Introducing Project: Food Budget

One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year was to comb through all our monthly expenses and make as many practical reductions as possible. After three years of home remodeling, we were kind of used to spending whatever we wanted on whatever we wanted – and that is, of course, not practical long term. With pretty aggressive early retirement goals, we need to really start focusing on smarter choices.MP900387060

We have already made some good reductions:

    • Reduced our cell phone plan to one with fewer minutes, but still plenty, saving about $50/month. We had 15,000 rollover minutes accrued – it was safe to say our plan was too big!
    • Cut our eating out at lunch habit down to only 2-3 times a week from just about every day
    • Started thinking before we spend – do we really need whatever it is?

Lastly, we’re embarking on an interesting project created by Emily over at The Reluctant Vegetarian. I should say, as the sole grocery shopper, I’membarking on this project. If I let 2Chili shop on a regular basis we’d have a cupboard full of cereal and pistachio nuts and not much else.


Called Project: Food Budget, the objective is to get grocery spending in order by spending $75 or less per week on groceries. As a result, I think we will waste less food, and plan a little more. We are not huge food wasters anymore; I have reined that in quite a bit by buying smarter and cooking more, but there is always room for improvement.

Every Thursday, I’ll join a group of fellow bloggers by posting our food costs for the week in progress, as well as menus and any observations. I thought about this challenge quite a bit before deciding to join it – it’s a pretty big commitment to stay under $75 in groceries per week. But, I couldn’t shake the idea from my head and decided that was a sign I needed to participate.MP900387250

Do you think you have the gumption to do it? If so, check out all the deets over here and get going!

Project: Food Budget Week 1

First, some background.

I have to say that in terms of accounting for this project, I have a pretty big helper in Amazon Fresh. I can see my total bill in my cart before I check out, unlike at traditional markets where your head has to do a pre-tally before you check out. I will have a few curve balls, in that I do go to Trader Joe’s a couple times a month for most staple items, and of course we get our CSA box every other Tuesday. I’ll be counting the produce box in full on the week it comes instead of amortizing it over two weeks. This was not a CSA week.

Okay, with that background aside, here is this week’s damage.

Goal: $75
Actual: $87.64

We are $12.63 over this first week, as I went shopping before I decided to fully commit to the project. But on the positive side, we have a very full pantry and fridge now, so we should be set up to do much better next week!

Week in Progress Menu

Monday: Leftovers from the weekend
Tuesday: Lentil Walnut Burgers with hash browns
Wednesday: Veggie Lasagna (recipe forthcoming)
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Veggie Basket Pasta Marinara
Saturday:Chili or Panini Sandwiches, or both
Sunday: Butternut squash orzo – I have frozen squash and some rainbow chard from last week’s produce box

Where it all went:

Amazon FreshQty.Extended Price
Organic Valley Milk, Fat Free, Pasteurized, Gallon1$6.19
Broccolini Asparation, 1 Bunch (United States)1$3.49
Baby Carrots, Organic, 1 lb Package (United States)1$2.29
Fage Total All Natural Greek Strained Yogurt, 0%, 17.6 oz1$4.59
West Soy, Seitan, 8 oz1$4.29
Wilcox Cage Free Large White Eggs, 1 dozen1$2.89
Chiquita Bananas, 5 Count Bunch, Green (Ecuador)1$2.09
Libby’s Pumpkin Filling, 15 oz2$2.10
Tinkyada Pasta Joy Ready, Penne, Brown Rice, 16 oz1$3.79
Imagine Vegetable Broth, Organic, Low Sodium, 32 oz 1$4.49
Hunt’s Tomato Paste No Salt Added, 6 oz2$2.58
Fiesta Lentils, 16 oz 2$2.58
Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Oats Regular, 32 oz1$3.99
Bananas, Organic, 3 Count Bunch, Ripe (Mexico)1$1.69
Trader Joe’sQty.Extended Price
Dark Roast Coffee1$3.99
TJ Organic Salt Free Marinara1$2.29
Lasagna Noodles1$1.99
Organic Zucchini Squash, 1.5 lbs1$2.99
Raw Almonds1$4.49
TJ Clover Honey1$4.49
Dried Bing Cherries1$3.49
Dried Blueberries1$5.49
Roasted Unsalted Cashews1$5.49
Roasted Lightly Salted Peanuts1$2.29
Mini 72% Dark Chocolate Bars2$3.58

Grand Total: $87.63

Check out these other bloggers to see how they’re doing on Project: Food Budget!

  • Reluctant Vegetarian – The creator of the project!
  • Maria Marz
  • Veggie Converter
  • Low Budge Veg
  • Ashley’s Dairy Free Cooking Blog
  • Beauty, Fitness, and Health…Oh My!
  •  Motor City Girl In the Steel City
  •  Veggie Burgher
  •  Baked Beans and Broccoli…Vegetarian Budgeting: – Sweet Rehab:
  • The Happy Cactus
  • The Vegetarian Salmon
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