Recap: October Grocery Challenge

kabocha avocado kale october challengeI don’t know why but this year the time change has really thrown me right off schedule.  Absolutely nothing, except my run, got done yesterday and Edith’s naps and our meals and everything were just way off. Anyways it has also thrown my mornings off when I normally work so I have been lagging on getting this (and many other) posts out. So anyways lets get down to it.

So last month I wrote about a food spending challenge that I had set out for our family.  We challenged ourselves to spend no more than $825 and it was broken down like this:

  • Groceries: 84 meals at $5 per meal +Coffee/Alcohol/Chocolate/Snacks + Oil/Spices = $550
  • 9 meals out + Coffee Out =  $275 (mini goal $200)

Now for some of you $825 may still have seemed like a lot but since we had been spending closer to $1000+ on everything. I know crazy. So now the question is did we succeed?


It feels so good to actually tell you that yes I actually successfully completed one of my challenges.

We even had a date night in which is why we didn’t meet our mini dining out goal but overall we did really well.

So how did we do it:

  • Menu Planning. I tried my best to create a menu for the week and a shopping list and buy only what was on my list and to stick to the plan as close as possible.
  • Shop Deals. I really shopped the sales and swapped out ingredients when I was able to for less expensive ones.
  • Dine out at Happy Hour. This nice thing about Portland is that most places have happy hour from 4-6 and sometimes later and since having a toddler means we turn into old people eating dinner at 5/5:30pm works for us. This means less expensive drinks and eats for the whole family!
  • Chinook Book (or any local discount book). In Vermont we used to buy deals on Localvore Today and yearly we bought a Buy Local Coupon book. Out here in Portland we buy the Chinook Book app that we can use right from our phone. Both have local deals at restaurants, coffee shops, stores and other local businesses. We are able to support local businesses while also saving money!


Dining out actually feels like a treat and more FUN! We have really cut back on meals out that are just out of laziness and are focusing on going out for a treat. Now when we do go out to eat we really enjoy the family time and get more out of the experience.

We have been going to the grocery store less.  Before when we were going out to eat so often we were also going to the market all the time. I mean like almost every day. CRAZY. Now we go on one big grocery trip and then mid/end of the week we might pick up a few things because I seem to always forget my list or forget to get everything on my list even when i do bring it.

I want to keep with it. Now I want to keep with eating the majority of our meals at home however the one change I will be making is I might spend a little more here and there on ingredients that are a little fresher. I found we ate a lot more frozen veggies, beans and grains and I would rather be eating more fresh vegetables.

How do you save money while still eating well?

October Grocery Challenge

As you all know we are in the middle of another move. Although this time we are just moving across town it seems that it’s just as hard as our cross country move. On top of moving there is the expense of moving which for us includes paying double rent* and moving expenses so this coming month we are reigning in the budget. That’s where the challenge comes in to play.


This month we are challenging ourselves to eat at least 84 meals (breakfast, lunch & dinner) and all snacks at home/packed for work.  We will be allowed to have a max of 9 meals out however they must on average be $25 or less for the three of us and we are allowed max of 2 coffees each out per week.


  • Groceries: 84 meals at $5 per meal +Coffee/Alcohol/Chocolate/Snacks + Oil/Spices = $550**
  • 9 meals out + Coffee Out =  MAX –> $275 Goal –> $200

Currently we are spending nearly $1000/month on going out, coffee and groceries – yeah I know it sounds like a lot. So this is really going to be a challenge but with moving, a Seattle trip and the holidays I have a lot of motivation to stick with this challenge. I plan on posting $5 meal recipes and would love to have others participate and share theirs as well.

If you are interested in participating in this challenge leave a comment below and then head over to your own blog and write your own post and goals and link back to this page by October 1st.

Who’s in?

*Portland has a crazy rental market and when you find an amazing place like we did you have to jump on it or take the chance that you may or may not find an equally wonderful place.

**Update: um so I can’t add.

May Healthy Challenge: Plank-A-Day

Can you believe that it is almost May? Did this month fly or what? First just a shout out to all of the April 100 Mile Challenge participants you rock! Now on to May!

This months challenge is slightly, okay totally, more attainable than last months challenge (more on that in a future post).  This month I want you to complete a plank-a-day. That’s it. Can you do it?


So what you need:

  • A stop watch- if you have a smart phone there should be one on it
  • A space for you to preform your plank and that’s it!

Challenge yourself to increase your time everyday even if it is just by a few seconds.

How the challenge works:

After you do you plank record your time on the Google Drive spreadsheet that I will send you.  At the end of the challenge participants who have completed the full 31 days will be entered to win a prize (TBD). Bonus: You can Instagram or Tweet a screenshot of your stop watch time for a bonus giveaway entry (up to one tweet per day) but make sure to include @runwithtongs and #RWTPlankADay to your IG/Tweet AND you must submit the URL on your spreadsheet for it to count.

If you have little to no experience with the plank here is a quick tutorial:


#RWT100Miles: Update

Screen shot 2013-04-19 at 8.48.38 AM I had the best intentions to write this post back on the 15th (the half way point) but with everything that happened this week I have taken a little break from posting. I have had a few post go live that I had previously worked on but other than that I haven’t been feeling ready to get back to blogging I have been to consumed with everything that has been happening this week.

Anyways I thought that it was important to an update before this challenge is over and I hope to do at least one more next week along with a post on my favorite running gear.

I honestly am not sure that I myself will be able to complete the challenge but I am trying my hardest to do so.  I think I was a little naive to think that I could easily get in 100 miles this month while taking car of a baby and my home responsibilities. I am not giving up but just being realistic.

So far I have completed 50.3 miles walking and running.  So with 49.7 to go that means I need to average 4.14 miles per day between now and the 30th. I know based on my running plan I have to run about 20-25 miles between now and the end of the month so it’s just the other 25 or so miles I need to complete as well.  Hmmm…maybe I can?

I would love to hear how other participants are doing and what your thoughts are.  It really has put things in perspective for me and makes me WANT to move more.   I sit far too much during the day and need to get these legs outside and moving around more often.

P.S. I will be posting early next week with more details but get ready for May’s challenge it’s going to be planking awesome. hint. hint.