Project Food Budget / My Healthy Budget: January Wk 4

Project: Food Budget Weekly total: $127.85

My healthy budget goal is to eat seasonal, home-cooked meals while sticking to a $308.49 $400 monthly budget for all food including groceries, dining out, entertaining, vitamins/supplements, and spices/herbs.

There’s two of us eating 3 (mostly) meals per day. My husband occasionally eats take-out lunch at work, & that $ comes out of his personal cash stash.

January – Month Three, Week Four

I’m a little long-winded this week, but a lot has happened and I wanted to document it, not necessarily for others to read, but to keep an account for myself.

project food budget

This week, I’ve spent $127.85, leaving $21.10 for the remaining days of January.

Purchases For the Week

This week, I set a spending limit, and stuck to it. I carefully made my shopping list only adding the necessary produce items that were needed for my planned meals this week. My list was calculated to the exact dollar I wanted to spend, thanks to my Grocery IQ iPhone app.

Dining Out: $0
Groceries: $127.85 (including meat CSA)

Market Basket (Thursday): $9.80 = broccoli crowns, bag of oranges, organic pears and bananas.

Whole Foods (Friday): $34.71 = organic celery, organic baby bok choy, organic kale, organic carrots (2lb bag), pineapple, organic gala apples, bagged frozen organic Mediterranean blend veggies, fresh mozzarella (local), 4+ lbs of chicken breast (madness sale @2.99lb)

Even though I usually try to buy only pastured meat now, the Whole Foods chicken breast sale was too good. I ended up tossing all four pounds on a large baking sheet into the oven so I could have lots of freezer portions of pre-cooked chicken for dishes like soups, pastas, tortillas, and stir fries.

I had planned on purchasing the wild Alaskan salmon on sale ($7.99lb) but they only had 2+ lb frozen packs (way too much), and I didn’t want the defrosted at the fish counter, so I passed. Next month, I might get a package of their vacuum-packed Wild Catch Alaskan salmon. Yes, it’ll be more expensive, but the portions are 6 oz each, and that is much more manageable than 2 lbs at once. So, for the same amount of $, I bought the chicken instead.

Local Meat CSA (Saturday delivery): $83.34 = 4 lbs whole chicken legs, .80 lb boneless chicken breast, 3.5 lb whole chicken, 1.5 lb beef shanks, 1 lb beefalo flat iron steak, and 2 lb ground beefalo.

Feeling a New Appreciation & Respect

Last week, I was feeling sorry for myself (wah wah), feeling the pinch of my lower budget and wishing the month were over so I could go back to my higher amount next month.

Then something clicked.

It was brought about because of a comment from Katy on the Project Food Budget Facebook group. I won’t go into the specifics because it really doesn’t directly pertain to the situation, but the comment set my thoughts in motion, and I realized…

No, I do not need to keep to this budget out of necessity. Yes, of course I want to spend less, but it’s not like I cannot afford to throw in an extra $20 or $30 or even $100 to spend for my groceries.

I realized WOW, I am so lucky! I have a choice!

I hope it doesn’t sound pretentious, but I found a new appreciation and respect for families that budget because that is all they have to spend. How dare I complain when these families experience the “pinch” every single week and every single month; there is no luxury of rolling a spending overage into the next week/month, they have an allotted amount and that’s that.

And more kudos to them if they are committed to spending their hard-earned dollars on healthier whole foods, even though it might be easier to compromise with processed foods.

This has been such a great month for me! Full of challenges and epiphanies. I have learned so much about myself, it sounds so corny, but I really am lucky!

Week of Meals

I forced myself to start planning meals last week and it’s really turned out well so far. In fact, I’ve turned into a planning monster. LOL. I set up a “note” on my iPad with a long list of my food inventory and then a meal planned for every day for about 2 weeks.

I think what made it easier to stick to my meal plans was keeping my list handy so don’t forget what was planned. In that past, I’d make a meal plan, then never look at it again; I’d end up making something last minute because I’d forget the details.

I also include as many ingredients as I can think of for each meal, sort of like a mini recipe I can see at a glance.

I’m amazed how many complete meals I can make with food ingredients I already have on hand. The culinary creativity really started flowing when I put my mind to it!

I’m also getting back into feeding my freezer since my reserves were getting low. I found a great site called Once a Month Mom and there is a ton of info and tips available about make ahead cooking and menu planning. I especially loved their Create Your Own Menu series of articles especially helpful.

I also found some great videos on YouTube for make ahead and freezer cooking. I think watching someone complete a recipe visually is more beneficial than reading a recipe.

  • Thursday: Bread pizza with roasted peppers, tomatoes, spinach & feta with a side of caraway cabbage carrot slaw.
  • Friday: baked boneless chicken with side of quinoa and broccoli
  • Saturday: soup: Chicken, pasta, pinto beans & tomato, chile peppers (from freezer), bok choy, celery, carrot topped w/ fresh mozzarella
  • Sunday: Roasted potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes topped w/ egg
  • Monday: Leftover frozen beefalo brisket with BBQ sauce & frozen jalapeño corn muffin w/ kale and broccoli
  • Tuesday: bread pizzas with mozzarella, salsa, roasted peppers
  • Wednesday: boneless pork ribs braised in wine with carrots and potatoes

Want to Join the Project Food Budget?

project food budget

It’s never too late to join the Project Food Budget!

If you’d like to participate, get the details and let Emily know you’re on board!

Here’s who else is budgeting this week:

4 thoughts on “Project Food Budget / My Healthy Budget: January Wk 4”

  1. Wow, that is a great realization! I honestly never really connected the difference between “wanting” and “needing” to have a food budget. For us, it is a want, not a need – and I am admittedly pretty far removed from the reality of needing to meet a budget. Thanks for the reality check!

    I just love “feeding the feezer” – it really does help, especially when you are pressed for time.

    And I am going to check out the Grocery IQ app – sounds super cool.

  2. Not pretencious at all! I’m okay to to afford more when necessary although I prefer to spend less and have greater vacations next time! All that is a matter of choices… Thanks fo the links! Pretty useful!
    Have a fantastic weekend!

  3. Great post!

    I look at this time as training for the big, budget-necessary changes coming into my life soon. At that point I hopefully will be good with the
    $40/wk budget and able to go down to, dare I hope, $30!

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