutely necessary? Unfortunately….not. And I didn’t realize until I got home that I spent $10.87 on the pecans and another $4.39 on the dried pitted dates. Ooops….I am not sure why I thought I could afford to spend fifteen of my hundred or so dollars on a nice little dessert for myself. Luckily, neither of those packages had been opened by the time I figured this out because you know how I love to return stuff!

The last mistake I made was that I swear I had 3 coupons (not just 2), but I guess the one I had for cheese got overlooked or fell out of my cart or something. It was only for a fifty-cent savings, but still! I was too rushed to even notice until now. So after taking into consideration the twenty or so unnecessary dollars that I spent, my bill came to $108.43. So what did I do? Nothing other than have my husband return the unopened pecans and dates on my behalf. Not because I was embarrassed to do it myself he just happened to be in the area…and boy does he hate it when I ask him to do stuff like that! LOL

So even though we have since returned two of the pictured items for a $15.57 credit (that I have not yet spent), here is everything that I originally bought for $108.43 on Tuesday when my girls and I rushed like a tornado through the store!

  • Dried pitted dates $4.39
  • Pecan halves $10.87
  • Hard red wheat berries $5.33 (To make flour)
  • Unsalted butter $4.49
  • Cheddar $4.69
  • Eggs $3.68
  • Heavy cream $3.49 (with coupon)
  • Monterey Jack cheese $3.39
  • Frozen blueberries $3.00 (on sale)…oops these were already in the freezer and didn’t make the picture!
  • Canola oil $5.99 (with coupon)
  • Honey $7.49
  • Maple syrup $8.99 (on sale)
  • Whole-wheat pasta $1.99
  • Apples $4.28
  • Artichokes $7.50 (this is a special treat for us…all 4 of us LOVE artichokes!)
  • Bananas $2.29
  • Cantaloupe $1.17 (one of the few fruits my 3-year-old will easily eat)
  • Spinach $2.99
  • Lemons $1.00
  • Mango $2.00
  • Orange $0.66
  • Pears $2.42
  • Green bell peppers $2.58
  • Sweet potatoes $2.62
  • Mandarin oranges $1.98
  • Fresh wild caught cod $6.99

Also pictured is a $5 loaf of our beloved honey whole-wheat bread that we like to get from the Great Harvest bread store. So now that this week is coming to a close I am not even sure if I am going to need to spend my recovered $15 on anything after all. I hope we didn’t go through all of that for nothing, but how great would it be to end this 100-day budget pledge with some money leftover? We will just have to wait and see!

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24 comments to Budget Day 97: Some Mistakes

  • Love your blog and I am so glad you did this! I love the education you provided to other families! Good for you! You are helping to change this paradigm of sickness, poor eating habits, and poor quality food.

  • Robin

    I hope you will do one final post for day 100!

  • Virginia

    I love this blog. I was wondering, do you have any advice for people who are working during the day? I have found that I can cook on weekends and do OK if I plan ahead (putting something in the slow cooker for the next day), but with a job and two small children, it’s hard to get them to/through the grocery store if I’ve forgotten to thaw something and we barely have time at the end of the day as it is. I aspire to do better — how can I get a 25th hour in my day for the prep/cooking time that I need for dinner?

    • 100 Days of Real Food

      That is a great question!! And soon I would like to do a post dedicated just to this topic (so make sure you are subscribed or following on facebook!). It sounds like you are on the right track by already cooking on the weekends and planning ahead. I think there are quite a few meals that are quick and easy or that don’t have to be defrosted in advance, which might help on some of those more difficult nights. For example..boiling some store-bought whole-wheat/grain noodles and tossing them with a sauce and some veggies, breakfast for dinner (scrambled eggs or even whole-wheat pancakes or waffles that are premade and from the freezer, but can be heated in microwave instead of defrosted in advance), my homemade chicken nugget recipe can also be microwaved and defrosted in advance. I am not sure if you’ve ever tried making ravioli (you can put just about any fillings inside), but those can also be popped right into the boiling water even if they are still frozen. Make sure you check out the meal ideas tab for more ideas and soon I will do a dedicated post! http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/real-food-resources/

    • Andrea

      I have just 1 small child, but I also work as well. You mentioned using your crock pot but its hard to also remember to defrost something ahead of time. Been there too! I just got an electric pressure cooker which cooks in less then 1/4 of the time of a crock and you can add a few extra minutes if your meat is frozen!

