My three daughters and I walked into the grocery store with $30 and a mission. We needed to pack a picnic lunch for two different days, one for four and one for six people. It had to be easily portable and fun to eat, as well as gluten-free.
We ended up with Greek yogurt, rice crackers, and melon for a fruit salad and spent $28. Is that a lot of money for two meals? Yes! Way more than I usually spend per meal with a monthly budget of $500 for groceries and bulk foods for my family of six. (For you math people, that comes out to about $1 per person per meal.) On the other hand, it is less than we would spend if we went out to dinner? Oh yeah. It comes out to $2.80 per person per meal. It is hard to go out to a fast food place for that price.
So how did we go about shopping? I told the girls when we went in that we had $30 to spend. I suggested that we look for fruit for $1 lb. or less. After wandering the produce section for a while, my oldest spotted melon on sale for $.66 per lb. Bingo! We chose a honeydew, a cantaloupe, and half a watermelon. Moving on to the dairy section, we decided Greek yogurt would be a healthy and filling choice, but we didn't want fat-free. It was a challenge to find full-fat yogurt, but we finally did. It was $1.39 per cup. But let's see: if we buy a four-pack, the price goes down to $1 a cup. For 25% savings, we can all eat the same flavor. So for $4, we got three four packs. Some gluten-free crackers would go great with that! Oh, wow! Instead of $3.49 like usual, the rice crackers were on sale for $1.99. We picked out six boxes. Oh, oh. We'd better go weigh the melon. The cantaloupe and honeydew were 6 lbs. or $4 each. The watermelon half was 4.5 lbs. or about $3 Our total in the cart was $36 dollars. Oops! Something had to go back. Not the yogurt; it was the main dish. We really like the crackers, but here, hold $4 worth of crackers, now hold $4 worth of melon. Which do you think will be more filling? OK, let's put back three boxes of crackers. When we went through the checkout, we spent $28.
Mission accomplished! Not only that, but we will have a box of crackers left over. We should also have enough melon salad for another meal and two extra yogurt cups.
Math in the grocery store: homeschooling and life skills merging beautifully.