My husband, Matt, and I like challenges. When we moved to San Diego we decided not to get cable and still 11 years later we haven’t caved in.
Over the years we have gravitated to living more minimalistic so don’t have a lot of expenses but the one area we spend the most on outside of our mortgage is food. I would like to think it is because we are athletes and burn a lot of calories and need more fuel so it never really concerned me. Luckily Matt and I both agree on the philosophy to pay the farmer and not the doctor. However when he challenged me to see if we could spend less I had to take the challenge.
On average we spend about $1,000/month on food which includes groceries and eating out so we have tried several times to stay within $600/month. We’ve gotten close but always go over. We even set aside a cash kitty of $600 to only use for food but inevitability at the end of the month the kitty runs dry and we have to reach for the credit card. Since our vitamins and supplements aren’t a monthly purchase item we do use our credit card for those items when we need them.
We started this challenge up again in September since I am now unemployed and have time to make more meals at home. Right off the bat we went over budget as we had company in town, at least that is the excuse. This month we have only eaten out (at Wholefoods deli) three times and eaten the rest of our meals, including Matt’s lunches for work, from our own food at home but as of this weekend the kitty is dry so we are doing what any other competitor would do to succeed and scraping by with what we have at home until Thursday, 11/1.
I would love to hear from you on what your family (ours is a family of two excluding our fur babies) spend on groceries/eating out per month and any tips on how to help us reach our goal. If we didn’t eat at Wholefoods those three times this month we would have another $74 for groceries this week ($28, $28 and $18 dinners) but all in all we were pretty impressed with only three meals out this month!
- Fruits and vegetables, mostly non organic
- Packaged spinach (could buy bunched spinach but always concerned about getting it clean enough to eat)
- Nut milk, mostly almond
- Coconut water (started buying multi pack option from CostCo)
- Orange juice (have tried juicing oranges instead but averages about the same cost)
- Nori sheets
- Brown rice and whole wheat wraps
- Corn tortillas
- Canned beans & lentils (maybe need to learn to buy bulk and cook them…Juliane – you might have to sell me on her pressure cooking methods)
- Canned tomatoes or tomato sauce (for sauteing or soups/chili)
- Canned black olives
- Pure maple syrup (best price/size I have found is at CostCo)
- Almond butter (best price/size I have found is at CostCo)
- Ground flax seed
- Chia seeds
- Raw nuts (have priced these out and get walnuts and almonds at CostCo and cashews at TJs)
- Bulk brown rice
- Raw cacoa powder (special item for raw baking)
- Raw cacoa nibs (special item for raw baking)
- Coconut or olive oil
- Maca powder
- Dried mango (Just Mango at TJs)
- Chocolate covered almonds with sea salt (TJs)
- Energy bars (usually make homemade ones but grab Clif and Lara bars from time to time)
Again I would love to hear any feedback from you but in summary from this list I can see some areas to improve such as buying bunched spinach and washing/prepping myself and passing on our special Just Mango and chocolate covered almonds and skipping on eating out all together but then again maybe since we get enjoyment from these simple mostly healthy pleasures we should just adjust our budget to $700/month:)