This week marked the second month of tracking all food and grocery store purchases. After a surprising first month we buckled down and made some changes to our eating habits in an attempt to reduce our obscenely high food costs. I have found that this takes more time and planning but overall we did reduce our expenses.
For the first month of tracking we didn’t make a whole lot of changes as we really wanted to know what our average/normal food expenses were. After seeing the whopping total of $787.27 spent on just food I knew that I have some work cut out for me and that just making a quick stop to get food at the nearest store was no longer going to be a viable option. Our total food costs for this past month totaled $637.89 with an added $132 of dining out costs. Things got skewed a little high due to some trips to Costco with my sister to purchase bulk items like $40 worth of just nuts that should last a few months and also the last few days were a little higher because of vacation but overall we did make some progress with our everyday food expenses.
One of the first things I started to do was to log the costs of some of our regularly purchased items. I created a google docs spreadsheet and entered the prices of these items at each of the different chains of grocery stores. I started to notice that there was sometimes a huge difference in prices from one store to the next. This is still a work in process and I don’t log everything as prices can often change but it is a starting point. Here is an example of the costs of quinoa per pound at a few stores in our area.
|Quinoa||$7.99 PP||$4.99 PP bulk||$2.99 PP|
We also have been doing more meal planning. On Sunday’s I will try to plan out our lunches and dinners for the week. I sometimes have trouble planning all the way through the end of the week but do think that we are saving a lot by not making as many last minute trips to the most convenient store. I do find that this often takes a lot more time as I sometimes find myself cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner after work but as I have been enjoying seeing some savings and doing the planning it has not been a chore.
Now I am sure that we could save even more money if we ate differently but as I have mentioned in the past eating well is every important to us. To give you an idea of how we eat, here are some photos I took of our dinners over the past month. When possible I listed the cost per serving below.
2/10 Pork chops, carrots & cauliflower mash $3.14 per serving
2/12 Chicken, carrots, cauliflower, avocado $5.34 per serving
2/13 Roasted cauliflower, sweet potato & meatloaf
2/14 Sushi rice bowl with tofu teriyaki
2/15 Honey Dijon chicken, broccoli & rice
2/19 GF Pasta with sausage & veggies
2/21 Ham with pineapple, purple potatoes & kale $3.48 per serving
2/26 Salmon with honey Dijon sauce, green beans with dried cranberries and almonds and pan fried polenta $5.90 per serving
2/28 Tofu stir fry (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, tofu, rice, ginger, soy sauce, maple syrup) $1.80 per serving
3/1 Pork pie with wilted kale
3/3 Salmon with honey Dijon sauce, broccoli and GF roll/mini naan $6.08 per serving
3/4 Pork chop, carrots and roasted potatoes $3.25 per serving
3/5 Marinated chicken, green beans with dried cranberries and sliced almonds, GF roll and mini naan $4.91 per serving
I think we can still make some improvements and cut back our food expenses even more and am excited to see how much more progress we can make this upcoming month, even though we are still on vacation.