Grocery Challenge

Rigel leaves to go into the MTC on August 28th.  Washington, Seattle will be where he will serve.  I’m actually gonna miss this kid.  Because families pay about $400.00 a month for what their Missionaries need while in the field, I’ve got to whittle our grocery budget down  about $150.oo a month. This is a chuck considering our grocery budget is already tight and puts the government’s Thrifty Food Plan to shame.  I’ve learned so much over the years from Parker’s blog readers, I thought I’d invite you along for My Grocery Challenge.

Cause everything is more fun when you are doing it with friends, right?

I figure that part of that $150.00 a month will come from Rigel just not being here to eat. He can really go through the milk in the form of pre-workout shakes.  And the yogurt.  And the fruit and veggies.  And…..well, let’s just say that 17 year old athletes eat a lot.

I wish I could say that half of that $150.00 will come just from Rigel not being here to eat.   I know it won’t be that much.   I’ve got some budget cutting to do.

My first couple of ideas include going back to making my own goat milk yogurt for Parker.  I’ve gotten out of the habit as things around here have been really busy.  But after spending over $6.00 for a half quart of the stuff, I’m ready to hone my yogurt making skills again. Either that or homemade Kefir, Baby.

dehydrated goat milk

Next is making sure I have a stash of dried goat milk for months where there isn’t the funds to purchase fresh.  I found an excellent deal on Amazon for the brand we use.  MUCH cheaper than what I can get locally.

When Reed asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day, I think I shocked him by replying that I wanted a new Gorilla Rack (they carry them at Costco)  for the basement so I had more room for what I intend to can and dehydrate this summer.  Green beans, potatoes, salsa, tomatoes, jams……the list goes on.

What I don’t can or dehydrate, I’ll freeze.  I don’t have enough room in my freezer (I sooo need another  freezer), but my Mom said I’m welcome to store stuff in hers.

Each time I can make a trip to my basement for something, is one less time I have to make a trip to the grocery store, saving time and fuel…and impulse shopping. 

It looks like my parent’s apple trees will be producing like crazy this year!  yay!  The type of apples my parents grow don’t hold up well in storage, but are great for freezing and dehydrating.  If we’re lucky they may have some pears and plums too.  However we got zapped by a frost just as these trees went into bloom.

home canned green beans

I’m hoping to have the funds to fill my freezer up with meat before Rigel leaves.  I LOVED the chicken we picked up from Zaycon*, so if that comes around again, hopefully I’ll be able to restock.  I’m not sure if I’ll be able to afford the grass fed, local hamburger we love.

Around Thanksgiving last year, Costco had organic turkeys for .99 a pound.  Keeping my fingers crossed they’ll have them again this year, and I can grab enough to cook up one a month for several months. I love using the bones for broth.

I also need to find a GREAT recipe for a whole grain bread.  My kids LOVE the spelt bread made by a local company, but the price is ridiculous.  I can grind my own spelt, I just need the perfect recipe.

A stash of Arm and Hammer laundry detergent

I was able to pick up a HUGE stash of Arm and Hammer laundry detergent for less than I can make it when you price it out by the load.  I’ve yet to find a laundry detergent recipe that I really like anyway, so this was a HUGE blessing.  I have a shelf where I keep all my laundry stuff, but there wasn’t enough room for all of these, so they are being stored in the box!

I’m going to spend some time putting together a new grocery budget index that includes  how much I can spend for what a month. In other words, if we are out of something before the month is over….well, we are out of it.   We find a substitute rather than purchasing more. For example, after Rigel leaves, we are going to need to make do  with two gallons of milk a month.  I grab those two gallons and when they are gone we move on to instant milk.  So, spend $6.00 a month on milk and no more. 

Hopefully I can find a small chest freezer at a yard sale this summer.  Having a freezer just for milk and goat milk and frozen garden stuff for Parker’s blenderized diet purchased would really help.  Every time I go to purchase goat milk it has gone up another .15 cents or so.  yikes!

Prices have been zooming up lately.  The popcorn I purchase from Costco went up over a buck in just a month.  I used to buy popcorn in big 50 pound bags.  I’m going to look into that again.

I can do this.  I know I can.  Yes, it will be more work, but I’ll be able to put together healthy meals.  That’s what counts.

So, who’s up for a Grocery Challenge?   (Can you believe her storage room?  Gorgeous!)


*Our Zaycon referral link:




About Tammy and Parker

Special Needs Blogger, and homeschooling Mom, heavily involved in advocacy for all kids with special needs in Utah.


  1. Best goat milk ever! We had to use it in place of formula when we couldn’t secure donated breast milk when Bug was tiny. I was also raised on the stuff!

  2. Frankie B says:

    Doesn’t your church have a program where if the parents can’t make the full amount the ward does, and other people putting in money to the general mission fund. Meaning, if you can’t afford his monthly allotment he will still get to go and they won’t send him home? Isn’t there other’s putting in towards his mission? Did he not put anything towards his mission? Good luck with the challenge. I think I would also pray for faith that the local congregation is generous in their mission fund donations

    • Yes, our church does have that program. But there have been a lot of kids in our ward needing help and it takes it’s toll on a congregation. So we are hoping to be as self sufficient as possible. My parents will be putting $100.00 towards his monthly costs, it’s up to us for the rest.

      My parents will go in on his suits and his luggage. We’ll be purchasing the rest, along with a bike.

      Before Parker all of my boys had mission funds and all of my kids had college funds. Every penny of our savings (including the missionary and college funds) was used in paying medical bills during Parker’s first almost 4 years. We’ll be paying off that debt for a long, long time. At one time we were paying close to $2,000 a month in just co-pays for his prescriptions. It added up quickly.

      He works, but he also has to buy his own clothes and fuel for his car and pretty much everything else… Prom. All of my kids, once they’ve started working have done a lot of supporting of themselves even while living at home. It’s not how I had envisioned it to be, but it is what it is. You learn to make do.

  3. I am happy to have another great missionary in Seattle, I will watch over him here! You inspire me so much, my Parker is a year younger than yours. We have been blessed with good health until just the last year and changing our habits and routines have been hard but we are so happy to endure what has been placed before us because the blessings that have come after are amazing. Hang in there!

  4. Frankie B says:

    That is a great thing. I understand the cost it takes to 1) go on a mission as I have gone myself. And thanks to a generous person they wrote a check out for my entire monthly costs and handed it to my parents as I left. 2) Congrats to the congregation. They have an enormous amount of faith to be sending out that many people to serve the lord. We have taken out bankruptcy and have no home or cars etc. We have one klunker that never seems to be enough. I was just wondering how it was. But your right. Like most, we make do. Luckily for us we moved and the coverage for medically fragile and SN kids is like hitting the lotto. Good luck to Elder hodson. We pray daily for missionaries around the world.

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