$50 a week grocery budget part 1

After MANY people asking me to blog about our grocery budget challenge ..her we are:

One of my biggest inspirations in life right now is Ashley over at http://www.neverhomemaker.com/ and http://www.writingchapterthree.com/.  I have never met her but her blog has inspired me so much.  From all things baby, to running during pregnancy, recipes, and the biggest of all our $50.00 a week grocery budget!

When Ashley posted about their goal for a $50.00 a week grocery budget Levi was about 4 months old, Tristan was still in the middle of busy season and was eating meals his work provided for dinner so I wasn't cooking and consequently rarely packed him lunch so he was buying lunch almost every day.  He was also buying a cup of black coffee for a $1.60 every day at work.  To top it all off I wasn't really paying attention to how much we were spending at the grocery store.  I just went and bought lots of whole foods....no planning at all.

All this eating out and un-planning was really adding up at the grocery store and when we were out and about or to lazy and tired to make anything at home. It was time for a change and I got just the inspiration I needed.

 Since instituting our budget challenge we have been able to save about $200 a month!  That's ALOT!!

I think we are on month 3?? So that means we have saved aproximatly $600 dollars!  Sounds awesome huh?  So how have we done it?  Planning, only buying just what we need, packing Tristan's lunches (always leftovers), making his coffee for the day at home,  and making most meals from complete scratch.

Tristan and I feel very strongly that eating whole unprocessed foods especially lots of veggies and fruits is super important for health and well-being so while saving money and being conscious of how much we are spending is important we don't want to compromise our health in doing so!

Let's just say..we want to find BALANCE!  That  is so important to us. 

We live in Austin Texas where there are several Whole Foods, Central Market's, Sprouts, and many other health food stores and a plethora of eateries (many of which are healthy, vegetarian, vegan and even raw vegan) so it can be hard to not be tempted to spend lots of money on buying all kids of healthy goods that aren't as budget friendly. Typically I stay away from these stores, except when they have specials or we have planned super cheap meals to make room for a little something special!

All in all we have stuck to the $50.00 really closely but I feel like our sweet spot is more like $60.00.

Keep in mind this is only money for food. If I buy non-food things at the store it doesn't mean I have less money to spend on food. We actually don't have a budget for things like toilet paper, toiletries, etc because those aren't really areas that need managing or where we are tempted to spend lots of money. We just buy what we NEED when we need it.  I don't buy a lot of make up and I don't buy expensive shampoos (I actually don't even use shampoo!) or hair products.

(Tristan's comment: We actually do have a 'master' budget for everything--it's just that some areas require managing while others don't. These are judgmental decisions that we make based on evaluating ourselves and our habits. We don't really go to movies, we don't spend much on books or music, and we don't buy stuff we don't need during random trips to Target, so we simply don't manage those areas. Historically, this has worked well for us--others might need to manage other areas more carefully if history has shown they spend more than they should.)

Also, we have $30.00 (total.. for both of us..not 30.00 each) to spend a week on eating out, a date night, or buying tea with a friend..etc.  Tristan is awesome and has no shame in bringing his sack lunch to restaurants when he goes out to eat with his friends at work....love that man! I did the same thing in nursing school.

So all in all when the week is said and done we are spending about $90.00 a week on food. May not seem like much to some people and may seem like tons to others and really it's probably close to 99% more than what most of the world spends on food.

We are blessed and just trying to be good stewards to so we can save, give, plan for the future and....have LOTS more babies!!! :)

I'll be back again to share more details of how we are making this all work!  If you have any questions or things you would like to see me talk about in a post just let me know in the comments!


kaye herbert said...

Thanks for the update! Yeah we spend about the same ($100/ week or $400/month) & even that is a challenge since we do mostly all organic & lots of fresh foods & gf things. it's a huge step for us though, since we used to buy whatever we wanted at the grocery store & spent 600+a month easily before. It has been humbling!

Martha Liner said...

Great post, Melissa! Thank you for sharing! Tim and I try to manage our grocery budget in a similar way. It is really difficult when you prefer to buy whole, unprocessed foods. Many times, I will go to the farmer's market because it can be cheaper than the grocery store. Do you guys eat mostly vegetarian? Let me know if you want to do a recipe swap! XO, Martha

Melissa Summers said...

Martha- We do eat mostly vegetarian, and a lot of times vegan meals as well. Which farmer's market do you go to? Do you go first thing on a Saturday morning?
I would LOVE to recipe swap!
Here is my fave vegan recipe right now: http://pinterest.com/pin/220957925438108855/

Knocked Up and Nursing said...

Wow. I must have forgotten how cheap it is to only feed three people! Our whole family has LOTS of food allergies (dairy, gluten, corn, cashews, pork...) and we eat only whole, real, unprocessed foods. I have a chronic illness that leaves me anemic and the best way my body extracts iron is from grass fed, local, organic beef (which can get expensive). We spend well over $250 each week at Wheatsville with meal planning and buying absolutely no extras. But that feeds our family of 6 (2 adults,3 kids, and one baby in the belly). Our main budget item is food. We plan around food. I believe food can be medicine and I want to give my family the best. Kudos to you guys for such a great budget!