Our pledge, part V.

Read about our pledge, and our progress: week one, week two, week three.

We've made it another full week without going to any major chain. It's definitely getting easier.

Here are the numbers from week four:
I'm not sure if we starved during the last week of April maybe we got a lot of meals for free... but we didn't go grocery shopping (unless you count buying soda which is what that slight blue increase is). So the grocery numbers are a little odd to look at. That week, we clearly went out to eat a lot so maybe that's where we got all our food. 

I've decided to compare all the numbers. We'll still continue and finish out our pledge through the end of the month (Friday!) but as far as major and minor purchases go -- we're set for the week. So here goes:
Groceries were more expensive, but  -- we actually shopped for groceries every week which could possibly be the first time ever. We typically miss a few weeks and just make due with what we have, or go out to dinner, or have dinner elsewhere. So while the numbers are higher -- it's because we actually ate a balanced meal every single night. Woah.

"Fast" Food was more expensive. I think this was because "fast" food that is purchased at a place that isn't a chain (McDonalds, Wendy's, Taco Bell, etc.) is expensive. We often went out for Saturday afternoon lunch to small shops, or farm stands with salad bars, etc. All this food was more expensive but possibly healthier.

Restaurants were less expensive. But... because we bought groceries every week and had dinner planned we didn't have the need to go to restaurants as often as we did in previous months. So I think that's why the numbers are lower.

Miscellaneous spending was less expensive. This really surprises me because as we were going along I felt like I was constantly complaining about the cost of these types of things. At the same time, we're out of a lot of stuff and have yet to replenish most of it (Swiffer wipes, Mr. Clean sponges, canned cat food, dish washer detergent, laundry detergent, etc.). 

Gas was more expensive. Nothing changed between the two months other than buying locally and the stores are a little further apart and out of the way. So the extra cost in gas is definitely attributed to our pledge. 

So the final analysis?

- We'll continue to buy our produce from local places. We really enjoyed a few of the shops we started going to and the prices for this type of food was decent.
- We're going to go back to chain buying for all the food that can be found in the aisles on the inside of the grocery store. You know... like the pastas, rices, sauces, snacks, soda, etc. At most stores, spaghetti sauce was close to $8. I refuse to pay that...
- We're going to make a conscious effort to continue to eat at local restaurants... but we're not going to be opposed to going to places like the Outback or Chipotle. We may or may not already have plans for this weekend. :)
- We're going to go back to chain buying for household items, paper goods, medicines, cat food, etc. It was just too inconvenient.

I highly suggest you try to do this challenge for a certain number of weeks. It's interesting how many places you go to on a daily basis that would be cut out of your life. I haven't been to Target in a month. We haven't gone to the mall, or major stores like Old Navy, Petsmart or Michaels. We haven't eaten at Taco Bell, or Dunkin Donuts and we haven't gone to a real movie theater. When we're out and about and get thirsty or hungry we really have to stop and think about where we can go and what we can buy. It was no longer about stopping at the nearest convenient store.

But it was an adventure. We went to places we have lived near but have never gone to. We had different kinds of date nights like ice cream stands and the drive-in. We went to flea markets and for walks outside when all I really wanted was to go to the mall. We made dinner every night and used brand new recipes. We ate healthier foods, and we weren't wasteful with what we cooked. We didn't save money, but I think we achieved our goal of spending our money in better places.

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