As you heard last week, I’m seriously cutting down on my food expenditures. My total food spending for March was around $750…ouch, so you can see why this needs to happen. I started my 5 food budget steps this past week, and things are going pretty good, but let’s get down to the actual numbers.
My new monthly food budget is $300. I get $40/month for my weekly lunch out, $20 /month for my weekly treat, and $80/month for my weekly date night. This leaves $160 for groceries, meaning I’ll be trying to stay under $40/week. Hopefully this new arrangement is reflected in my food pie chart for April (fingers-crossed!).
Obviously, there is a little wiggle room in the budget. If I skip out on my weekly treat, I can spend that extra $5 somewhere else, or if I overspend on groceries for the week, then I’ll have to cut that money from somewhere else. I’m being strict with the total money spent, less so within each category, since this is going to be a huge overhaul for me.
As to how I’m cutting down on my groceries, here’s what I’m planning:
- Smoothies for breakfast – cheap, easy, and quick…plus there are tons of flavor combos so I won’t get bored –> save money with frozen fruit/veggies & protein powder…nothing that will go to waste!
- Salads for lunch – basically the same as above, but they are also easy to make once at the beginning of the week –> save money with batch cooking so I use all of my produce instead of throwing some out & these are vegetarian, so no money going to meats.
- Fruit for snacks – an apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? Plus, apples, oranges, and bananas are all easy-to-eat/readily available healthy snacks. –> save money by just buying a bag of oranges instead of fancy cheese or prepackaged snacks
- Meatless dinners every other night. –> this one’s an obvious money-saver. I’ll be replacing the meat with another protein, like eggs, quinoa, or black beans & save money by not buying a ton of meat, plus this stuff keeps for a long time
As you can see, I’ll automatically be reducing my food budget simply by eliminating junk food, desserts, and alcohol from my weekly grocery budget. These things are part of my monthly ‘treat’ budget, so once I’ve spent that money…that’s all I get! I have a feeling that my weekly treat is going to be a $5 bottle of wine.
It’s going to be tough, but I’m looking forward to cooking more, eating way healthier than I have been, and most importantly, spending a more reasonable amount of money on food.
I’m also doing a couple other things to save money on my food budget: 1) I’m going to bring my own grocery bags with me each trip (saves $0.10…that’ll add up at some point); 2) I’m only shopping at Kroger, instead of multiple stores or whatever is nearby, so I can earn fuel points to use each month (saves $2 on one gas trip); and 3) I’m going to actually measure out my food to ensure I’m eating the right portion size. Crazy, right? Who’d have thought my food would last longer if I actually ate the right amounts of it?
Here’s to the beginning of a new way of eating and drinking…one that hopefully results in quite a bit of savings.