We just completed our third week of the grocery budget, and I’m back to give you the update. 🙂 (If you want to read my original post, you can find it here.)
Quick recap: we are a family of five (only two adults) with a monthly budget of $1,250, which works out to $250/week (I started the week of 12/29 and need to make it all the way to the end of January). I do my grocery shopping Sunday afternoon after church and usually hit three different grocery stores: one for bulk items, one for good organic items and one for great prices. The word grocery is a little misleading, because our total budget includes: diapers (can’t wait till these leave the list!), toilet paper, paper towels, toiletries, etc.
Week 1: 12/29/19 Spent $426.93 (I previously had $398.84 but I left out the mid week purchase)
Week 2: 1/5/20 Spent $227.30 (I previously had $198.69 but, again, I left out the mid week purchase)
Week 3: 1/12/20 Spent $432.08 (This includes the mid week grocery purchases)
Total Spent: $1,086.31 of $1,250.00, which leaves $163.69 for the remaining 2 weeks or $81.85/week. If you take the weekly budget of $250 * 3 weeks = $750 budget for the first 3 weeks, I am currently $336.31 over for the month. Looking only at the numbers that would make this month a fail, because I know I am going to spend more than $81.85 for the next two weeks. But it’s not just about the numbers, so let’s take at the wins and fails for the week.
1) No eating out for the third week in a row! This is getting easier. I know I HAVE to prepare before leaving the house. So Friday when we met friends at the park for nature study, I made sure to pack lunches, snacks and drinks before leaving the house. It helps that my older children are already in the habit of grabbing a snack and their water bottle before we leave the house. With three kids, it’s always a mad rush at the end to get everyone in the car and packing lunches is NOT my favorite thing to do, but I knew if I wanted to avoid eating out it was necessary. The other important part of avoiding eating out is the planned menu with all food items needed for the menu stocked. The grocery list has been THE KEY to all of this. It takes time, and it’s NOT my favorite thing to do, either. I spend about an hour on the weekend pulling out the list, checking the pantry, checking fridge and, now, checking the freezer (see my post on the freezer decluttering that took place this past weekend) to see what I have and how I can utilize those items on my menu before bringing more items home from the grocery.
2) We ate all of our leftovers and NO food was thrown out AGAIN! The KEY to this is during lunch pulling out the food containers and looking to see what we need to finish. In the past, those containers would just sit in the fridge and usually were pushed to the very back only to be pulled out when we needed to make room for more groceries. Now that we are no longer eating out, the food is being eaten and not tossed in the bin.
3) Third week in a row with no takeout coffee! This has been HARD!!! I had no idea how much of a habit this had turned into until I started trying to stop. It is a constant conversation in my head and telling myself ‘No!’ I am determined to keep going, because I have not won this battle yet. The desire is still there. No, there is nothing inherently wrong with takeaway coffee, but this is truly about something more than just coffee and I need to conquer it.
The loss is knowing we are over budget for the first three weeks. I have been intentional and I am not buying items which are not on the list. Part of the issue is the budget was divided over 5 weeks this month and will only be over 4 weeks next month. I also wonder if our budget is too low, but I think it’s WAY TOO SOON to make that determination, so I plan on keeping it the same for the next month. Additionally, I am tracking the non food items to see how much they are impacting my total budget. This week we bought diapers, wipes and toilet paper in bulk from the wholesale store where we get a better deal. My plan is to track and see how long these items actually last. Obviously, we could also eat cheaper meals. Spaghetti, anyone? But my goal is to keep it healthy and interesting and my husband is not keen on pasta.
Dinner Menu Week 3:
Monday: Ground Beef Tacos/Rice/Salsa/Spinach/Tomatoes
Tuesday: Crockpot pork carnitas (from pork tenderloin)/Rice/Salsa/Spinach/Tomatoes
Wednesday: Chicken Thighs baked/mashed potatoes/green beans (frozen)
Thursday: Flounder/Rice/Carrots and Peas
Friday: Homemade pizza for the kids/Leftovers for the adults
Saturday: Leftovers – Meatballs (that were already frozen in the freezer), Leftover veggies\veggie tots (frozen and from our freezer) and leftover rice
Sunday: Fried Chicken (store bought), macaroni & cheese, baked beans, squash (frozen and from our freezer)
Lunches are very simple: ham sandwiches or PB&J or grilled cheese for the kids and a salad for me.
Breakfast: eggs, sausage and toast on the weekdays/ quiche and oatmeal on the weekends
There it is! Our third week menu and grocery budget.
I already made out this week’s menu using items I found while decluttering the freezer.
What about you? Do you have a problem eating leftovers? Do you make a menu and grocery list before you shop? Let me know in the comments!