$100 Grocery Challenge!

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I’ve been meaning to do some kind of monitoring of my grocery purchases for quite awhile. Right now, my freezer is bursting, my cupboards are full, and I am really, really, really trying to eat less meat. I need to spend some time and energy making sure this important part of our lives is more in balance.

No system seemed quite right until I saw London Minimalists record their grocery spending on their blog/twitter. I did a little research about American food spending, what was considered minimal, what was considered liberal, and came to the number of $100 a week for 2 people, 3 meals a day for a grocery spending challenge (we eat the occasional meal out, once a week max).

This may seem high or low to you! I chose this number because it was a little lower than the “liberal” spending Americans reported, because I try my hardest to buy local and organic, and it does come at a higher price. This system lets me use my own judgement about what to buy, but gives me a limit. Best of both worlds!

I expect the first month or so of this challenge to be a breeze. Like I said, my freezer is full, and my cupboard is already stocked with beans, pasta, rice, quinoa, and all kinds of other staples. Things should get interesting later (much like clothing rationing is — this year I am actually considering rationing challenging as things slowly but surely fall apart!).

I’ll record my spending here each week, and write a little about how I’m finding things. Once I do this for a few weeks I’ll see if the total per week needs to be adjusted.

So – this week!

I did my shopping for the week and it came to $89.66.

The most expensive thing I bought was 100% grass fed local beef London Broil – 2.05 lb = $24.57. This will provide a luxurious dinner, and lots of leftovers for stir fry, sandwiches, and the like all week. It’s the only meat I purchased this week. I did well with the specials on fruits and vegetables. I see what’s on special, which is usually what’s in season, and buy from there. That gorgeous little brussels sprout you see above was from this week’s special. I got two pounds of them for $7. Going to roast them — they are so delicious hot or cold. A big spend I am a little torn about is $14.47 on drinks. My husband is getting over a stomach virus so I bought him Gatorade, and we are addicted, addicted, addicted to seltzer. I buy it in cans. I keep dithering about getting a Soda Stream type appliance to make it myself. This might push me over the edge.

I’d like to start cooking a Weekly Bean. It will provide meals all week, and then I can freeze portions too for future dishes. This week will be white Cannellini beans, I think. I’ve got them in the cupboard.

If you have tips on stretching your grocery budget, I’d love to hear them. I’d also like to hear if you spend more or less than this each week if you feel like sharing.


  1. I’ve been intrigued about this challenge that has been brewing in your mind! I’ve actually just embarked on our own food challenge too. I’m keeping details under wraps for now as I don’t generally do ‘consultation’ at home when it comes to housekeeping. I try to just phase things in without a big to do as in my experience, that’s the easiest way for them to become a new norm, almost inconspicuously.

    Interesting that Brussels sprouts are now seasonal in your neck of the woods. They have been out of season for several months here. By the way, they also work well, shred finely and stir fried in a wok with other vegetables and maybe a slice of finely diced bacon.

    By the way, I found year 3 of clothes rationing much harder than years 1 and 2 for EXACTLY the same reason. I’m definitely being a bit more relaxed currently to restock but I am definitely going to go back to the rationing, with minor tweaks. I just need to embed the food challenge first.

    1. Yes, I see them as a fall winter veg, but they’ve become so popular recently (?!) I think people must be growing them in greenhouses or something for the demand.

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