Healthy Food Budget Update: Sept & Oct 2014 – Year End

Well this is it. The end of my 2013-14 budget year. November 1st starts a brand new year, with brand new challenges. A clean slate!

September went very well, but October was a little higher than expected. Well, a lot higher than expected, but not out of budget-sight.

September Total Food $365.36

I’m happy with my totals for September.

$252.58 groceries – $28 for meat purchases and $35 for canning projects: (tomatoes, peaches, apples)
$117.53 for dining out/convenience foods (31.76% of total food)

October Total Food $470.38

$318.25 groceries – $32 for meat purchases and $20 for canning projects: (apples)
$152.13 for dining out/convenience foods (32.34% of total food)

I was really trying hard to make my October much lower, but there were Amazon Subscribe & Save orders, hmm, are they really making me “save” I wonder? $25 for two cases of Lara Bars. Yes, it’s a great deal, but do I really need it?

And there were extra (unnecessary) take-out meals. Even though, I’ve been working at my current job for almost a year now, I’m still having a difficulty with time-management. I’m struggling to juggle the extra hours I’m working with homelife & chores, like baking bread. This month, I got sidetracked with a canning project (lots of applesauce one week) and I just resorted to take-out, instead of planning ahead and/or making adjustments.

I’m so afraid that November and December are going to be more of the same.

Holiday season is here and I’m nervous that I won’t find time to do all that needs to be done, as well as cook healthy meals.

I’ve gained 15+ pounds and it’s been impossible to re-lose the weight since I’m sitting behind a desk for 5-6 hours per day. My metabolism has plummeted since starting this job.

And that, also relates to my spending. I want to do better, but I binge on take-out food and that makes me spend more! I’m not using the wonderful lessons I’ve learned over the past 3 years; lessons in weight loss, exercise, and budgeting.

My commitment has plummeted as low as my metabolism!

But again, it’s a brand new year. A clean slate. Release the negativity and accept the challenge to do better.

God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it’s me.

A Year in Spending: Nov 2013 to Oct 2014

$5,389.53 Total – $449.13/avg per month
$3,861.45 groceries – $321/Avg per month with canning $92.98, gardening $41.28, Meat $532.71 (14% of total groceries)
$1,503.51 dining out/convenience foods – $125/Avg per month (27.90% of total spending)

Where I Spent My Grocery Dollars: $3,861.45

Total farm purchases this year: $1174.96 (30%) – Whoo hoo! Wow, almost a third of my groceries are bought from local farms! Awesomeness! I know the $400+ spent for the spring veggie CSA had a lot to do with my high total, and it’s also a big culprit in my monthly overages this year, but it’s nice to see that my overspending went to a good cause!

It’s also exciting to see my spending at Whole Foods, and other conventional grocery stores, is lower compared to last year, even though my grocery total was higher.

I’m not planning on joining any CSAs this year, but I really need to step it up and spend spend spend at the local winter farmers markets!

Whole Foods 898.92 (23%)
Market Basket 796.31 (20%)
Trader Joe’s 514.98 (13%)
Spring veggie CSA 426.80 (11%)
Farm 204.58 (5%) 200.47 (5%)
Open Meadow Farm (meat) 167.18 (4%)
Billerica Farmers Market 155.89 (4%)
Wilson Farm 92.26 (2%)
Ocean State Job Lot 77.31 (2%)
Seven Acres Farm 58.25 (2%)
Mann Orchards 42.50 (1%) 38.01 (1%)
Hannaford 32.78 (1%)
Herring Brothers (meat) 32.31 (1%)
Pamona’s Pectin (canning) 31.50 (1%)
Oakdale Liquors 20.00 (1%)
Tewksbury Farmers Market 17.50
Penzeys Spices 14.48
Stop & Shop 13.59
Shaw’s 12.77
Mahoney’s 9.94
BJ’s Wholesale Club 7.28
Lexington Community Farm 5.00
Price Farm 5.00
MISCELLANEOUS credits: (14.16)
Grand Total $3,861.45

Here’s how spending looked last year: total $3,523.40
Total farm purchases: $937.52 (26%)

Whole Foods 924.70 (26%)
Market Basket 774.74 (22%)
Trader Joe’s 575.36 (16%)
Open Meadow Farm 260.89 (7%)
Wilson Farm 215.49 (6%)
Farm 199.09 (6%)
Ocean State Job Lot 93.26 (3%)
Seven Acres Farm 91.75 (3%) 90.92 (3%)
Tropical Traditions 58.92 (2%)
Mann Orchards 43.80 (1%)
Hannaford 43.20 (1%)
Winchester Winter Farmers Market 30.65 (1%)
Brookline Farmers Market 21.70
Penzeys Spices 19.53
Newburyport Farmers Market 16.80
Four Star Farms 15.00
Wilmington Farmers Market 14.25 13.27
Salem NH Farmers Market 12.50
Tewksbury Farmers Market 10.00
Target 9.56
Jones Farm 5.60
Vitacost 4.94
Aubut’s Liquors 3.00
Misc credits/deductions (26.51)
Grand total: $3,523.40

Looking forward to the New Year

Okay, so $450/mo on average isn’t so bad when you break it down. It’s basically in the range of what I was striving for, for the year.

I think what’s troubling is that I know I can do better. Even though food prices are soaring, I can save more money, and spend less. I know I can trim some of the convenience items.

But on the other hand, the main goal is to keep spending $ at local farms and farmers markets, and if that means a little more spending, then that’s okay, but it has to work out to healthier spending, not convenience/dining out.

About My Healthy Budget

My healthy budget goal is to eat seasonal (local if possible,) home-cooked meals while sticking to a $400 $450 monthly budget for all food including groceries, dining out, entertaining, vitamins/supplements, and gardening.

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