After another full month of tracking our food and grocery expenses I feel that we are finding a good system that works for us. Are we still spending more than the average family? Maybe. But we are saving a ton of money compared to our 2015 food costs and still eating healthy.
I am still doing meal planning on Sundays and find that this is the key to making this work. I usually only plan meals through Wednesday and then do a mid-week plan for the rest of the week. Although this is not my favorite part of the day on Sunday I do find that there is a lot less stress mid-week when it comes to food so it has been worth it. Here is my meal plan from last week.
|Sunday||kale greens and chicken|
|Monday||kale greens & chicken||pork, cauliflower, carrots|
|Tuesday||kale greens & chicken||Almond chicken, sweet pot fries, green beans|
|Wednesday||leftovers||salmon, cauliflower, carrots||chicken to go with carrot leftovers|
|Thursday||chicken, carrots||Tofu stir fry (double batch?)|
|Friday||Tofu stir fry leftovers||balsamic chicken, beets|
Nothing too complicated but some nights I do end up prepping the following day’s lunch unless we have planned leftovers. The funny thing is that I used to hate leftovers (I am not sure why) but now I love them as it means that I don’t have to figure out lunch for the next day.
We found a couple of great recipes like the almond chicken (egg wash and then coated in almond flour) and sweet potato fries that we super tasty the day after for lunch. These recipes will probably make it into a regular rotation as they were good and we just had to make twice the amount when cooking dinner instead of prepping an entirely separate lunch for the next day.
I made a couple of trips to Costco again this month with my sister who has a membership. As she has been taking me more often and it can be sometimes hard to coordinate I gave her $10 to put towards her membership fees. I still find that the organic chicken that I can get from Costco is one of the better deals. It is a much better price than when I can get in the store and we don’t have to sacrifice settling for conventionally raised chicken. I am still working on finding the balance of eating healthy and organic foods when possible and at least this piece of things is easier.
We also started buying eggs from one of my sister’s coworkers. He has a small farm with “happy chickens” and ends up with almost a dozen per day so he sells them to friends for $3 per dozen. They may not be organic but they are very happy and healthy chickens raised by a loving family and this means a lot.
The only extra expenses we really had was hosting Mother’s Day brunch at our house. Brunch thankfully is one of the less expensive meals to host but did add a little to our expenses. Some stuff we already had on hand but we did spend another $31 on food. We had eggs, fresh organic fruit, avocados, GF pancakes and bacon with some kale and cherry tomatoes as a garnish. Here is round one of my plate which was followed up with pancakes and bacon. Yum!
If we can keep up the meal planning I am positive that we can continue to control our food costs. We dine out very infrequently now and are still planning which stores to purchase specific items. I estimate that by the end of the year we should be able to save $3000-4000 over last years total food costs which is certainly nothing to balk at. Do I wish I food number was a little lower than $665? Of course. But I think we are both happy with the improvements we have made to date.
|April 8 – May 7|
The added benefit of doing meal planning is that we are eating healthy while still giving us tasty food every night. Our meals may not work for everyone but they work for us. And because we are able to avoid a lot of unhealthy food I have been able to get the energy I need as I increase my fitness program going into the summer and have even gained some muscle. I know this is not a goal of the average person but to me, eating healthy and having a healthy body are just as important as having healthy finances. I want to make sure I am healthy enough to enjoy my life now and also when we are FI.
4/11: broccoli, roasted cauliflower, ham steak, GF baguette
4/14: glazed salmon with roasted cauliflower and brussel sprouts
4/22: chicken, maple glazed carrots and amaranth (not thrilled with the amaranth)
4/23: lemon cilantro chicken, wild rice and roasted cauliflower
4/25: pork tenderloin and roasted cauliflower
4/26: chicken stuffed with cheese and prosciutto, broccoli and carrots
4/27: Tofu stir fry with carrots, broccoli, cashews over rice noodles
4/29: chicken, wild rice, wilted kale with prosciutto
5/1: cilantro lime chicken with avocado, broccoli and wild rice
5/2: pork chops, roasted cauliflower, carrots
5/3: “breaded” chicken, carrots and green beans
5/4: glazed salmon, carrots, roasted cauliflower and GF roll from Against the Grain
5/5: Tofu stir fry with carrots, broccoli, snap peas over rice noodles
5/6: balsamic roasted chicken, wilted kale and beets