Day 31: Second to last day– yeah!

We had a busy day, with school, yard work, and running a few errands.  I put pre-soaked chili beans on the stove after breakfast to cook , and by lunch they were cooked.   I planned to add meat and vegetables to the chili, but we got back from errands so late that I just served the seasoned beans for lunch, and waited until dinner to add beef and peppers.   Slightly disorganized, but the good thing was that it made dinner seem a bit different than lunch, especially because I served it over rice at dinner.   By the way, that’s a great way to stretch any stew, leftover or canned.   Makes the meal heartier.

I spent $35 today, bringing our September total to $350. Yikes.  Truthfully, I only HAD to buy two things today: dish soap and toilet paper. But pears were 3 pounds for $1– a smoking good deal– so I bought 25 pounds. At that same store, boneless skinless chicken breasts were $1.79 a pound. I didn’t need chicken yet, but I didn’t want to make another trip later to the same (rarely-visited) store, so I grabbed 9 pounds. Then– one of the few true splurges for the month — I also bought a dozen donuts off the reduced bakery shelf- $3. Which seemed like a bargain considering I was shopping at lunchtime with 7 hungry kids.

I’m not intending to go shopping tomorrow, so there you have it– $350 for the month. Considering that is less than half what I usually spend to feed 10-11 people for a MONTH, I am satisfied. In fact, it was easy enough that we are planning to try getting by on $600/month for awhile. In a day or two, I’ll show you a picture of my pantry. Thanks to the garden and all our canning, it is fuller than it was at the start of the month.

Breakfast: Polenta, apples, OJ
Lunch: Chili, watermelon
Dinner: Chili with beef over rice, pears, pumpkin pie


  1. Mary this is amazing! I had to bow out of the challenge this month. With family in town three times in as many weeks, 4 birthdays, and going out of town ourselves, I completely lost track and went about $70 beyond my $300.00 limit. Poor planning up front made me a cautionary tale! But I had a ton of fun while it lasted and am going to attempt another challenge soon.


    I think i’ve spend that much this week on my family of 6. I’m reading the Tightwad Gazette and plan on getting your book so by the next challenge I should be doing much better!

  3. You have no idea what an inspiration you are to me. Beginning this month (shopped last night) I have started my own challenge and I am paying with cash only to hold myself accountable.

    I think you did AMAZING!

  4. Mary

    You did a wonderful job!!!! Like you said it’s 1/2 what you normally spend and from what you’ve written you didn’t totally skip sales and delete the pantry and freezer. If you brought absolutely only what you needed you probably would have come under $300 but then would have to possibly pay more for the same things in October. By the way your Spaghetti Carbonara was a huge hit the other night such a hit that there wasn’t any leftovers for lunch. My husband can’t stop raving about it.

  5. I can’t even imagine spending only 350 for an entire month and we are only a house of 6. I am so impressed and encouraged!

  6. That’s OK, $350 for the month is awesome for that many people. I wouldn’t have passed up those great deals either.

  7. Well, I wasn’t doing the challenge, but rather had just been convicted that we needed to be better stewards of our grocery bill. One of the ways we did that was by using some of the things you set out in your book! SO, at the end of the month, we spent $480 on both groceries AND toiletries (there are 3 in our little family thus far…yes, one of those is only 15 months, but diapers are EXPENSIVE and she eats surprisingly a lot!!), AND my freezer is well-stocked with meat due to an excellent sale I found earlier this month. We’ll see if I can do this well every month. Here goes nothing!

  8. I think you did awesome! $350 for 10 people thats pennies a day. Great job.

  9. Way to go!