This past weekend, I skipped grocery delivery and hit up two stores for our food for this week - Whole Foods and Costco. Naturally, this week ended up as one where I needed to do a good bit of restocking. In-store shopping also tends to lead to far more impulse purchasing than when I go online. I set the intention, however, to stick with my list and see where things ended up budget-wise. Where was that? Over. By quite a bit.
Budget Goal: $150 Actual Spend: $142.18 (Whole Foods) + $43.00 (Costco) = 185.18 (give or take)
I'm ultimately not concerned with going so far over the budget this week for a couple of reasons:
- We have SO. MUCH. FOOD. and some of this week's food is going to end up in the freezer stash.
- As I mentioned, some of this spending was pantry restocking, so it isn't a regular recurrence (although I'd like to have a good handle on this so we don't need to go over budget for this in the future).
- We are headed to Vermont this weekend and my mother-in-law sends us home with so much food (prepared and amazing local raw ingredients) that I'm going to see how low we can go in Week 3. This feels a little bit like cheating, but it's a regular part of our food budget process, so it will really help inform this project. Also, it gives me a chance to get creative in using what we have to fill out the meal plan, so good things all around.
Where the $$$ Went
- Produce (all organic):
- So many berries (3 pints raspberries, 1 pint blueberries, 1 quart strawberries) (great sale prices!)
- Salad stuff: big box of greens, cucumber, carrots
- Broccoli florets (splurged on the pre-prepared organic box)
- 4 peaches
- 2 avocados
- Meat: 2 lbs organic ground turkey
- 1/2 gallon whole organic milk
- Organic whole milk yogurt (I go through a giant container each week)
- 1/2 gallon plain coconut milk
- Baby Food: pouches and jars for both kids (realistically, there won't be much homemade baby food this week)
- Packaged Foods: frozen waffles family pack, slider buns
- Pantry Items/Miscellaneous: brown rice syrup, paprika, ground coriander, rice vinegar, kimchi, avocado oil. marinara sauce
What We're Eating This Week
Yogurt/granola/berries, waffles, hard-boiled eggs, smoothies, lots of fruit (some berries in the freezer for our general smoothie stash)
Leftover sausage, spinach and goat cheese frittatta, and mason jar salads
- Cranberry pulled pork sliders with broccoli and carrots (grass-fed organic hot dog for the toddler if he won't try the slider)
- Turkey burgers (turkey meatballs made with pureed vegetable and oatmeal for baby, including freezer portion) with more veggies or salad.
Green beans, chicken, sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, avocado, oatmeal, applesauce
- Granola and pumpkin muffins for pantry/freezer
- Extra pulled pork and turkey meatballs/burgers will go in the freezer as well
How We Ate Last Week and What's Working
One of the benefits I already see for this project is getting clear on what we actually eat each week, in addition to forward planning. I have a poorly developed sense of what is enough and how much leftovers we will have.
Contrary to the plan, we ate most of our lunches out of the house and got delivery one night (at least that helped with lunch leftovers). We also shared some meals with family, one breakfast out and a couple of meals in. I made the frittattas and pulled pork on Sunday instead of during the week, so they are (as you can see in the meal plan) shifted to this week. I didn't make the brussel sprouts on time either.
Biggest lesson learned from last week: if it isn't prepped on Sunday, there is a very low chance of me getting it done during the week. Second biggest (more of a reminder): we're really only two big eaters and one picker for dinner. This all adds up to realizing I don't need as much on my meal plan as I think.
Eating picnic-style with totally pre-prepped meals, however, is working for us. It helps get things going faster and gets food in front my little hurricane kiddo faster. It helps my husband help, which is huge for both of us. I tend to just do things and assume that everyone around me also knows what I'm doing, what I want them to do and how to do things just how I like them. Totally not fair, I know. So if everything is ready, we can both just pull out enough components of a meal and feed everyone fast.
Sticking to that list made a big difference, too. Even though I was over-budget, I feel good about what we brought home and see how those purchases will make future weeks lower (stay tuned for reality check). I'll keep an eye on it.
Please check out the other bloggers on this journey as well:
- Emily Levinson
- McGinnis and Bean
- Red Pen Mama
- Erra Creations
- Eryn Says…
- Gardening in High Heels
- Melissa Firman
- Copy & Post
- Rachel Olive Miller
For more on my experience with this project, check out the whole Project: Food Budget series!