Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Week 2: Go Shopping

This week we didn't do much shopping In our last post we mentioned that we don't really budget for food. Well...after tallying up what we have already spent on food this month we realized that we only have $129.00 left to spend out-of-pocket if we want to stay within the thrifty budget plan!

We know we only have eleven days left in the month, but we have to use that for milk, cheese, and a few other things that I know we will need over the next couple of weeks.  So I took Jenny's advice to heart and I shopped my pantry this week. Every meal we have had since the last post we made came from what we already had on hand. We started by using an excel spreadsheet to create our pantry inventory, then found recipes that would use what we have. Here is a quick look at what we have had for dinners:

Sunday: Grass-Fed Beef Chuck Roast with locally grown organic potatoes, carrots, and garlic.
Monday: Grass-Fed Beef and Kidney Bean Chili with Whole Wheat Bread made in our machine
Tuesday: Sloppy Joes made with Grass-Fed Beef and garden tomatoes
Wednesday (Today): We all ate leftovers!  Roast, Spaghetti and Chili
Thursday: Plan to have Chicken marinara made with garden tomatoes and local free range chicken

We are trying to work toward better meal planning!  Tonight we will figure out what we will eat over the weekend.

The next piece of the challenge was to buy in bulk.

We ordered the Azure Stands catalog and plan to order from it in the future when our budget allows!

The last two Steps in the challenge--buy in season and buy single ingredients--no problem since we didn't shop this week!  But we have been doing this since June.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A New Challenge: Real Food For Families

Jenny at Nourished Kitchen has presented her readers with a new challenge: Real Food For Families. We are getting a bit of a late start. Last week the challenge focused on setting up a grocery budget and learning how to plan meals in advance. We have never formally budgeted for food!

Basically, we pay the bills and purchase any other items we need. Then we use what we have left over to spend on food. If it is a tight week we eat thrifty. A not so tight week, we eat better. I am really interested in figuring out just how much we really spend on food! Of course learning from Jenny and all of her readers in the forums will be the best part!

Using the USDA's cost of food plan, my family of four is allotted 144.70 per week or 627.00 per month on the thrifty plan. We have two teenage boys in our home so we get a bit more to spend.

Fixed Monthly Expenses: $259

* Beef from the 1/2 beef we purchased this summer (23 lbs/month): $75
* Egg Share (4 dozen): $16
* Butter purchased from US Wellness Meats (1#/week): $44
* Produce Share (1 large box full/week): $124

TOTAL Fixed Costs: $259

Flexible Monthly Expenses:

* Produce: $150
* Pantry Items & Fridge Items: $150

Total Flexible Costs: $300

$68 under budget--we will see if we stay under budget!