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Project: Food Budget || Week 3

Budget Review

As I suspected last week, we went way under budget this week, although we have plenty of food.

We spent:

  • $48.98 at Trader Joes
  • $11.72 at Amazon Grocery
  • $6.50 at Walgreen's

Total: $67.20 out of $150

We were able to do this because of my very generous in-laws and because of that old freezer stash. Of course, we got home from our trip early Sunday evening and so I prepped nearly nothing. This left us choosing to eat out (with a gift certificate, so we felt slightly virtuous) to save some energy for me to do food prep late Monday night.

I am particularly proud that I made it through Trader Joe's mostly sticking to my list, despite knowing I would have budget to spare.

Where the $$$ Went

  • Produce (all organic):
    • Bok choy
    • Honeydew melon
    • Cherries
    • Avocados
  • Meat: 1 4 lb VT local chicken
  • Dairy/Beverages:
    • 1 gallon whole milk
    • 1 dozen eggs
    • Shredded mozzarella cheese
    • Pecorino romano, whole for grating
  • Baby Food: prunes, spinach/mango/pear, banana/beet/berry pouches for both kids
  • Packaged Foods:  dark chocolate non-pareils (my weakness)
  • Pantry Items/Miscellaneous: cacao nibs, granola, reduced-sugar raspberry preserves
  • Baked Goods: blueberry muffins, cupcakes, loaf of artisanal cinnamon raisin bread

What We're Eating This Week

Breakfasts

Yogurt/granola, muffins, hard-boiled and scrambled eggs, fruit (the usual)

Lunches

PB&J sandwiches/fruit/cheese, leftovers

Dinners

  • Roast soy sauce chicken (a la Mark Bittman)
  • Beef stew and rice (freezer stash)
  • Fish balls and broth (freezer stash)
  • Dumplings (freezer stash, homemade and purchased)
  • Bok choy, salads, carrots

Baby Food

Chicken, sweet potatoes, carrots, yogurt, avocado, oatmeal, applesauce, peas

Freezer/Bulk Cooking

  • None this week

How We Ate Last Week and What's Working

Keeping our menu super simple last week made a big difference. We ate dinner at home all four nights (Friday night we were on the road). In fact, we had just enough leftovers to make a kitchen clean up on Thursday night beneficial rather than overwhelming.

It seems that everywhere I look in the last couple of weeks, I'm seeing information on decision overload and how will power virtually disappears when your brain is tired. Our household is pretty much operating on brainpower fumes, so this is a common occurrence. Often, that poor decision making leads us to the local burger joint or deli instead of leading us back to our meal plan.

Having just enough leftovers for one meal, regardless of how hodge podge, made it easier to stick with the plan. As silly as it sounds, that was an aha! moment for me. We use that tiredness as an excuse to go off track, but it takes even less brain power to just stick to the eat-at-home plan. That plan comes with dishes, but also allows us to control the quality and leaves room for my little hurricane to run off and play while we finish our dinner.

Goals for This Week

I'm writing this a little bit late, so I'm learning as I write. I left this week up to the fates knowing we would get some groceries and that the pantry/freezer were well stocked enough to fill in any gaps. I took that approach, however, to prep on Sunday and ended up doing almost nothing. This has left us in a bit of a scramble for this week.

I roasted the chicken late Monday night (I sidestepped a fridge full of unprepped ingredients with a gift certificate to a local restaurant). We'll be doing quick prep freezer meals most nights this week, which really tests us when it comes to eating in. It always seems easier to divert the car to a quick meal out where someone else does the dishes. These meals also tend to be light on leftovers for lunch.

So, all of this to say, my goals for this week are to eat the rest of our dinners at home. The remainder of my lunches and our breakfasts can be eaten at/brought from home. And to set myself up better for next week (the meal plan is already formed and the groceries are coming Saturday am so I can prep on Sat pm and Sunday pm as time allows).

Here goes nothing!

Please check out the other bloggers on this journey as well:

For more on my experience with this project, check out the whole Project: Food Budget series!

Project: Food Budget || Week 4

Sunday Lately: June 14, 2015