Healthy Food Budget: Month End May 2013

Month of May Healthy Food Budget: $471.52

Wow, yep, way over my $400 budget, but there was surplus of $100 from earlier months, so I’m still under yearly total of $4800 – $5000.

May Food Spending Total $471.52

Dining Out: $79.51
Gardening: $5.78
Groceries: $373.53
Vitamins/Supplements: $12.70

Some specifics:

Whole Foods Market: Pastured step4 chickens were on special at $2.99/lb. I bought a whole chicken and a whole cut-up chicken for a total of about $24. I froze a few of the individual pieces for meals throughout the month, and the whole chicken is still in my freezer.

Tropical Traditions: (2) jars each of coconut oil and coconut cream $38 – that took a big chunk from the budget!

Spent about $27 for farm meat (Open Meadow Farm) but I got many meals from 1lb of ground beefalo and 3lb fresh ham steak, including rendered pork fat.

On the other hand, I spent almost $30 at two farmers markets, with not much to show for it. 🙁

But NO excuses! I admit spending went overboard, especially the last two weekends, starting with Memorial weekend, wanting to treat ourselves.

The most frustrating part was there was not a lot of produce in the house during most of the month, and since we’re “between seasons” I’m having a difficult time finding decent fruit, without spending a fortune on organic.

June starts a new month, and local produce is becoming more plentiful. My plan is less spontaneity at the farmers markets, and sticking to less expensive local farmstands when possible.

Freezer/Pantry Update

Took inventory of my preserves, and I am still in great shape.

4 -1/2 pint blueberry jam with 2 in the fridge as well (new!)
7 -quarts canned tomatoes
6 -pints canned tomatoes
5 -pints applesauce
4 -pints cranberry apple sauce
2 -pints corn tomato salsa
2 -pints tomato jam (very sweet, not sure what I’m gonna do with this!)
1 -1/2 pint apple cider jelly
2 -1/2 cup grape syrup
4 -1/2 pint grape syrup

Plus, in the freezer, I have a few bags of summer corn, dried summer tomatoes, summer cherry tomatoes, and probably a few other assorted tomatoes. I am out of summer green peppers, but I still have a quart bag of jalapenos.

Where I Spent My Grocery Dollars This Month

Whole Foods 118.29 (32%)
MARKET BASKET 56.49 (15%)
Trader Joe’s 39.29 (11%)
Tropical Traditions 37.95 (10%) (coconut products)
Hannaford 29.66 (8%)
Open Meadow Farm 27.30 (7%) (meat)
Newburyport Farmers Market 16.80 (5%)
Ocean State Job Lot 14.01 (4%)
Amazon.com 13.74 (4%)
Salem NH Farmers Market 12.50 (3%)
Seven Acres Farm 7.50 (2%)
Total: 373.53

About My Healthy Budget

My healthy budget goal is to eat seasonal (local if possible,) home-cooked meals while sticking to a $400 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.

My Healthy $400 Food Budget: Jan 2013

January Healthy Food Budget: $384.16

It’s great news that I ended up $15 under my $400 budget this month. Whoo hoo! Netted to the January slight underage and February overage, I’m still ahead by $2!

I was very pleased with our dining-out budget. We went out 5 times, but really kept it cheap!

There were two bulk purchases, Amazon’s subscribe & save tuna and three 2lb bags of shredded coconut from Tropical Traditions (which by the way is scrumptious!). Plus a half bottle of fish oil (split with the dog budget). All totaling about $55! Taking that into account, it really was an awesome month!

January Food Spending $384.16

Dining Out: $80.46
Groceries: $288.41
Vitamins & Supplements: $15.29

My summer canning and freezing is paying off. There’s been no need to purchase any jelly/jam yet and I’m hoping to can a few jars of citrus marmalade soon. My tomato stockpile is plentiful, and still should be enough until next tomato season.

