Thursday, March 10, 2011

Project: Food Budget: Week 1

Budget: 50$
Actual Spent: 122.50$

Holy moly! We spend over twice our budget!

Here's our week this week:

  • bananas
  • kiwis
  • mango
  • an apple (for the sole purpose of ripening avocados)
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 3 avocados
  • 2 heads of Romaine
  • red bell pepper
  • beets and beet greens (~1 lb)
  • celery
  • 5 tomatoes
  • 2 yellow onions
  • a red onion
  • parsley
  • cilantro
  • a bag of frozen peas
  • a gallon of milk
  • 2 bags of Parmesan cheese
  • tomato pastes
  • tomato sauces
  • red wine vinegar
  • dijon mustard
  • 2 small bags of Arborio rice
  • Frank's hot sauce
  • coffee
  • 2 Jellos
  • a box of cereal
  • 2 bags of turkey deli meat (the extremely cheap kind)
  • hamburger buns
  • HealthNut bread
  • 2 2-liters of Diet Pepsi
  • 12-pack of diet ginger ale
  • Frozen pineapple juice
  • 2 Ben & Jerry's ice cream pints
  • Frozen meal (Chicken Florentine)
  • 2 frozen pizzas
  • 2 packets of lettuce seed
No wonder we spent twice as much as we intended. This list doesn't even include the 31$ worth of paper goods and cleaning supplies that we bought. It also doesn't include the ground beef, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and such that we already had.

It does include the lettuce seed that we planted with potting mix we already had. I'm hoping to keep a cherry tomato plant or two, a couple sweet pepper plants, and lots of lettuce on our porch to help supplement our groceries. We spend way too much on lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers, and have had great success with growing our own.

CSA: We didn't have any CSA pick up this week. Technically we still spend our money on the CSA though. 200$ divided by 18 weeks works out to 11.11$ per week. We have a separate budget for our CSA money, so it doesn't come out of our food budget.

Meals made:
  • Migas: leftover bell peppers and onions, scrambled eggs, and corn tortillas.
  • Hamburgers
  • Spaghetti & salad
  • Rice and bean salad: from How It All Vegan
  • Raw beet salad: from How To Cook Everything Vegetarian
  • Simple meat and potatoes: ground beef, steamed potatoes, Italian or Tex-Mex spices, cheese, and sometimes sour cream and/or ketchup.
  • Risi e bisi: from Emily Levenson
  • Parmesan-crusted veg sammies: from How It All Vegan (except we added turkey)
  • 3 frozen meals (pizza and chicken Florentine)
What we learned:
  1. Right now, 50$ a week is too tight of a weekly budget for food. It's a goal for the future but it's going to take some work to get down to it. Next week we'll try for 75$ instead of 50$.
  2. Especially with only 50$ budgeted, it's (at this juncture) unlikely that we can afford our grocery store miscellany (toiletries, et al.) in that same budget category. For now, we won't count those items in our food budget.
  3. It's even more important than we realized that we successfully budget our food spending (and stick to that budget!) because, while 100$ a week may be fine for some families, it is not sustainable for ours.
For more details on Project: Food Budget, click here.

Participating blogs:


  1. it's amazing what you learn about your spending habits when you pay attention to them!

    the good news is, the more you pay attention to what you are spending, the more you will be able to gauge what "average" spending is for you.

    looking forward to seeing what next week holds for you.

  2. Wow. That is a lot of food, though. Do you feel like when you spend that much you are getting your money's worth? I like to see what people are spending because being so close to veggies and fruit (in Fort Worth) and seeing others spend a lot more for them (who live in colder areas up north, etc.) makes me a little more grateful for what we get down here.

  3. Emily, I'm looking forward to it too. ;)

    Stephanie, it was a lot of food. We've got a little bit of leftovers left, which will help this week. I actually haven't been too pleased with the veg I've found in the store recently.

    I'm definitely looking forward to having more farm fresh food, but that ice patch we had last month put us back.

  4. It looks like you bought some staple items as well, which always adds a good chunk at our spending. I have this cram of gettingunder budget consistantly and putting the excess in a staple food fund. So far it is just a dream. :) One thing that has really helped with our budget is using the same ingredient multiple times in different ways through out the week. For example, If I make smoked pinto beans one day, I use the left over beans to make refried beans for burritos. I do the same with greens. If I make beans and greens, I throw the leftover greens in my ferried beans. It really strethes the budget and eliminates waste. I think you will be much closer to you goal in no time!

  5. Jeannette, that's great advice! I try to use the same thing in different ways each week but some weeks are definitely better than others. :)