Friday, April 1, 2011

My $150 + WIC Grocery Challenge

I have to admit that I have a huge problem with shopping. Not just shopping but grocery shopping in general. There were a few years when I had no money and lived on $.99 hamburger helper with no meat added because that is all I could afford and I had no cooking skills or any idea about how to use coupons. I now know how to use coupons to my advantage but since trying to adopt a healthier eating lifestyle I find this is more challenging. I still do find some coupons for whole or organic foods and use them when at all possible. I found a good resource of coupons at this website for organic foods. I also keep watch on Swagbucks or Mypoints for other printable coupons as well. My hamburger helper life has made it so I feel the need to keep my pantry stocked with at least several weeks of food at all times. I also love the feeling of getting a good deal which in reality I know that a good deal is only a good deal if I need it but I still love feeling like I have scored an amazing bargain. I have more food that I really need in the house.

 I try to find the good deals and coupons to stock my pantry but I have noticed that my grocery budget had crept up to over $400 a month plus WIC foods. I do have a nicely stocked pantry so I figured I need to learn how to cut my budget even more and get some things down to a reasonable level. I am challenging myself to stick to $150 plus WIC foods for the pay period (April 1-15). I am going to change some of this into pounds to use at off base stores and then use the rest on base at the Commissary and on my order. The positives going for me are that I do have a decently stocked pantry and I have 2 coupons for the off base store (one for each week). The negatives are that I still need to keep my pantry going and not clean it completely out and we have some friends coming to visit from the states. This budget also has to include dog food and any paper/household items we may need. I am quite nervous about doing this since I am the one who loves to grocery shop and find a bargain. My other challenge is going to be that The Man will not be able to go to the market since not only does it cost for the fruit/veg but the one he LOVES going to costs money to park and is about 30 minutes away. The gas money and parking just makes the savings on the vegetables and fruit not worth it.

I know that getting WIC may offend some people but I decided that for the time being this is something that my family will use. I was used to paying less than $2 per gallon of milk when we lived in the states and when we moved here a gallon of milk costs about $3.40 or more. That cost difference alone made it worth it to us. We only plan to use this while we live here as the children will be a bit older and drinking less milk and the grocery options will be greater offering a larger variety of pricing once we get back to the states. This program helps me to keep my grocery budget a bit lower and give my children healthier foods since the costs of food here is so much different than Tucson.

At this point I plan to spend about $50 and 60 Pounds and use the remaining WIC checks.  I will update once I do my shopping to see how I am keeping to this challenge.

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