Last week we announced our April Penny-Wise challenge. Since then, a number of questions have arisen that will be answered on this FAQ page. If you have additional questions that have not been answered please leave a comment here and we'll do our best to answer it.
Q. I grow some of my food. How do you suggest I include that food in my budget?
A. It's entirely up to you. Some of the Eat Local Challenge participants will be taking the fair market price for that food locally and budgeting it that way. Some participants will be budgeting it as a freebie in their weekly costs.
Q. The budget you proposed is very (high/low) for what my family spends. Can I participate in the challenge?
A. YES! Feel free to adjust the budget as you need it. The costs proposed are an average for the American family. It doesn't surprise us that many of you spend less or more than the average budget. For instance, I personally spend more than the budgeted amount, but I am going to do my darnedest to try and stick to the average budget.
Q. What about something like local olive oil that we buy in bulk, how do we figure that cost out?
A. Do your best to estimate the amount that you use during the week and then assign a dollar amount to your usage. While we want the budgets to be as accurate as possible, we fully recognize that there will be some estimation within all of our budgets.
Q. We're still under frost in my area. Why can't this challenge be in the summer?
A. We decided on these dates for a number of reasons, and also consulted with several individuals nationwide. When we had commitments from participants nationwide, we decided that April would be okay for a good sized group to try it out. If you feel that April is going to be very difficult and hinder your challenge, you could either wait until the September challenge or just put a number of exceptions into the Penny-Wise Challenge in order to make it work for you. We don't want anyone to starve!