project food budget: weeks 11 & 12

by Stacy

Project: Food Budget

I am currently back in the Midwest for Christmas, and though I prepped my numbers for the last two weeks for this post (I have a tracking spreadsheet), I forgot to somehow make that spreadsheet accessible while I travel. Oops. So I’m putting in approximations based on bank statements which I will adjust later.


Week 11: $58.44 (groceries) + $20.90 (restaurants)
Week 12: $78.40 (groceries) + $35.48 (restaurants)

Lessons Learned

We were close, maybe a little higher than usual last week between the CSA ($28) and running out of a few kitchen staples like oils (last for a while, but $8 a bottle).

We hadn’t been eating out much, but we did a few times in the last two weeks. Once was to try a restaurant I really wanted to visit, and twice my husband and I went out while running errands and to take a break. One of the benefits of working from home is that I can cook my own food, but sometimes I don’t leave the house for days at a time. I needed a break and some quality time with my hubby!

Other Thoughts

We’re 3 months in to Project: Food Budget! Emily asked all the participants what we’ve learned. I noticed that the word “budget” has a negative connotation to me, much like the word “diet” evokes a restrictive way of eating. In some ways, calling this a food budget makes me feel internal pressure to spend as little money as possible. It’s a budget!

However, I feel that good quality food is an investment, and I’m happy to pay that money to farmers and restaurants I support. So while tracking my food spending is educational, I want to make sure that I’m not trying to make buying decisions based on those restrictive thoughts.

Something for me to ponder.

Do you try to minimize your food costs no matter what, or would you rather spend money on food and save money in another area?

Check out the other participants of the challenge to see how they’re doing!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

redpenmamapgh December 29, 2011 at 10:15 am

For me, this project isn’t strictly about spending less money on food at all. Instead, I’m focused on making a worthwhile investment in the food I purchase: cooking more, wasting less. Since joining a CSA and discovering the world of organic and locally grown foods, I don’t want to go back to buying cheap. That’s sacrificing health and flavor for… what, exactly? A few more dollars in my pocket? :) Although I do try to spend less on eating out, and encourage my husband to do the same. When we do go out, just us or as a family, I like to have a good reason: date night, birthday, something special. Not just because mama doesn’t feel like cooking and cleaning! :)


Stacy December 31, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Great points, and I agree. I just noticed that it was making me feel that way and wondered what it was about.
And I love your point that going out has a reason, not just because you don’t want to cook and clean up. When we moved to California we started focusing on keeping our restaurant budget about the same, but going out less often to better places.


Emily December 31, 2011 at 12:00 pm

I think my inclination is to spend whatever I want on food because it’s healthy, I love to cook, and I don’t get to eat out often. But the reality is, we have to keep it within a reasonable amount. Spending $250/week for two people is absurd.

Having a budget allows me to eat healthy, to choose my splurges, and honor where we want to be spending. I find that it helps keep me on track, instead of going crazy.

Maybe you just need a different word for the project? Or a different goal like RedPenMama said. That would be more inline with your food goals (and then setting a goal for your spending).


Stacy December 31, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I think I just needed to get that out of my head and refocus on why I’m participating, which (now that I think about it) is more to show that you can eat healthy food and still keep it within a reasonable budget.


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