      • 100 Days of Real Food

        I have a pressure cooker, but I only use it to make artichokes. It sounds like I should pull out the cookbook that came with it and see what else I can do in there! Thanks for the tip.

  • Andrea

    Hi! I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of weeks and now I’m reading thru your 1st 100 days! I see that you got some hard red wheat to grind into flour this week. I just wanted to let you know about a mom blog that has some great info on wheat, beans and other dry foods that can be stored long term and how to use them everyday. It is http://www.everydayfoodstorage.net

  • Nadine

    the pressure cooker is also very useful when cooking garbanzos, beans or lentils. You could try some Indian dishes like chana dal (but maybe with reduced spices for your children) and add more cayenne only to the adult’s plates, depending on your personal tolerance level of heat. I like the very spicy hot dishes, they are the best cold or sinus medicine available and delicious, too!

  • [...] Check your receipt after you get home to make sure your money was well spent (most grocery stores accept [...]

  • shannon

    I’ve recently discovered your blog and LOVE IT. I know this is an old post I’m commenting on here, but if you’re still wanting blog topic ideas I’d love to hear anything about what you pack your daughter in her lunch. I know you’ve already discussed this, but anything more you could write about that would be fabulous. I tell ya, it’s a struggle everyday….. :-)

    • 100 Days of Real Food

      Thanks so much for your comment…and I will add more lunch posts to the list! Also, did you see the full-blown meal plans I posted yesterday? You might get some ideas from there as well.

  • Zoe

    I notice there is only one meat item on here (fish), is that all the meat your family ate for 1 week?
    Thank you for sharing and providing this site :)

  • jane

    I have a suggestion for teaching yourself to approximate what things cost. Carry a black Sharpie to the grocery store, and as you pick up items, mark the advertised price on the item (or on produce bags). At the same time, or when you get home, write the cost per serving. Example: Cheese sticks $3.60, 36 cents per stick. You can factor in coupons etc. Several things will happen: 1) you will notice when items ring up incorrectly . . . you’ll be amazed how often this happens, and NEVER in your favor. 2) You will learn the approximate prices of things because you see that price over and over 3) you will get a feel for what is a “good deal” and what isn’t 4) you and your family will begin to notice which foods are cheaper per serving than others . . . which hopefully leads to informed choices. Long ago grocery stores had stickers with prices on every item. With the use of bar codes, consumers are much less aware of what things “cost.” As a note, if you’re not sure if you will change your mind at the register, wait to write the price at check out, or write it somewhere discrete. . .

  • Jen

    Well done!!!! I have been working hard to “convert” to ALL real wholesome food! The hardest part is the cost as it is more expensive to buy all organic (but worth every penny)for a family of eight. I am wondering if you have any plans on spreading the word about GMO’s? I know you have a huge following and if we could spread the word maybe we would at the very least be get these products labeled! I think waaaay more people need to be informed about what GMO’s are, I know when I am talking with some people they have no idea what I’m talking about. Keep up the good work!!

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Jen. Thanks for your thoughts. Food Babe (www.foodbabe.com) is doing a lot with GMO’s right now in light of the upcoming California vote on it. Something to keep in mind for us as well though. Thanks again for your insights. Jill

  • Teresa O'Bryant

    What an awesome blog!I stumbled onto you while looking at the Earth Fare website. I have a daughter who is on disability & foodstamps. One of her complaints is that she cant afford to eat healthy.I will definately b referring her to your site!
    Do you have any suggestions for saomeone dairy & gluten intollerant?
    Thank you for the inspiration.

  • [...] I dive into the things I splurged on at the store let me finish up our last budget week. As I previously mentioned we had $15 left and instead of buying more groceries with that money we decided to put it towards a [...]

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