Debt Free

My wife keeps telling me I need to write a follow-up to my last post about our “no grocery shopping” challenge. So, how’d we do? Here’s a summary:

  • Total # of weeks on plan: 12 weeks
  • Average spent on groceries per week: $15
  • Total spent over 12 weeks: $180
  • Total saved: $384

We stuck with our “no grocery shopping plan” (except for the caveats mentioned in the last post) for twelve weeks total. Our average grocery spend for those weeks was about $15/week, or about $180 total. Until we started our challenge, our average grocery spend was $47/week. At that rate, twelve weeks worth of groceries should have cost us $564. So we saved $384 on groceries during our challenge.

We didn’t hit our goal of using up everything in the cupboard, freezer and refrigerator. But we did get close. By the time we finished with the challenge, we were down to couscous and a few other dried/non perishable ingredients in the cupboard, one or two things in the freezer, and eggs, milk and leftovers in the fridge.

So why’d we stop after 12 weeks if the cupboards weren’t completely bare? Two reasons:
1. WE WERE DEBT FREE! – (except for the house)
2. It kind of sucked

Debt Free!
When we started this challenge, our goal was to hit a major debt-payoff target sooner than planned. That target was our last and final loan payment, which was way bigger than the $384 we saved on groceries. But, having the discipline to buckle down in that one area helped us find extra money in other areas (discipline is contagious). We were able to pay off the debt early. We paid off the loan twelve weeks after the challenge began, so there was no reason to continue not buying groceries. Thank you, Dave Ramsey.

The Challenge Got Old Really Fast
Having limited food options was tiring. We didn’t eat as much as we used to. Some of that was due to poor planning. When you come home from work and the only thing you have is dried beans, you don’t eat.

Or, you run to the store and buy eggs and bread, and eat eggs and toast for the fifteenth time that week. We ate a lot of eggs and bread. In retrospect, we should have purchased more fruits and veggies, but those were expensive and we were trying to meet a goal.

We both experienced food poisoning at one point. We tried to make food stretch, and kept it a little too long in that one case. Never again.

On the plus side, at least we had food and were not starving. That’s more than a lot of people around the world can say. This experiment gave me a better understanding of what it’s like to live in poverty. It also made me much more grateful for the food that I DO have. Who knows, maybe we’ll try this challenge again sometime. The cupboards are starting to get full again.