2015, 2016 Year End Food UPDATE

Wow again, it’s been over a year since I last posted. Catching up on updating my Food budget totals for years 2015 and 2016. Here goes!

Oct 2014-Nov 2015

This was a year to be proud of. Yes, my food budget was increased, but I knew I wanted to spend more on healthier choices and it looks like I accomplished that! My groceries vs dining out ratio was excellent. It’s exciting to see 21% of my spending was for local farms and farmers markets. It was only a $157 difference between farms and Whole Foods!!! This was a good year!

Total Food: $5347
Groceries: $4223
Dining out/Junk Food: $1124 (21%)

Grocery Breakdown by Store:
Market Basket 1449.3 (34%)
Whole Foods 1048.05 (25%)
Local Farms/Farmers Markets 891.05 (21%)
Trader Joe’s 524.42 (12%)
Amazon 116.36 (3%)
Ocean State Job Lot 70.8 (2%)
Misc 122.64 (3%)
Total Groceries $4222.62

Oct 2015-Nov 2016

2016 was not as inspiring. I stuck to the budget fairly well, but the groceries vs junk food/dining out ratio is definitely not as good as 2015. Ugh. And what really saddens me is my local farm spending was almost cut in half! Although I am not a Whole Foods fan like I used to be years ago (and the disillusion getting worse every year), I’d rather see more spending there than dining out.

I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, as our dining out standards have changed. We started making more of an effort to make better choices, supporting a higher caliber of local restaurants instead of chains, but I still need to cut back.

Total Food: $5365
Groceries: $3615
Dining out/Junk Food: $1750 (33%)

Grocery Breakdown by Store:
Market Basket 1520.45 (42%)
Whole Foods 773.42 (21%)
Trader Joe’s 599.83 (17%)
Local Farms/Farmers Markets 476.3 (13%)
Amazon 141.13 (4%)
Ocean State 58.96 (2%)
Misc 44.67 (1%)
Total Groceries: $3614.76


So far this year’s budget is shaping up well. My annual total is $5300, divided by 365 days, it calculates to approx $14.50 per day. Depending on how many days in the month, my monthly budget could be as low as $406 or as high as $450.

I’m keeping a running total, so if one month is over or under, then it flows over to the next month’s budget amount.

So far, my dining out/junk food budget is 34% of the total food so far. December and February were far too extravagant but other months were more balanced. (It’s such a temptation to desire a yummy pub bacon burger with fries than to start cooking.)

When I really think about it though, 30-35% is really not an unreasonable allowance to pursue, but I’d be much happier with 25-30%, which nets to $25-$30 per week. Definitely doable, but it will take some willpower, especially when life gets crazy and take out is easier than cooking.

Trader Joe’s is helpful. No, I’m not saying their quick, easy, convenience food is always healthy, but compared to a greasy burger & fries from the pub downtown, it’s better. Orange chicken, breaded chicken tenders, veggie lasagna to name a few.

So, my May budget starts in a couple of days and I am inspired to really try harder to keep it healthier and on budget!!! But I’m admitting this now. If I go over my budget with healthy whole foods (farm season is coming soon in New England) but I can keep my dining out/junk food allowance under 30%, then I will consider that a success!

Healthy Budget, a Long Needed UPDATE

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been almost a full year since my last post, but I’m happy that the food budgeting didn’t stop. Some good months and some bad months, and no matter how long I’ve been at it, there is still so much to learn.

I accidentally found a blog post about 28-day budgeting, and it got me thinking.

Those longer months were sometimes extra difficult to stick to my budget total, so I redesigned my budget by starting with a yearly total, then dividing by the total number of days per year. So each month’s budget would depend on how many days in that particular month.

My yearly budget (Nov-Oct) is tentatively $5200, so $5200/366 (2016=leap year) is approx $14.20 per day. The total food budget for a month with 30 days is $426. A longer month would be $440.

Another budget refurb this year is keeping a “running total” – if I am over/under one month, it deducts/adds to the following months. That has been really working well, as I started April with a surplus of almost $100!

