September grocery challenge, week 2

birthday time

This week I went to the store twice, but didn’t spend too much either time. Saturday I bought milk, butter, potatoes, onions, coffee creamer, and Kleenex for a grand total of $37.

Sunday we had the family over for dinner to celebrate Lidya’s 19th birthday.  We had barbecued hamburgers, salad, pickles, cucumbers, watermelon, jello ice cream, and two kinds of birthday cake, lemon and chocolate.  I already had everything except hamburger buns, which my momma very kindly brought.

Thursday evening I went to the store again and got milk, cheese, chex, yogurt, oatmeal, oranges (5 lbs for $1.25), a few peaches,  chicken ($1.37/lb chicken breasts), vanilla, chocolate chips, and toilet paper.  Grand total on that trip was $65 which brings our total for the first 11 days of the month to $102.  I’m trying not to run out of things that my husband really cares about, since that leaves him very dubious of the virtues of this spending challenge idea.

I still have lots of meat and the garden continues to overflow with veggies.  So I’m hoping that getting by for the rest of the month on only $200 more should work just fine.

Here’s what our food looked like this week.

Breakfast: Eggs and toast
Lunch: Turkey sandwiches
Dinner: Ham and bean soup, zucchini muffins

Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Corn dogs and tater tots, cucumbers
Dinner: Hamburgers, jello, salad, watermelon, birthday cake

Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch:  Baked potatoes with bacon, cheese and sour cream. Watermelon, cake
Dinner:  Rice, turkey, sauteed cabbage, cucumbers

Breakfast: Pancakes, apples, milk
Lunch: Turkey noodle soup
Dinner:  Hamburger enchiladas (from the freezer, basically this recipe but with ground beef)

Breakfast: Cereal (we’re low on eggs) and apples
Lunch: Leftover corn dogs and hamburgers, rice
Dinner:  Hamburger zucchini stir-fry, pickles, pears

Breakfast: Hash brown combo with peppers and tomatoes
Lunch: Tomato melts, cucumbers, apples
Dinner: Baked chicken, potatoes, sauteed zucchini and eggplant, angel food cake

Breakfast: Eggs and toast
Lunch: Leftover fried rice, cucumbers,
Dinner: Pizza and garden cantaloupe, apple pie

Our tomatoes are already slowing down– it’s a cool September here– but today I think I have enough tomatoes and peppers to make some salsa. Our apple trees are still groaning with fruit.  We made and canned applesauce twice this week.  Once the younger kids and I worked through it together, and another time my oldest married daughter came over and helped us get a lot done.  I’m hoping to cut more apples today and freeze a few apple pies, and maybe even some baked apple donuts.  We love applesauce, but it is soooo labor-intensive.  Plus it will be fabulous to have some ready-made dessert in the freezer.

Are you doing the spending challenge?  Do you have any frugal wins to share today?



  1. I was trying to get by on $20 a week but I’ve been averaging more like $25 so I’m going to shoot for that. It’s been funny – since I started this challenge quite a few people, who didn’t know I’m doing it, gave me food. My sister gave us a gallon on milk, my neighbor a family pack of chicken legs he didn’t have room in freezer for, and my sister in law some frozen fruit treats her family didn’t like. Today I spent $10 on 3 cukes, 2 tomatoes, about 6 onions, lots of apples (.48/lb), 5 bananas, and a pound of granola. There are some really good sales at Sprouts this week! I expect I will go back for more apples before the sale is over. I still need 2 gallons of milk ($2 a gal here) and a bag of sugar for sure.

  2. Wow! Where does Susan P live!? A gallon of milk is $4.75 here in Western NC. You are doing great with your challenge. I don’t know how you do it!
    Blessings, Dawn

  3. Wow. Oranges are twice that much, at least, in South Texas. Apples are 1.25 /lb on sale. Bulk chicken at Costco is 2.50/lb fr chicken breasts. You have some great deals there !

    • I’ve most recently seen oranges for $1/lb here. These were needing to be used soon, so were on a special marked-down price at a small local grocery store because they wanted them to sell fast.

  4. Well no take out for us is a pretty big win! I did go to the store last night and bought pizza fixings to make my own pizza and chicken drumsticks for tonight. (Which I decided to turn into Molly’s Chicken-can’t wait to try it). I think I will spend more than I hoped, but we did well using a lot of what we had. One dinner fed us for two nights. I also used left over chicken in a stir fry. Just trying to do the best we can.

