Once upon a time, I participated in this great experiment called Project: Food Budget. I was sad when it ended and planned on continuing documenting my journey with some tweaks. Unfortunately, it became a bit of a non-priority and though I continued to coupon and budget extensively, documenting it all was not as important to me. This also coincided with the beginning of some rather trying times during the last year. Despite the e-mails asking when this feature would be back, I just could not bring myself to do it.
Things have been tight lately given that the beau and I are living off less than we’d like. So as we’ve tightened our belts and our budget, I’ve found myself returning to my spend-thrifty ways! So the time officially has come to bring. it. back.
For those of you who may be new to this series it goes a little something like this. Every Monday I’ll post a meal-planning, deal-sighting, coupon-using, all around fab post. I’ll clue you in on the (hopefully) awesome recipes I’ll be trying out and my favorite steals and deals that I took advantage of. If there’s a particular company I’m obsessed with, I might highlight them. If I have a great tip for saving money, I’ll share that too. Sometimes there will be photos of my meals and my haul. Sometimes there won’t. I’m trying to be a more go-with-the-flow type of person.
My general rules/goals are as follows:
- Spend no more than is $400/month ($80-100/week). This is for my beau and I and includes everything (food, toilet paper, neosporin, makeup, etc).
- Save as much as or more than we spend.
- Never pay full price for packaged foods. Produce in boxes/bags is the one exception.
- Similarly, pay the lowest possible price for packaged foods and stock up at this time if possible. This may be from a sale, coupons, a combination of the two, or simply shopping at a competitively-priced store (e.g. Trader Joe’s).
- Unit prices trump actual prices 99% of the time. The 1% exception occurs when we’re really short on our budget but need something. Then we buy whatever is the least expensive.
- Purchase packaged foods primarily from those companies that are ethical, supporters of local business, and, preferably, independently owned (as opposed to, well, not). Cost sometimes wins but generally I stick to this. #votewithyourfork
- Purchase locally-grown produce whenever possible.
- Purchase only organic varieties of the “Dirty Dozen” foods. <–something I still struggle with, mostly for cost reasons. However locally-grown with minimal-no pesticide use > organic.
Alright…let’s get to the good stuff!
*Some of the links are recipes. Others are just photos. 🙂
Breakfast: green smoothies for me; toast or Greek yogurt bowls for him
Lunch: leftovers for me; leftovers, a salad, or sandwich for him
Dinner:Su – Sage Polenta and Nana’s Marinara (Crazy Sexy Kitchen)
M- Chickpea Strawberry Mango Salad (Peas and Thank You; blueberries subbed for mango) and Beer Bread
Tu- Sauteed Spinach with Silken Tofu and a side of rice
W- Asparagus Caesar Salad with white beans for me and organic chicken for himTh- Lemon Basil Pasta (EHH)
Friday and Saturday tend to involve creativity. Plus we travel a bit so its easier to just go with the flow and make the pantry work for us.
Farmer’s Market: $20
Trader Joe’s: $12.13
Whole Foods: remainder
Steals and Deals
Cherry tomatoes (32 oz): $4.99 = $2.50/lb
Organic strawberries (16 oz): $3.79
Seedless cucumbers (2 pack): $2.39
Bananas (3 lb): $1.79
Utz chips (14 oz): $2.99
Applegate Farms turkey slices (2 x 7 oz): $7.69-2x $0.75/1 coupon here
= $6.19 = $3.10/package = $7.07/lb
Wild Riceworks Chips (14 oz): $4.99
-$1.50 BJs coupon
=$3.49 <–best overall price, not best unit price
Crunchmaster crackers (20 oz): $7.99
-$2.00 BJS coupon
=$5.99 = $4.80/lb <–usually closer to $7/lb
Dove Men’s+ Care soap (10 bars + bonus body wash): $9.79
-$2.00 BJs coupon
-$1.00/1 Men+Care body wash or Active Clean shower tool (RP 06/02/13)
-$1.00/1 Men+Care body and face bar, 6-pack+ (RP 06/02/13)
WW Tuscan Pane bread: $2.99
Greek yogurt (5.3 oz): $0.99
Soy creamer (1 pint): $1.50
Craisins (8 oz): $1.99
I’m in the process of putting together a BJ’s price book and plan on posting it along with a guide to healthy + mindful BJs couponing. So keep your eyes out for that.