I popped open a jar of my home-canned corn salsa, and it was absolutely delicious. I was hesitant to can additional salsa recipes because when I initially tasted this batch, it was over-the-top too vinegary; it must have mellowed over the months. We go through about a jar of salsa every week, so to be able to can my own, is thrilling. I’m looking forward to next summer when tomatoes are abundant! I’m already getting some tomato salsa recipes organized!

Lastly, I received a large delivery ($180) of local frozen meat this month, but I’m going to account for the cost as we consume it. It should last us 4-6 months, so it’s like I’ve created my own personal meat CSA. 😉

Where I Spent My Grocery Dollars This Month

Market Basket 83.24
Whole Foods 79.43
Trader Joe’s 67.98
Tropical Traditions 20.97
Amazon.com 18.60
Open Meadow Farm 13.26
Seven Acres Farm 7.00
Vitacost 4.94
Misc Credit for gifts ($7.10)

About My Healthy Budget

My healthy budget goal is to eat seasonal (local if possible,) home-cooked meals while sticking to a $400 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.

$400 Healthy Food Budget: November

November Total Food Spending: $395.95

November was the start of a brand new budgeting year, and I’m striving for an annual goal of $4800 – $5000 for food spending. That calculates to about $400 a month, give or take a few dollars over once in awhile.

This year, I decided to remove entertaining from the food budget, but all other conditions are the same: groceries, dining out, gardening, and vitamins/supplements.

November Food Spending: $395.95

I have to confess, on the last day of the month, I spent an additional $50, which would have put me way over-budget. To simplify, I decided to just lump those purchases into December.

Dining Out: $111.88
Groceries: $284.07

My dining out total is a little higher than I’d like, and I don’t know if December will be much better, since the holidays get crazy.

I know it will be a relief not to have to worry about counting my holiday food expense. Last year, I was over in December partly due to Christmas, and it was a nightmare trying to make up for the overage in January.

Here’s where I spent my grocery money:

Amazon $18.31 (Subscribe & Save tuna)
Mann Orchard $37.04 (which includes apples for canned applesauce)
Market Basket $41.65
Meat CSA $43.91 (pork roast was a large expense at $30, but there was enough cooked meat to freeze for future meals)
Seven Acres Farm $13.50 (eggs)
Trader Joes $12.95
Whole Foods $83.47
Wilson Farm $33.24

I canned 2 batches of applesauce this month, adding 10 pints to my canning cupboard. Yum. It will be nice to eat homemade applesauce later in the year, when local apples are long out of season.

applesauce canned

My $400 Healthy Budget Details

My healthy budget goal is to eat seasonal (local if possible,) home-cooked meals while sticking to a $400 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.

Project Food Budget / My Healthy Food Budget: Aug Month 10 / Week 4

Project Food Budget Weekly total: $86.95
Month End total: $404.71

My healthy budget goal is to eat seasonal (local if possible,) home-cooked meals while sticking to a $400 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. My husband occasionally eats take-out lunch at work, & that $ comes out of his personal cash stash.

August – Month Ten, Week Four – End of Month

This week, I spent $86.95, for a monthly grand total of $404.71 for August.

Dining Out: $8.51
Entertaining: $15.18
Groceries: $63.26

Month End Details:

Dining Out: $55.99
Entertaining: $51.05
Groceries: $297.67

Even though I’m a tad over this month, I’m quite pleased. There was $50 in entertaining expense, so taking that into consideration, my budgeting was excellent!

Plus, I spent $30 for 50 lbs of tomatoes. Yes, even though I’m growing loads of tomatoes, I truly don’t think there is ever enough!

I’m canning, oven-drying (dehydrating), and freezing (raw & cooked); I still think that I’ll have to eventually purchase commercially canned tomatoes but I’m hopeful I can hold off for many months!

