Last month was our first official month trying to stick to a $600 food budget. As it turns out, it wasn’t the best month to start with! We ended up traveling (kind of last minute) 3 straight weekends, which meant more eating on the run and/or buying different food that works better for road trips. So, the good news is: We came in under budget for grocery shopping! The bad news is that we spent more money on dining out than we had budgeted (we budget less than $40/month for dining out- no joke). Did we break even on our dining out and grocery budgets? Not really :(. As it turns out, we ended up spending an extra $100 on food in the month of December due to travel.
That said, when I did buy groceries, I was able to stick to my rules no problem. This is an evolving budget, and there are a few things I am thinking about as we go that could change some numbers for us. For example, my husband and I strongly prefer grassfed beef to poultry. I have some great chicken nugget recipes for my kids, which is nice since they don’t like red meat very much yet.
I can always get a good deal on chicken or pork, for $1.99 a pound or less, but grassfed beef is at least three times that price. I plan to do the math on the difference between buying cheaper conventional cuts of poultry or pork and then having to add in healthy fat by way of coconut oil or grassfed butter, but I haven’t yet. I guess I haven’t because there is a huge element that I’m not sure how to quantify: I’m calling it the feel-good element! See, grassfed beef isn’t just delicious. It feels good buying grassfed beef because I know it is better for the environment and my body. I hate to admit this, but there have been nights we have considered going out to dinner instead of eating it at home simply because (although I’ve done the best I can dressing it up for deliciousness) chicken just isn’t as tasty as grassfed beef, IMHO. And, going out to dinner, my friends, doesn’t do anything good for our budget!
Anyway, that is my struggle at the moment…I will keep doing the math and considering changes. For anyone who is curious, we are right on track for January, and have spent just shy of $300 so far!
Are you eating real food on a budget? Paleo? Primal? Gluten-Free? If you have any tips, please share!