Um, wow! This past month we made incredible progress towards reducing our food costs. Woot, woot!
Part of the reason that our expenses were a little lower this month is I did some stocking up last month at Costco buying enough nuts to last a couple of months as well as some meat that we are still using. So I guess it kinda evens out in the end, but still I love seeing a lower number even if it is skewed a little.
|Mar 8-April 7||Mar 8-April 7|
Meal planning continues to be one of the keys to our success. I find that we have a lot less waste of ingredients and we plan on eating leftovers for lunches instead of forgetting about them in the fridge. By the time Thursday rolls around I don’t always have dinners and lunches planned but obviously what we are doing is making a big difference.
Meal planning is also part of the reason that our dining out costs have stayed low. No longer do we both get home and realize that we have nothing to eat resulting in a trip to our favorite local restaurant. Before starting our FI journey we would eat out a couple of times per week and before starting this food cost cutting journey in January we went out at least a few times per month. It’s amazing how much a meal out here and there really does add up.
This food cost cutting journey has not been without sacrifice though. One of the things that drastically drives up our food costs is buying organic foods. I have recently been passing up the organic options and buying conventional instead and definitely struggle with this decision. I bought some chicken this week and instead of buying the $10 organic chicken breasts I went for the $4.50 option. I am really torn when it comes to things like this because I do want to eat meat that is humanely raised and organic meats really do taste better. I may try to work in some more organic meats as I feel that meal planning in general has drastically helped our overall costs anyways.
One of the other things that continues to work in our favor is buying particular items at certain stores. I am still keeping track of some of our regularly purchased items and making sure to buy them before we run out. If we do run out of one of these items I find that I will go to the most convenient store instead of the one with the best price so as long as I am on top of things, this works well.
What Does this Boil Down To
So how does this affect our annual numbers? If I take the expenses over the past 2 months (I am not going to include the first month of this as we were not actively trying to make changes yet) and I get a monthly average of $516.48 for food and $67.41 for dining out. The dining out number include a dinner out with friends on vacation where we paid for a friend’s meal as well as a couple of take out meals with my sister in law and her family as they have a newborn and takeout is the easiest route there.
Annualize these numbers and our total food costs come to: $6,197 for food and $809 for dining out. Compare this to last year’s numbers and we are way ahead of the game.
To be fair the food number from last year does include grocery items like toilet paper but still, this is a drastic improvement of about $5,000 for the year. Um, holy cow! I do expect our average monthly food costs will go up slightly from the current monthly average as I add in more organic food but if I can keep the meal plan going we should be able to save at least a few thousand dollars a year. I am psyched that the hard work is paying off. Let’s hope I can continue to keep costs low and save the extra money towards our FI goal.
Here are some of our meals for the month:
3/15: Ham with pineapple, sweet potato mash and broccoli
3/16: Honey mustard chicken, carrots and quinoa
3/19: Shepherd’s pie made with sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, corn, ground turkey and pork
3/20: Pork, wilted kale and cauliflower mash
3/21: Seasoned chicken, wilted kale and cauliflower mash
3/22: One pot taco soup
3/23: Chicken, broccoli and quinoa
3/26: Chili with GF cornbread muffins
3/28: Ham, wild rice, wilted kale and GF roll
3/29: Pork, wilted kale, quinoa
4/3: Chicken stuffed with goat cheese and bruschetta, maple glazed carrots and GF roll
4/4: Pork tenderloin and lentil salad