This week, we undertook the Live Below the Line challenge . Our final day is tomorrow and we're still going strong. To get an idea of ho...

Live Below the Line: Grocery Shopping Part 1

This week, we undertook the Live Below the Line challenge. Our final day is tomorrow and we're still going strong. To get an idea of how we strategized, take a look at a recap of our first shopping trip, below.

For my first round of shopping for the Live Below the Line challenge, I visited our local Walmart to stock up on some staples like rice and beans. The whole experience was very different from my normal food shopping experience.

This time, instead of considering organic normal rice versus fancy conventional rice, I was trying to decide between a small bag of white rice, a small bag of brown rice and a large bag of white rice. They are listed in decreasing cost per pound, and it ultimately came down to whether I could afford the whole large bag for just five days.

I ended up doing some quick math on the back of my shopping list, figuring that I had to come up with 27500 calories for the week, and the big bag was 8000 calories. At $2.98, into the cart it went.

I budgeted 5 cents per 100 calories, so the rice was below budget! Woohoo! That meant I could splurge on some oatmeal. At $2.88 for only 4500 calories, this was pretty expensive, all things considered. Still, oatmeal is an incredibly filling breakfast and will help us get some whole grains in our week.

The pasta was incredibly cheap: just 25 cents for a little under half a pound. At 700-800 calories per package, these fell well below my target of 5 cents per 100 calories. This bodes well for the purchase of  fresh vegetables.

I almost bought a little bottle of olive oil for $2, but decided instead to pick this canola oil for $1.28; not only was it much larger, it was also cheaper. The whole bottle has 3840 calories, again bringing me in below budget. 

I looked at Walmart's bean offerings, but couldn't decide if they were cheap enough in the time I had available. They also didn't have any dried chickpeas—a more versatile bean option than black or pinto. Overall, this trip yielded 18090 calories for $8.14, or around 110 calories for every 5 cents.

This left me with $6.86 to come up with around 9500 cal, which brought my target to 70 calories per 5 cents—a big improvement.

After looking at the macronutrient distribution from this trip, I purchased 66% carbohydrate, 26% fat and 8% protein. I usually aim for closer to 55-60% carbohydrate, 25-30% fat and 15% protein. My focus for round 2 of shopping would be purchasing protein and vegetables.

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