Friday, August 1, 2014

Grocery Store Math

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.

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