The $25 Challenge – Update #1

Ok, here’s the deal.  My wife and I (and two boys) agreed to do a crazy experiment of eating on just $25 for two weeks plus what we happened to have in the pantry or freezer.   Initially I thought this could be easy, but I realized  I’m wrong when it occurred to me that I will  spend $8 just on milk (by the way I don’t know why, but milk here is CHEAP ~$1/litre).  So this will take some planning to pull this off.

A couple of notes on the challenge.  I had forgotten that I have agreed to a camping trip prior to doing the challenge, so I will be on vacation for about four days of it.  To make up for that time we are just going to extend the start and end date of the experiment to make up that time.  So all in total we started on June 28 and will end on July 17.

The first thing we did after agreeing to this was to take an inventory of what we have in the house.  That way we can build a series of meals around what we have to help avoid buying more food than I need to.  I won’t copy the inventory here, but we will do a post inventory to show what we bought and what I used from the pantry.  Then we decided to avoid going shopping until later to ensure we REALLY need the food item in question rather than just want it.

To date we have only spent $4 on margarine which already taught me something:

Lesson #1 – When you are going very cheap you can’t afford to be picky over what brand you buy.  What ever is on a good sale is what you buy.  The margarine was about 50% more for the same price of our usual brand.

So far it going fine.  Beyond being a little be more organized with meals I’ve personally not noticed much of a change in how we eat, but it’s only been a few days.  Later on is where this will get interesting.  I’ll do an update late next week.

5 thoughts on “The $25 Challenge – Update #1”

  1. @Nick,

    Actually I just bought a little over five dollars in fruit over the weekend. I think actually most of the $25 will go towards fresh food during this challenge.


  2. One of the most common fallacies about “saving money” is to undercut the quality of food. With Americans leading the world in lifestyle (and food) related concerns ranging from heart disease to cancer, the long term cost is simply not worth it.

    As someone that has embraced a low cost lifestyle, this is one area that I don’t neglect. That isn’t to say I don’t try to be conservative…I do. For example, by investing in the right equipment to keep prep time to a minimum, we enjoy excellent meals at home. We may use dried beans rather than canned and shop for local produce at the farmers market but insist upon quality ingredients.

    Just remember, the true “cost” of food choices goes far beyond the amount spent each week at the grocery store.

  3. Shan,

    I do agree. That’s why I don’t keep much prefab food in the house and cook most things from scratch. Beyond being cheaper, it also tastes better and is often much healthier.


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