Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Great Experiment...


If you can imagine Professor Henry Higgins and Eliza Dolittle wrapped into one person, you've got the image about right of what I'm trying to do.

I'm attempting The Great Experiment until the last Tuesday in December. My weeks run Wednesday through Tuesday, so obviously this is why I'm ending the challenge the way I am.

The Great Experiment will be to use no more than $175 per week for groceries, as this is roughly the equivalent amount of money a recipient of food stamps/WIC would receive as I mentioned in my previous entry.

Now we started Week One a little late. The reason being is that Wednesday is the day the ladies lunch. There are 5 of us (and Prince Lorenzo, poor guy) who go out to lunch: Myself and the Princesses Ella, The Dowager Empress (my mom - a force to be reckoned with) and HER mother... The Dowager-Dowager Empress.

Our luncheon date was set for Noon at Big Boy (tres chic, non?) and so the Royal Entourage wended our way to the Royal Treasury (aka The Bank) and withdrew the appropriate fundage for the week. That's One Hundred Seventy Five George Washingtons in case you weren't paying attention.

Luncheon - The bill was $37.35 of which I kicked in a $20 bill for our portion rather than pay the WHOLE thing or let mom foot the bill (she paid the last two times and I think I paid the last 5).

Post-luncheon we adjourned to Target for some provisions:

  • Milk - $2.94
  • Eggs - $1.62
  • Juice - $.74
  • Butter - $2.49
  • Lite Canned Fruit (Peaches, Pears, Fruit Cocktail) - $.84 each
  • Similac Advance Formula - $23.99
  • Arnold's Raisin Bread - $2.89 (OUCH!)
  • Bananas - $.33 for two
  • Deli Ham - $4.49
  • Sandwich Bread - $1.05
  • Fruity Cheerios - $2.69
  • Organic Broccoli - $1.99
  • Organic Green Beans - $2.49
  • Cole Slaw Mix (NOT Organic) - $1.59
  • Organic Carrots - $1.99
  • Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix - $.37
  • Jiffy Blueberry Muffin Mix - $.47
  • Two boxes of Duncan Hines cake mix for my cake class - $.89 each

  • And a few things not on the list but quite necessary:

    • Scar cream (Target brand was half the price of Mederma and the pharmacist told me they were basically the same) - $7.99 (instead of $13.99 - I would've bought the store brand anyways, but there you go)
    • Birthday card for Nana from ME - $2.99
    • Birthday card for Nana from the kids - $2.49

    Total Damage: 68.82 Of which $5 was paid via a year and a half old gift card!

    So my total for groceries for the week: $64.22 Not too shabby. Especially considering I had promised the girls ONE thing from the Dollar Tree if they could comport themselves properly during lunch and groceries (which they did).

    So off we hied ourselves to the Dollar Tree to acquire:

  • One Item per girl as promised ($2)
  • One roll gift wrap for Nana's birthday present ($1)
  • One pack of tissue for Nana's birthday present ($1)
  • One gift box for Nana's birthday present ($1)
  • One pack of straws for the kitchen ($1)
  • One bag of cat food ($1) - the cat is SOL if she doesn't like the cheap food
  • One pocket calendar for the kids to give Nana for her birthday ($1)
  • Two mermaid coloring books for the girls' Christmas stockings ($2)
  • One 4-pack of Disney's Little Mermaid Crayons for the girls' Christmas stockings ($1)
  • Total Damage: $11.77

    We are now set for the week/weekend with $79.01 left to eat out, buy extra groceries with and so forth... OR I could just stick it in my sock drawer until I need it...

    The most pricelss part of it all?

    Nana's birthday gift/cards cost me $4. Yup. Four bucks. The outfit I'm giving her was a hand made dress that I can't wear/have never worn. It will fit her well and is her color and style (so not mine).


    Last night was Class 1 of Wilton Level III Cake Decorating. To treat myself to a little somethig before class (dinner would be at least anouther 2.5 hours away), I splurged and spent $1.77 at Checkers for a Chocolate Milk Shake. At the beginning of class, I noticed I was short a bag. Cost - $4.32. While this should have come from any alowance or blow money, as I only had grocery money on me and I'm firmly resolved NOT to whip out Ye Olde American Express ever again... I paid CASH.

    Total Left: $72.98

    This should last us through the weekend and up to Tuesday night with some creativity.

    Dinner tonight is Crockpot Beef & Peppers, hold the Peppers.
    Tomorrow we're taking my mom out to lunch ($30 max)
    Sunday is Brunch ($25 max)
    And then Monday & Tuesday eating back at home I should have a wee bit left over!

    I'll update as we go...


    We ended up not eating as scheduled above...

    Instead, Friday we went out to Chick-Fil-A for lunch - I can't find the receipt, but it was around $20. Let's just say $20 even.

    Then Saturday we had lunch at Chili's - $21.95 including tax and tip.
    A quick run to Target for chicken - $5.15
    Dollar Tree - $6.42
    Postage - $7.80
    McDonald's for breakfast yesterday - $10
    Dinner at Pollo Tropical - $14.90 (including a $1 donation to toys for tots).

    A vintage table cloth for my business - $4.28

    The total food portion of the week's spending: $165.74

    I reimbursed myself from the checking account for the non-food items - especially postage! - as this challenge is all about GROCERIES only.

    As you can see, we managed to eat out numerous times and still have plenty of food at home.

    So Mr Kansas newspaper food editor, I think you need to take a lesson from The Empress.

    Stay tuned for NEXT WEEK'S udpate...

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