Spending Details

Market Basket $7.38: lemon juice, bananas, 5lb sugar (yes, sugar!), kosher salt

Local Farmstand $8.07: Peaches, carrots, carmen peppers, lettuce

Hannaford Grocery $5.49: Wine (sale) and bananas

Wilson Farm $42.32 (large farm store): Bargain! 50 lbs of 2nds tomatoes ($30), dozen corn, zucchini, bell pepper, scallions, parsley, green beans, peaches

Week of Meals

  • Thursday: Baked casserole with eggs, brown rice, cheddar, garden eggplant, celery, scallions, garden tomatoes, garden beet greens
  • Friday: Leftover baked egg rice casserole from last night
  • Saturday: Family party for lunch, pizza for dinner
  • Sunday: Pasta with sauce of tomatoes, garden eggplant, celery, bell peppers, garden jalapeno
  • Monday: leftover frozen takeout Chinese food
  • Tuesday: Bread pizza with leftover sauce and cheddar cheese
  • Wednesday: Pasta with garden eggplant, tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, scallions, green beans, & parsley

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:

Project Food Budget / My Healthy Food Budget: Aug Month 10 / Week 3

Project Food Budget Weekly total: $99.50

My healthy budget goal is to eat seasonal (local if possible,) home-cooked meals while sticking to a $400 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. My husband occasionally eats take-out lunch at work, & that $ comes out of his personal cash stash.

August – Month Ten, Week Three

This week, I spent $99.50, with a monthly total of $317.76. That leaves $82.24 for the rest of August.

Dining Out: $29.46
Groceries: $70.04

I was a little lazy this week regarding dining out. Twice in one week, which is unusual for us; In reality, we actually spent $60 for dining out, but I offset a portion of the expense with some extra cash we received, so my budget wasn’t affected too badly. The positive spin is we each had leftovers that I put in the freezer for next week when I’m feeling “lazy” again!

Speaking of NOT being lazy, I am getting ready for my first “canning” adventure. (Canning supplies are NOT included in my food budget.)

I already have a case of regular pint jars from Amazon ($16), but picked up 3 more cases from the local True Value store: regular pints ($7), wide-mouth pints ($8) and regular quarts ($8) along with 2 cases of regular lids ($1.29ea) – great prices, and a lesson learned to wait for sales when buying canning jars and lids! The sales associate talked me into getting the wide mouth pints, stating I could return them at any time if I found that I didn’t need them. But they will be good to have on hand.

I also am expecting the $20 Progressive International Canning Essentials Kit to arrive on Monday from Amazon.

I decided to go with a higher quality canning kit, instead of one of the cheaper alternatives because the plastic looks more durable and heat-proof and the lifter seems a lot easier to use.

I considered the Kuchenprofi 18/10 Stainless Steel Funnel but I wanted to make sure that canning wasn’t just a faze for me. It’s still in my shopping cart, so if I need to upgrade, I’ll buy it later.

Grocery Spending Details

Market Basket $16.54: Watermelon, bag o’ California Hass avocados, bananas, So Delicious coconut milk, Applegate Farms chicken deli meat, premade Greek pasta (I was hungry for lunch, grrr)

Meat CSA $13.09: Baby back ribs (Luckily, products from the Meat CSA are paid in full, so technically no real money is actually spent, but I apply the cost to my budget as we consume it.)

Boston Hill Farm $11.05: Found a new (to me) farm, they are also at the Andover Farmer’s Market. Definitely would purchase from them again! Dozen corn, green bell pepper, onions, peaches & nectarines

Whole Foods Market $25.86: So Delicious coconut milk (sale), Big tub o’ salted cashews grown in USA (sale), 12 pack Organic Valley 1% milk (sale), Kerrygold cheddar (sale w/ coupon), Galia melon (sale)

Ocean State Job Lots $3.50: (2) Dececco pastas

Week of Meals

  • Thursday: Baked egg casserole with quinoa, garden beet greens, garden eggplant, & scallions
  • Friday: Pork baby back ribs, corn on cob, and salad with raw garden cabbage, garden tomatoes, & garden cukes
  • Saturday: Dining out
  • Sunday: Garden tomato sauce with garden eggplant, onions, celery, pepper, and garden jalapeño over pasta
  • Monday: Leftover eye round beef & veggie stir fry (celery, scallions, garden eggplant, garden cabbage, garden beets, garden beet greens) over bulgur
  • Tuesday: Dining out – AGAIN! But the good thing is we each have a meal of leftovers stored in the freezer.
  • Wednesday: Bread pizzas and veggie salad

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:

Project Food Budget / My Healthy Budget: April Month 6 / Week 4

Project: Food Budget Weekly total: $124.84

My healthy budget goal is to eat seasonal, home-cooked meals while sticking to a $400 $350 monthly budget for all food including groceries, dining out, entertaining, vitamins/supplements, and gardening.

