Thursday, January 13, 2011

Project Food Budget: Buy What You Need, Use What You Have

In my first post of the new year, I mentioned how I plan on making several changes in this upcoming year. These changes are not just in diet and exercise but also with our budget, in particular, our grocery budget. I will admit, this is one of the most difficult areas in self control for me because it revolves around food--the purchase of food. I always buy much much more than I need in a week or a month. I also go into a store with a list but come away with double or triple of what was on my list!

Now that we are down to one income we must really focus on sticking to 'the budget'. Recently, the Reluctant Vegetarian, a blog I visit frequently, was creating a project food budget challenge. What a coincidence!!! I jumped on board and discovered others that are also taking up this challenge:

Reluctant Vegetarian:
Maria Marz:
Veggie Converter:
Low Budge Veg:
Ashley's Dairy Free Cooking Blog:
Beauty, Fitness, and Health...Oh My!:
Motor City Girl In the Steel City:
Veggie Burgher:
Baked Beans and Broccoli...Vegetarian Budgeting:

My challenge for the next six months (give or take) is to spend no more than $75 a week on groceries. I am too ashamed to tell you how much I used to spend on groceries....considering it is just me, my husband and our almost 18-month-old son. It was A LOT. We belong to Costco, so I tend to fall into the trap of buying GIANT packages of frozen foods, snack foods and specialty items. Why? Because everything looks good and those food samples get me everytime!!!!
Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of great deals at Costco, but not on everything. I guess it depends on what your family consumes and how quickly it is consumed.

I bought a lot of items last month, so right now I am trying to use up what I have on hand. This week, I spent $51 on groceries, but it was mostly on items for a recipe I was making for my MOPS group on Tuesday. The other items were milk, fruit, fresh veggies, yogurt, coffee, half and half, waffles.

In the upcoming months, I am going to make an effort to just buy what we absolutely need and plan out my 'menu' for the week and just buy what I need for those meals. I know there will be many nights that I don't feel like cooking (plus we live off of leftovers most of the time too) and I'm sure we will get takeout or pizza. Not sure how to handle that with the budget, if it should be part of it or be a separate 'eating out' budget? Well, wish me luck!!


Crafty P said...

sounds like a great plan, Leah!
I've been trying to do this and I stink at it. Meal planning is SO the way to go, but I stink at that, too. Must give it another try!

Leah the Foodie said...

Oh don't feel bad, I stink at it too! It will be interesting to see how it goes. I've been trying to shop at Aldi a lot. It's really cheap, but I can't find everything there.

reluctant veggie said...

meal planning is a pain in the beginning, but once you get in the habit of doing it, it gets much easier.

we also find that we have some old stand-by's that we use to fill up the menu when we don't know what else to make. that helps a lot too.

looking forward to seeing how you do next week!

Jennifer said...

I'm also participating in the challenge and have the same problem: I buy more than I need, or I plan more meals than I could possibly make in a week. Look forward to following how you do.

amanda said...

I'm doing the challenge too. I would definitely make eating out a part of the budget. If you decide you only want to spend $75 a week on groceries, that should include everything. If eating out is a necessary convenience for you, then maybe you could make the budget $100 (if you can afford it). But you should definitely try not to eat out, it's such a money waster. I would say look up more simple recipes, or buy frozen veggies... and sometimes you can eat leftovers and still be satisfied.