I’m sure you’re already aware that one area of a budget that can always be tweaked is a food budget. Most bill amounts are pretty standard from month-to-month but food budgeting can change depending on what is going on in your life at the moment.
For instance, in December, with various meals, edible gifts, and parties I calculated that I spent close to what we used to in rent. Scary, right?! I knew after the first of the year I had to get this under control.
Two problems I kept running into were: lumping “eating out” with regular food purchases, and making excuses for why I needed to spend more. In fact, just about every month I can think of several excuses as to why I should spend more….housewarming gifts of wine, appetizers for parties, food swaps, etc.
I realized mid-month that we were on track to blow my estimated budget of $400 for the whole month. Finally I put my foot down and decided that to make up for it I would see if I could only spend $100 for the last 2 weeks combined.
Ok so here’s how it goes in our house: there are only 3 people and all of my vegetables (plus some eggs) can be acquired through my CSA share which I get in return for work for the farm. That is a huge amount of any food budget! This begs the question, “Why would you be going over in the first place you moron?!?!?” At least this is how I pose it to myself.
So, with those two things out of the way I have the following left to buy: fruit, baking items, dry staples (rice, beans, pasta, etc.), milk/cheese, snack items.
There are a few ways I’ve cut costs on those items and I’ll go into them in more detail in future posts. Basically what it comes down to is planning. Different stores (especially with coupons and sales) allow me to spend less, but I have to plan trips to those stores in my daily routine.
We have basically 7 days left until we get paid again and I’m happy to report we still have $24 left and plenty of food in our home. And in the realm of planning, I already have much of that $24 allocated for the items I’m sure we’ll need before the next payday.
Stay tuned to see if I can keep it up in March! I’m honestly a little nervous but I think I’ll be able to do it.
Recipe above comes from here.