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Out Early – My $30 Challenge Ended On Friday Night

I hung in there with the $30 challenge until Friday night. I got a lot out of it even if I didn’t manage to make it all the way to Sunday night. Here’s the breakdown leading up to having what would usually be considered a reasonable meal out, but that totally blew the budget and the challenge.

Wednesday: This was day three of training at work. I neglected to bring in breakfast, so dined on a Coke Zero and hung in there. I did bring in a peanut butter (no jelly to save a few pennies) sandwich, and I dutifully ate that until it was clear there was a ton of leftover pizza at training. I ate a few slices. For dinner we saw a repeat of the burritos/huevos rancheros situation, but to switch things up I browned some ground sirloin and used that and one scrambled egg as the main filling. It was $2.88 for 1/2 lb of high quality ground sirloin, and figure I used about 1/2 of that.

Thursday: Thursday was a tough day. I hadn’t planned ahead and eaten breakfast, and then I didn’t have time to eat lunch. I would have been completely screwed were it not for the “A-Team” (health squad) at work who left healthy snacks at my desk the night before:
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I scrounged for snacks during the day (a leftover single serve bag of chips that I had kept around for emergencies, a medium iced coffee that a co-worker graciously offered) but generally arrived home with nothing in my stomach. I was completely starving. I made a couple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and Molly and I discussed cheating and ordering food in, but we held firm and stuck to our standard fare. As it turned out, that night around 1am we had to take Toofis in to the vet after he had what we think was a seizure. After a worrisome late night/early morning that included bringing work home as well, we thought about stopping for whatever was open on the way back, but didn’t. Toofis seems to be none the worse for wear, by the way. We’re keeping an eye on him.

Friday: Started the day off right, with a piece of whole wheat bread and peanut butter. For lunch I had a mini-splurge and drove to Lee’s Bakery for a $2.50 Banh Mi sandwich and a Diet Dr. Pepper. At the end of a stressful day and a stressful week though, Molly and I were ready for a real sit-down meal at a restaurant. I also wanted to thank her for taking care of Toofis with me in the early hours of the morning, and a dinner out felt like the right thing to do. We ended up at Udipi Cafe for vegetarian South Indian food. We payed little attention to the challenge, and just ordered what we wanted. The total ended up to be $22.47 for the two of us and just like that, we were kind of done with the $30 challenge. We fell into our normal weekend schedule including Saturday and Sunday brunches out, and food as needed.

I’ll come back and assess the damage and lessons learned shortly.

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