Monday, June 4, 2012

Menu Plan, June 4-10: Evaluating the budget

So before I post my actual meal plan for this week, I have a confession. I do not know how much we've been spending on groceries each week for the past few months. Not a clue. Somewhere between $100 and $200, I think.

The slackness started when Ben started the elimination diet. I knew we'd have to spend more on food since he couldn't eat gluten, soy, corn, eggs, dairy, or nuts--but I wasn't sure how much more I'd need to spend. And then I got pregnant, and of course was hungrier and in need of a higher-protein diet. Again, cause for spending a little extra. So, with those two excuses in mind, I merrily went along grocery shopping without a specific budgeted amount, and then got in the habit of stopping at the store every time I was in town.

For someone who used to diligently grocery shop with cash in hand, this is bad. A tighter-than-usual month last month (thanks in part to a few unexpected expenses--and not helped by my sloppy budgeting) made me realize I've got to get back into the groove of diligently sticking to a grocery budget.

I'm going to set myself  a limit of $560 for groceries (includes food and cleaners, paper products, etc.) this month--$140/week. I know $560 is a lot. I'm almost embarrassed to post such a high number in a public place. We do have to spend extra since Ben is still gluten free (and not eating soy, corn, or nuts) and I still need lots of protein (no skimping on meat!). So, we either lower the quality of our food (conventional meats instead of grass-fed, etc.) or spend extra.

Before the elimination diet and this pregnancy, our grocery budget was $400/month. I'm hoping I can bring it down from $560 closer to $500 in the next couple of months--and eventually below that. But, I want to start with something doable so I don't get burned out and go over budget because "there's nothing to eat." The $560 will include money to set aside for bulk purchases, as well as our monthly raw milk herd share fee ($45 each month for a gallon and a half each week).

What the $560 won't include is our bulk meat purchase (which we weren't able to pick up week before last as planned--hopefully it will work out this week), but once we pick it up, I'll be setting aside a little bit of my grocery money each week in a separate envelope to go to our next bulk meat purchase.

So, with that said, I thought I'd bring y'all along for the ride as I evaluate my grocery budget and get it under control again.

Total spent for this week: $18 (one large grass-fed beef roast which I cooked in the crock-pot and shredded). I plan to do my grocery run for the week tomorrow.

Total left for the month: $542

And now, the menu plan.

Breakfast casserole, coconut flour pumpkin muffins (from this ebook) (x2)
Baked oatmeal (x2)
Scrambled eggs, hash browns (x3)

Italian roast beef over pasta (one of my favorite dinners--from this ebook), salad, sauteed yellow squash
Chicken and squash bake, quinoa pilaf, salad
Rice and beans with salsa, sour cream, cheese, lettuce, etc; pineapple (x2)
Breakfast casserole, coconut flour pumpkin muffins (from this ebook) (our usual breakfast for dinner on Saturday night)
Dinner at the farm with Ben's family

What are y'all cooking this week? Hopefully, I will update you on the grocery budget saga again later this week. :)

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  1. Do you skip lunch or eat out. . .and how many are in your family and ages please? I have no idea how good or bad your budget is without that. This post tempts me to blog on my menu for the week. . .sadly I never know what I'm doing more then one day ahead. (And often not more then an hour or so.)

  2. @Angela, We eat lunch at home. It's typically leftovers or smoothies, so I stopped blogging our lunch menu since it's always the same--and kind of boring. Our family consists of my husband (27), who does manual labor and comes home for lunch, my pregnant self (22), a three-year old, and a 17 month-old who eats almost as much as I do most meals (!). We eat out less than once a month, so the budget includes all three meals per day at home plus snacks--as well as toiletries, paper products, cleaning products, etc.

  3. Tacos made by daddy tonight :) tomorrow eggplant parm. Salad and homemade bread Friday is homemade pizza and pizza Saturday. Black bean sloppy joes Sunday meatlof fresh broccoli fresh greenbeans baked potatoes and biscuits with honey