March Madness Grocery Challenge – The Score

This is it, the last day of the month.  The last day of the March Madness Grocery Challenge.

As of last Friday I had a balance of $5.50 remaining in the MMGC fund, and guess what…  Go ahead, guess.  I’ll wait…  Did I make it?  What do you think?

Yes, I made it!  As of right now I still have $5.50

You know what the crazy thing is?    The crazy thing is that I didn’t think about it all week.  I wasn’t stressed about it.  I didn’t worry about it.  I just didn’t go to the grocery store.  That’s it, I just didn’t go.  No big deal.

At the beginning of this challenge I allowed myself $20 a week for groceries.  I also thought it probably would not be horribly difficult because the pantry and freezers were full.  Actually, had it not been for the gallon of maple syrup and the dinner items purchased when we were returning from our out of town trip, both of which I am completely ok with, I would’ve done even better.  The Z Man would interject here that (ahem) “we also haven’t had a loaf of bread in the house the entire month”   That probably has more to do with me wanting to make real bread instead of buying highly processed junk from the store.

What I take away from this challenge is that, if I’m being honest, I have a grocery store habit.  It probably stems from too much Food Network, but I truly enjoy cooking.  I enjoy the entire process of planning, shopping and cooking a nice meal.  There is something about chopping vegetables and putting them into a pot to cook, having the lovely smell of it cooking wafting through the house and then sitting down to enjoy that meal.  Well, for me, it’s more than just getting dinner on the table.  It’s nice.  It gives me joy.

On the other side of the coin, I hate the grocery store.  Even more so now that I’m researching better ways of eating because more often than not what you think you are buying isn’t at all what it really is.  Bread is not bread, cheese is not cheese.  It’s mostly highly processed ingredients that are unpronounceable and indigestible.

As for the MMGC, yes I stayed in budget, and we ate from the freezers and pantry.  That’s great.  But, that too all comes with a price of hard work.  It’s taken us several years to see our homestead flow in full cycle like it is now.  It’s also taken me a long time to learn the cycle and use it as it’s meant to be used, the benefit of the price we pay.  That is to say, it is time to start the process of breaking my habit with the grocery store.  Or have I already started it unknowingly with this challenge?

Putting in perspective this challenge and that what I’ve learned isn’t so much about the money but more importantly about why we do the things we do, and to understand that perhaps it’s more about the habit that can be changed, and recognizing the pleasure of doing it differently.

She Goes Up…  She Shoots…  And… She… Scores!!!

Till Next Time,




Friday Frugal Five

We were traveling this week to visit with new family members.  I’m a Grandma Y’all!!!   🙂

It’s hard to be frugal while traveling, but I think we managed pretty good.  The MMGC (March Madness Grocery Challenge) wasn’t in effect while we were traveling, but I did try to keep expenses to a minimum.  Before our trip my grocery expense was $0 for the month.  As of today I have spent $28 so far this month on groceries.  That $28 was on the way back home after an 11 hour road trip and I’m ok with that.  Since I am allowing myself $20 a week, I’m still within my allowance as I don’t anticipate any other purchases in the next 3 days.  I’m also ok with it because as tired as we were we didn’t opt for dinner out or picking up something to go after an 11 hour car ride.  Instead I chose to throw some salmon on the grill, fry some potatoes and onions and make a salad, and it was delicious!   No picture, because I was too tired to think about it.

I will be spending $45 on Monday, as I have a friend traveling to Vermont and offered to bring me a gallon of pure maple syrup that would cost me $80 here in Virginia. Challenge or not, that’s just wise spending. That will put me at a total of $73 leaving me a balance of (4.43 x $20 = $89) $16 for the month.  It’s gonna be tight, that’s for sure!

Now, on to 5 frugal things…

  1. washed and dried all our travel clothes yesterday taking advantage of the warm weather using the clothes line.
  2. brought leftovers to work with me for lunch.
  3. totaled receipts from our trip and will add back to the pickle jar today as it is payday.  (More on the pickle jar next week)
  4. our dinner last night consisted of everything we had harvested on our homestead.  Pork ribs, corn on the cob, deviled eggs, roasted turnips and butternut.
  5. working today instead of taking the last day of the week off after our trip because a day of making money is more frugal than a day of not making money.

Your turn….

Till Next Time,


The March Madness Grocery Budget

Let the madness begin, but I’m not talking about basketball.   Some friends and I have decided for each of us to come up with a “personal challenge” for the month of March.  My challenge is to plan our meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) from the current (as of today) pantry and freezer items we have on hand.  I have only allowed $20 a week to supplement with fresh dairy, veggies or bread.

That’s it! $20 bucks a week for food for the entire month of March.  I have already put this weeks $20 in my grocery envelope.  This challenge will not include purchases of medicines or medical supplies, gas or work related expenses, or the occasional bottle of corona with lime.  Food products only.  Right now my pantry, fridge and freezers are pretty well stocked, so honestly I think we’ll be just fine.

I do have a trip planned for March, and the challenge will not be in effect during that time.  But I do want to keep meal expense to a minimum.  I’ll let you know how that works out.

I’ll post the meals (hopefully with pics) and grocery purchases weekly for accountability.

The thing about a challenge of any kind is that it’s a reminder for you to stay focused on the end goal.   I feel pretty good knowing that we’ll be ok on $20 a week for groceries but having that challenge makes sure I’m not just mindlessly stopping at the store because I feel like having whatever for dinner, or because I haven’t planned ahead.

Would you like to join in?  What personal challenge or goal do you want to reach in March?  It doesn’t have to be grocery budget related.  It could be anything you want it to be like exercise, drinking enough water, not drinking sodas, cutting back on sugar, or writing in your gratitude journal, helping others, organizing your living space…..  it can be anything.  I’d love to hear about it.

Till Next Time,