It’s like budget saving for a rainy day, because I know once I hit the summer farmer’s markets, I might need that excess!

I’ll be posting my prior months’ details soon, but for now I wanted to catch up. These posts aren’t necessarily for anyone else, but mainly I’m blogging to keep a record that *I* can refer to if needed.

Healthy Food Budget – May, 2015

May 2015 Healthy Food Budget: $499.54

Groceries: $458.12 (meat: $47.14) (canning: $5.98)
Dining Out: $41.42 (8.29% of total food)

Yes, my spending was a little crazy this month. I didn’t stick quite as closely to lists and menu plans as I should have. But in my defense, the last half of the month can boast no take-out meals! I ate so darned healthy this month, it was wonderful!

I did go a little wacky when I saw Whole Foods had fresh organic blueberries and strawberries for sale. At $5 each, I went back several times for them, at least $35 right there. Plus lots of cherries, a watermelon, and I’m into blender smoothies again, so frozen fruit and greens were on my radar too.

I also picked up some “seconds” strawberries from Wilson Farm and canned five half-pints of jam. I will not be having a true garden this year. Maybe just a couple of containers, but I will hopefully still be canning.

The month’s spending total would have been even higher if I counted the extra stuff I bought for our Memorial Weekend mini-vacation. I was so proud that I kept eating my own healthy food, while others around me ate chips, ice cream, muffins, cupcakes, etc.

I also didn’t count my “me” lunch at Panera Bread the other day. I started a new expense category for that.

I can’t complain. My energy is up, and I feel better overall, happier even. So it’s worth it to spend more for my health!
Continue reading “Healthy Food Budget – May, 2015”

Not a Whole Lotta At Whole Foods Market

I’ve been feeling very frustrated with Whole Foods Market as of late.

I’ve noticed that their “weekly sales” are not that wonderful anymore. There used to be so many natural “whole” foods on sale, like meats and produce, but it seems like their promotions are focused on so-called-healthy commercially processed foods.

What happened to their Friday One Day Only sales? Organic whole chicken for .99/lb? Grassfed ground beef for $4.99/lb? Fresh organic blueberries, strawberries, and cherries? There was something different on sale every Friday. I can’t even remember the last time they advertised a Friday One Day Sale. And their Madness sales are rare as well. I don’t know what’s going on, but I do know I’m spending a lot less money and time there.

Looking back at my grocery spending history, I can’t believe in 2010 and 2011, I spent over $3000/year on JUST Whole Foods Market! That was over 50% of my total groceries with an average monthly amount of $250-300.

In 2013, I spent less than $950 on groceries there. Last year, it was less than $850, with a monthly average of $70.

This year, I’m at a total of about $100 so far, and I still have almost $450 left on my gift cards (purchased in December: $500 + free bonus of $50) – Last year, I purchased the same gift card deal ($500+$50 free) and the balance was exhausted by the end of April. I can’t see that happening this year. I might be forced to rethink purchasing the gift card next year if my spending gets much lower, even with the extra 10% bonus. Continue reading “Not a Whole Lotta At Whole Foods Market”

Healthy Food Budget: February, 2015

February was a very difficult month for family: emotionally, physically and psychologically.

So, I admit I did have a couple of emotionally charged eating days but for the most part, considering how challenging it was, all was good on the food-front. I logged in daily to MyFitnessPal.com and my budget didn’t suffer any consequences!

February 2015 Food Total: $408.13

Groceries: $349.93 (Meat $34.86)
Dining Out: $58.20 (14.2% of total food)

Awesome, awesome! We really made another great effort not to order take-out this month, and it really makes a difference in budgeting AND how I feel physically too.

I’m still struggling a little with meal planning. I start out with a plan for the week, but I don’t always stick to it. But I am utilizing leftovers, and that is so important for time management. I can cook 3-4 times per week, but oft-times, there’s double our meals! Continue reading “Healthy Food Budget: February, 2015”