For those of you who don’t remember, here is the post that explains the Thanksgiving Challenge. The basic idea was to spend $100 on food in the month of November. Throughout the month you reflect on how thankful you are for what you have, and get the added benefit of clearing out your kitchen cabinets.
I did great on the second half, not so hot on the first! Here’s a breakdown –
- the $100 was for our entire (two-person) household
- it did not include things like toilet paper and toothpaste
- we chose not to include booze, although we only ended up drinking once or twice in the month
I included everything I ate in the challenge. I also included everything my husband and I ate together, as well as all of my husband’s meals. In the end, I did not include the snacks my husband ate without me. His dinners the weekends I was out of town went into the total. The ice-cream cones he bought and ate entirely by himself did not.
In the end, our balance was $98.86. This included all of our groceries and most of our meals out. It’s that most that was the problem – we did some cheating! In the end there were 4 occasions of eating out that did not go into our totals. Some were deliberate choices (the meal I mentioned before the start of the challenge that came from my last paycheck, a last minute meet up with my cousin) that I’m happy I made. Others were spur of the moment choices I regret. Chicken fingers eaten drunkenly at midnight are not a necessity.
It’s also worth noting that we started with a fairly stocked kitchen. And my grandparents paid for our meals our entire visit (and Turkey Day). But it’s also worth noting that the Foodbuzz Festival was often surprisingly absent of food and I managed to stick to my guns (and my budget).
In spite of a few disappointments, my overall reactions to the challenge were positive. Having to think more about my food choices often led me to think more about how fortunate I am to have those choices in the first place. And it was very cathartic to clear out my kitchen!
Here are some links to some key learning opportunities from the challenge –
- like when my favorite cousin comes into town at the last minute
- or when there is something special to celebrate
- especially when you’ve had too much to drink
Sometimes empty pantries led to strange choices,
but the most wonderful meals are often low-budget.
- it’s easy to spruce up restaurant leftovers
- you can make a four ingredient casserole
- eggs can be cheap and fast
- cauliflower patties are surprisingly tasty
- but bean patties can be even better
Did you participate in the Thanksgiving Challenge? What did you end up learning/feeling?
One last link! Here is a blog reflecting on the evolution of Thanksgiving that I think you all would like!