Sunday, May 3, 2009

Frugal Grocery Shopping Challenge

I'll spare you the gory details and just say; we didn't get paid a full wage last month, and don't get a full wage until the 15th May. Rene started a new job, which pays more, and we'll be able to relax a bit soon. Meanwhile we have a choice - buy groceries or pay bills. Both of those things are rather important.

Thankfully, here in Lincoln, NE, we have Food Net.

Now, I've mentioned foodnet on my blog before, and I've also mentioned it on facebook. I've received some questions about it, and also some comments. There seem to be some misunderstandings of what food net is all about.

It's not a government funded thing. It doesn't rely on citizen's donations. It's not necessarily a charity to help the poor. Although it does that. It is a non-profit organization, run by volunteers, aiming to meet the hunger needs of people in Lincoln, while saving food from going to the landfill. They take take the food that stores would normally throw away, they sort it and take it to foodnet sites where ALL people are free to come and take their share.

Quote from their website:
Q: Are there any income restrictions?
A: No. Anyone that is in need of food is welcome to pick up from any site. There are no qualifications, no forms, no income guidelines, and no limits on how many times you visit the sites.

We are taking food which is in perfectly decent condition, yet would otherwise be tragically wasted and thrown away, and we are putting it to good use. Many needy people use foodnet to feed their families. Some people come along just for the eco friendly aspect of it. Others, just because every little bit helps.

This month, we've really needed it, and so far we've visited a number of times.

Our challenge is to spend as close to $0 as possible on food. This week, we spent just under $40 to feed our family of 6. It's higher than I would have liked, but it's not bad. We spent that money on:

Toilet paper
Beer (ok, not an essential item, I know, but it was a nice treat!)
Cream cheese

Everything else came either from foodnet, or some other bits and pieces which were gifted to us by friends.

Here's some of the stuff we picked up from Food Net

Here's what we ate this week (some of this used resources we already had in the house)

Sunday: Creamy, spinach and mushroom French bread Strombolis, honey chili tofu kebabs (UK style kebabs, like a gyro type thing)

I planned to photograph all our meals, but that was the only one I ended up taking. Oh, other than this lunch

Monday lentil chili on mashed potato

Tuesday potato fritters, cheesy broccoli rice casserole

Wednesday spaghetti with peas, garlic bread

Thursday home made pizza, garlic bread

Friday jalapeno poppers, beans n toast

Saturday Cheesy Pasta Marinara

Lots of yummy meals. I forgot what all we did for lunches but we were well fed. Not too bad for $40. Let see how well we can do this week...


Kinsleys4 said...

Wow, that's amazing. I'm jealous!

Snobound said...

Unfortunately, with the SBD, there were just too many carbs/starches and processed foods in your list for us. That's the one bad thing about eating more healthy - it's very expensive. I'm glad y'all were able to get some "assistance" though. This Food Net thing sounds like a very good program for people in need - much like a church food pantry.

AllisonB said...

I love your blog! It has really opened my eyes to so many new things! I have one question -- what are you going to do with all of that buttermilk? :-)

Again, I love all of your ideas and your writing is SO interesting!

Thanks for sharing!

Laura said...

That's a really great resource!!!

Michelle M. said...

I was wondering the same about the buttermilk. :) That seems like a really great thing to have in your neighborhood.

I hope that his month you guys are able to get a full wage.

Niecey said...

hahaha yes, it is a lot of buttermilk. I've been using it in cooking, adding it to sauces etc. I also use it to make pancakes, I use it in my breads and I use it to make scones. They gave us two to start with, then when they were packing up they had tons left and asked if we'd take some more. because most people were not taking it.

Pam D said...

That food looks absolutely delicious! Two thumbs up on all of it (and I love to cook with buttermilk... pancakes, muffins, salad dressing... you can do LOTS with it!). We have a service here called Angel Food Ministries; it isn't free, but for a small fee you get enough to feed a family of four for a week. Then, for very small increments you can add "extras". But the food you get from Food Net is beautiful; I wonder what it would take to start something like that up around here? (wheels turning... )

Momma Miller said...

Wow! We don't have anything like that in the Panhandle of Nebraska. I'd love to get something like this started, though. We only have two grocery stores here. They put everything on a clearance shelf once it gets close to bad. I wonder if they'd consider donating it. That way they can write it off, ya know? How neat!