The Grocery Challenge Introductions

As was mentioned at the beginning of the month there is a grocery challenge taking place for the month of March. 2 contestants were chosen from the entries and I would like to take a moment to introduce them to you. 

Contestant number one's entry letter: 

Hey Liz,

I would love to participate in your grocery spending study.  Even if I don't get picked, I'd love to hear the results...we have an awful time each month keeping to our food budget (which is one of the only aspects of our budget that we have much say in) and would love to hear any suggestions/ideas to make it easier and less of a stress.

Our info:
In the month of Feb. we spend $306.66 on groceries.  We have 3 of us in the family (Baby eats a bunch, but obviously not like normal though...she is now 11 1/2 months old). My goal is to keep that bill down around $200. (I've been collecting coupons like crazy), stocking up when stuff is on sale, and I've always wanted to try taking $100 cash out every 2 weeks so as not to have any left to go over with. 

Contestant number two's entry letter: 

In response to your questions: 

How much you spent last month on groceries - the February grocery bill was $774
How many people in your family - We have a family of four (two adults, one eleven year old, one three year old).
How much you are hoping to cut your bill down by - $200
What strategies you are going to use. - not buying so far ahead, picking up things when they are on sale, buying by the week instead of for two. Making more foods at home (granola bars, muffins, breads), cutting down on the processed treats we buy (both for our health and to save the money).

We try to cook most of our meals at home, and pack a lunch for my husband and I every day. With my son they have a great lunch program at his school so we usually buy his lunch a few days a week (costs about $10/week for homemade lunches - great deal!)

I've been a meal planner for a long time, big list developer, but my issue has been putting things on my menu that we don't realistically have time to prepare as we're very busy running to meetings or sports events or whatever, and I find that we've been wasting a lot of food lately because I will buy all at once for two weeks, but we don't always get to everything in that time and a lot of food was spoiling.  Plus groceries make up 12% of our expenses every month. That's a HUGE amount of money, and with it being our number one variable expense, I'd like to try and knock that back as much as I can!

I look forward to reporting a HUGE decrease :) 

So here are our contestants. Here's hoping they are able to make their goals. 

Are you doing the challenge on your own? How is it going?


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