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.

April – Month Six, Week Four

This week, I’ve spent $124.84, with a monthly total of $333.32. That leaves $16.68 for the rest of April.

Yikes, cutting it close this month! I won’t feel badly if I have to add an extra $10-$12 into the budget. Hey, $360 is still lower than $400, right!?

Dining Out: $5.00 – used a gift certificate for Chinese!
Entertaining: $0
Gardening: $0
Groceries: $110.82
Vitamins & Supplements: $9.02

Spending Details

Liquor Store $12: I completely forgot to post two bottles of wine that I bought a few weeks ago, so I added it into this week’s budget spending.

Meat CSA $26.99: I am not applying any meat cost until I consume it, but there are small admin fees, and this week I’m also accounting for the delivered bottle of honey ($17). I’ve been lucky, as we’ve been eating meat that I already “paid for” in the budget in previous months.

Last Saturday was my busy shopping day:

Ocean State Job Lots $11.98: Cha-cha-cha-chia. Bob’s Red Mill chia seeds (1lb) were on sale this week. I bought 2 @ 5.99 each

Market Basket $7.21: grapefruit, organic lemon juice, bananas, and baby bella mushrooms

Whole Foods Market $45.53 — Saved $7.27 w/ coupons!: local fresh sea scallops (1.25lb on sale @14.99/lb), (2) San-J tamari sauce (w/ stacked coupons), (2) Lundberg brown rice (w/ stacked coupons), (3) Newman’s Own chocolate bars (w/ coupons), 5lb bag o’ organic carrots, organic celery, broccoli crowns, organic fuji apples, bag o’ navel oranges

Online shopping:

iHerb.com $7.11 – (2) packages of Bob’s Red Mill corn flour and (1) package of Bob’s Red Mill bulgar wheat. I LOVE iHerb! (Use coupon code “LIF213” to receive $5 off your first order)

amazon.com – FREE! with credit card rewards – Nice sale on Newman’s Own Espresso chocolate bars 12 pack (1.50 each) and also some canning glass jars/lids, which wouldn’t have been applied to my budget anyway, but I’m pleased to have purchased.

GNC $9.02 – multi-vitamin (90 ct)

Lessons Learned This Week

Yes! I learned that when I impulse buy, without REAL thought, it really messes me up.

A couple of weeks ago, I purchased local fresh scallops at full cost of $24/lb. Instead of THINKING THINKING THINKING, I jumped in and got a full pound. We ate the full pound, and while the scallops were absolutely scrumptious, if I gave the situation some forethought, I would have bought only 1/2 pound. That was about $12 extra in spending, which is probably right around the amount that I’ll be over this month! ha!

This week, the fresh local scallops were on sale @ $15/lb, and again, I purchased a little over lb; I flash-froze them on a cookie sheet and now we’ll have at least 2-3 meals from them.

Yes, still extravagant, but a better, smarter, planned purchase. Lesson learned.

I am giving myself permission to go a little bit over my $350 budget goal this month, and I’ll try to do better next month.

Week of Meals

  • Thursday: Fried egg sandwiches with salsa & a side of steamed beet greens
  • Friday: Bread Pizzas with salsa, cheddar and spinach
  • Saturday: Dinner out using a gift certificate
  • Sunday: Marinated boneless chicken breast, brown rice and cream of carrot/celery soup
  • Monday: Veggie (broccoli, cabbage & celery) fried brown rice topped with fried egg
  • Tuesday: Pasta with tomato, leek, carrot, celery sauce
  • Wednesday: Crockpot whole chicken with roasted onions & sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli

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: