Sunday, October 16, 2011

Oct Food Budget Update

Well, as I mentioned before, its only half way through Oct and I have already spent more than $200 on food.  There are some good reasons, but nonetheless....  Hubby suggested that I aim for $2400 annually, rather than a monthly budget, as some months are more expensive. Why?

This month, I purchased several staple items that I won't need to buy again for 4 to 6 months. This includes:
rice (both short grain and basmati)
chocolate chips
baking soda

And several items I won't purchase again for 1 to 2 months:
whole chickens
chicken breasts
pork loin
lunch meat
whole, peeled, canned tomatoes
peanut butter

Also, we are hosting some Indian friends this weekend, and as they are vegetarian, I've purchased (1) more vegetables than I would normally in a month, and (2) enough to feel 2 more adults. I purchased the basmati rice as a treat for them and us. And the 20 lb bag of basmati cost more than the 50 lb bag of short grain; this is quite the treat!

We are looking at joining the local CSA. I see a few pros and a few cons to this...
a chunk of veggies at less than I'd pay at the store
fresh, pesticide free veggies

likely to get some veggies we just don't like
more veggies than we could eat... if we aren't intentional.

Yes, I'm looking for a friend to go halves with us. There are only  2 of us, and we are only learning how to eat veggies in larger amounts and more regularly. It doesn't come naturally to either of us.

I'm thinking October will round out to about $300, which means I've averaging $250. I do think I going to aim more to keeping the average around $200 rather than each month at $200.

How are you doing with your food budget? Have you started any new strategies? I'd love to have a conversation about this with others with similar goals!


  1. for the 4 of us, and the boys each eat nearly as much as Matthew can, food plus paper goods and cosmetics and animal care products, in the "higher than usual cost of living city of chicago", is usually right at $600/month. I know, that sounds like a lot compared to your $200... if you can think of ways to reduce it, I'd love to hear!

  2. Same for us Emily...and there are only three of us eating food right now! Ack! But over the summer with my mom staying with us we did buy a bit more. I would guess that our grocery prices are similar to yours...things in the DC/Baltimore area are way over-priced.

  3. We have really enjoyed getting CSA shares. I prefer the challenge of figuring out what to use what we get, rather than starting my weekly meal plans from scratch. I did the math and, because we're splitting with a friend, the weekly cost of the CSA is less than I was spending on produce at HEB each week (though I still buy things like onions and garlic). Sometimes we freeze extras we can't eat soon enough or share them with someone else.

  4. Emily and Katie -- my costs don't include paper products, toiletries or pet stuff. That would increase my costs by $50 to $100, I'm guessing.

    I do my bulk shopping at Sam's, That helps and I know the "good" price for stuff. So I never by a whole chicken for more than $0.88/lb, or chicken breasts for more than $1.97.

    Though with more eating, adding at least $100/person seems reasonable. A family of 4 -- I'd aim for $400 or $4800 annually. is my major ideas for reducing the food budget.

  5. to keep in a budget, you need to plan. We don't strictly plan all our meals but have general "guidelines" for breakfast and lunch. I plan 7 dinners for the week but not which day they need to be served (unless there is a perishable that needs to be used quickly). We also have a deep freeze so I can take advantage of sales and purchasing 1/4 of a beef and accepting offers of 1/2 an elk in trade for services (sweet!) and bulk homemade cooking (broths, beans, soups, tomatoes, berries, breads, etc.). Another strategy that helps is to have in mind a target price for general categories. For instance, I try to keep any cold cereal purchase around $.11/ounce, crackers (nicer varieties) about $.15/ounce, proteins (meats, cheese, fish) at about $.13/ounce or $2/pound (this "target" does vary widely between chicken & cheese or fish but it still gives me a good comparison).

    It really is worth the effort to figure these things out. For the last 3 years, I have fed 4 adults and 2 teens, one dog and 2 cats on about $250 a month. It has been hard but it is doable.

  6. Jenny -- that's similar to what I do, though I've not figured out the purchasing part of a cow or such. I'd love to! And no elk offers, here, nor of deer, though I'd take them if offered.

    Wow, 6 eaters, plus pets for $250 a month, that's pretty good! I do wonder how much location has to do with it, as I could purchase fruits and veggies in LA, CA at about half the cost of here. I'm hoping as I get more intentional about keeping track of low costs and buying low, I might be able to lower our cost even more!

  7. I just realized that I was estimating our costs since about August and that included diapers for two wonder it was higher than I typically budget! I will be thrilled when Julian is potty trained.


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