For the past 2 years, I have been using my $20 grocery challenge to help me budget my way with food. I’ll be honest it started out as a fun experiment not meant for lifelong use however I have learned a lot from my experience and wanted to share. This challenge forced me to examine the things I eat, the amount of food that is wasted, and how much money I spend. I really believe food isn’t something that one should struggle or cheap out (a lesson I learned later in life) but sometimes life takes you places where you have to adjust.
Shrimp Pasta Bake
For those of you who are not subscribed to my YouTube channel, my $20 challenge was born through a conversation with my friend. We were discussing the prices of items and I myself was feeling the pinch in the pockets when it came to grocery shopping. With inflation at an all-time high, this came in very handy I won’t lie. The challenge basically is centered around creating a meal I want to eat using items I’ve purchased. Most challenges on YouTube often use other items already in the household. For this challenge salt & pepper are the only grocery items that are assumed (already in the household). So, if my meal requires oil or butter then yes I have to purchase these items. I also wanted to add the sale items are not to be included, why? because if all you have is $20 to purchase grocery items and if it’s on sale this week and not the next then what. Trust me when I say it has been a struggle but well worth it. I purchase items I want to eat and almost nothing goes to waste.
By the time you read this January would have passed and I would have been well into a new month of challenges however I still wanted to show you the things I was able to purchase in January and the meals I was able to create using the $20 challenge. It has not been easy but I started like I said 2 years ago so it became easier as time passed.
Fruit Salad with yogurt and cereal
I usually do my grocery shopping once a month so I pick a day to shop without restrictions, if I am not able to, I shop in batches. It’s important I plan my trips prior to going which is why I created my grocery challenge book (I removed it as I need to tweak and make changes). If I don’t plan my trips properly, I end up with mismatched items lol honestly, I would sometimes wonder why I even went shopping and this often leads to waste.
For January, I was able to create a shrimp pasta bake where I cook my pasta and shrimp separately mix with cheese and tomatoes, and baked. I had no idea what I was making but it turned out great. One might call it a struggle meal lol but babyyyyy it was yummy. I went to Walmart for this purchase because I can usually get shrimp at a reasonable price for a lot. (this has been a struggle due to inflation)
Breakfast Egg Muffins
Whenever I go grocery shopping, I always make sure to plan for breakfast that way I can ensure I am getting my much-needed fruit intake. Trust me planning my trips this way has helped me tremendously. So, for January I was able to get two trips for breakfast, one of which was for breakfast egg muffins. Think of a crustless quiche (that’s the best way for me to describe this). I was trying to grab some fruit for this trip but that was not possible. The other was for a fruit salad with yogurt and cereal, this was important for me because I was able to get fruits of my choice so nothing else mattered at that point lol. I’m really not a picky person when it comes to breakfast as long I have fruits honestly, I am happy.
My other dinner options for this month included shrimp tacos and salmon with veggies, For the shrimp tacos I was able to make my own version of a tortilla lol with cheese, sour cream, beans, taco seasoning, and of course shrimp. I got myself multiple protein options for the month so I was happy. For the salmon and veggies, I went to my local Asian grocery to get my salmon, it’s one of the only places I find where I can best responsibly price salmon and vegetables to create a meal.
Shrimp Tacos (my way)
I try my best to visit different supermarkets every month to do my grocery shopping, however, I tend to stick to a few stores where I know I am able to get specific items such as shrimp and salmon at a reasonable price. For me, I start my meal plans with the protein and everything else follows. I do this because the protein is what mostly eats into my $20.
Salmon with Veggies
I wanted to share this journey with you all as I am currently on a budget and I hope this information helps those who need it. Although it started out as a fun challenge for me it has quickly turned into a helpful and useful learning experience. I am able to manage my food waste because I cannot tell you the countless times things have gone bad in my fridge because “ I have nothing to eat” or I simply forgot it was there. Grocery shopping with intent (whether on a budget or not) has allowed me to manage this better. It has also allowed me to be intentional about the things I eat and how I prepare my meals and has forced me to look at my eating and spending habits.
I post new $20 grocery challenge videos on my Youtube channel every Tuesday or you can check out my playlist that has videos from when I started my challenge. Trust me they are fun!!!