  5. Those prices are amazing! It is not like that here. So I did really well but part of that was we all got sick. We have had beef stew, beef vegetable dumpling stoop, grilled cheese and chicken noodle soup last couple days. I spent $8 on 2 packs of discounted chuck roast and round steak. .99 on sale bag of 5lb potatoes. That is it for us. We did get a pantry trip and it was a clothes month too which made for excellent winter clothes for 2 little ones and a like new stock pot for me. I canned 7 jars of pear jam, 5 of apple jelly, 4 berry jelly, a quart of raspberry applesauce and 3 pints of green salsa verde for enchiladas. Had all stuff for this from last week. I personally had a horrible week with a number of things so writing this out was nice reminder that somethings went well.

  6. I did go to the grocery store a couple times but I kept it to a minimum. My husband on the other hand…. lol. Oh well. BUT I was so amazed that people kept giving us food. Sunday morning someone called me up and asked if I wanted honey crisp apples for making applesauce. I came home with an entire bin …. which was a very full suburban! I made 179 quarts. Plus I still have 5 boxes of apples for drying and apple pies, etc.. Then someone gave me a box of winter pears. someone else two boxes of red Bartletts. Someone else gave us a box of Galas. And yet another person gave me two boxes of white peaches!! Then a friend who is moving away came over and gave me boxes of dry beans, canned goods and nuts. It’s unbelievable, really. In turn we shared some boxes of apples, tomatoes, pears and peaches with another family who has no access to orchard fruit. God gives to us that we may bless others. We are traveling now and have packed a very large cooler with food from home.

  7. Sometime I’ll blog about it…. but we have a system. We started making applesauce after lunch – my 21 year old daughter and I. We canned 100 quarts that afternoon. My other daughter showed up around 7pm and helped us finish up. The last canner load was finished by 10 pm. The next morning we started up again and I had 2 teens to help and a third came home in time to clean up by 2 pm. I have a large costco propane camping stove and we do most of the mess outside. I have two canners going at once outdoors….

  8. I bought some tortilla chips today. That was the only food item purchased this whole week. (Groceries for the month so far = $35) I’ve actually been carefully considering any purchases at all, and spent only about $50 total all week, including the gas for the car. Good week!

  9. Mary, any special tips for freezing apple pies? I have lots of apples to use up, and would love to have a yummy dessert on hand later in the season when I’m too busy to bake! How do you package the pies? And do you partially bake them, fully bake them, or freeze them “raw”?

    • Hi Becky,
      I just freeze them raw and then bake them either thawed out or frozen straight out of the freezer. 🙂 I don’t know if that is the best way to do it, but my family eats them happily. You do have to put foil around the crust edges if you bake them frozen, since the crust bakes faster.

  10. Well, my goals for the first week were to set goals! I ran reports of what we spent on good the past 3 months. From there, I set a goal of $300 less a month. It averaged out to around $200 a week. I was over in the first week, but some of the items I purchased bulk will last us the entire month.
    I still haven’t gone shopping yet for week 2!! I am almost out of milk, which will be what sends us shopping.
    I think just being aware of how much we spend, and then making a list of ways to change, was where I needed to start!

  11. The bad news, my goal for eating out was $70, and I’m already at $98 for the month.
    The better news, my goal for food groceries is $425, and I’m at $312, so just over $100 left for the rest of the month. I know if I don’t pay attention, I could easily go over in this too, but hopefully your weekly updates will help me remember to stay on track!! 🙂

  12. Doing decent but not as good as I had hoped. Not quite through half the month and we have spent more than half the budget. Still have a few pennies over $137 left in budget and we don’t need to buy anything this coming week.

    Update posted at

  13. I would love to do take part in this challenge. It seems that we waste sooo much food these days. Getting creative with what you have seems like an excellent way to be less wasteful.

  14. I normally spend $160/week for a family of 4 to eat all meals at home. This week we needed $100 for an item in the budget so I decided to only spend $60 on groceries. I was selective about what I bought and got it for $58. I’ll need bananas before next week so that is where the other $2 will go. We grilled chicken at the beginning of the week and have been eating that in different ways all week – tacos, quesadillas, salads, wraps, etc. It has helped save us money and time, since the evenings this week have been filled with swim practice.