For awhile I was posting about my weekly grocery shopping and keeping the running total for the month. I liked the tracking in some ways because it helped me to stay accountable but I didn’t like it in other ways because I often felt that I would buy or not buy something because of the tracking. And I discovered that I was going to the grocery store more often just so I would have something to post about which was messing up my budget not to mention the fact that I do not like going to the grocery store. So… I haven’t been sharing that lately.
But one thing I wanted to do with this blog was to show what a real family living in middle America spends while making the switch over to eating real, whole, nutrient dense foods after a lifetime of eating a Standard American Diet. Before we got serious about switching our meals I had read in various places that we would need to spend alot more on groceries. The truth is we didn’t have the disposable income to increase our grocery budget. But Joe and I were convinced that the food we were eating was making us sick (it really was) and that we were tired of always being sick (and tired). One way or another we were going to change out eating and keep our budget in line.
I want to share with you what we spend and what we eat. I do already post a menu plan most weeks. From my weekly menu plan’s it is pretty apparent that our meals are nothing extravagant. We try to have a couple of quite frugal meals each week which are usually legumes that are often cooked in nutrient rich bone broth. Definitely a budget helper. But what do we really spend each month?
I do have monthly grocery budget. For a few months we were blowing that budget out of the water. There was a reason, my daughter and her husband (6 foot 4 200+ pounds) moved in. And boy did that change our food amounts! They did pay a small amount in ‘rent’ which helped with the food and they bought a fair amount of their own food (we eat a little too weird for them) but it still increased our spending. Now they are no longer living with us so I think things are going to adjust back down and I’ll be able to stick with my budgeted food amount.
Before when I was posting my grocery results and tracking my budget, I was following a calendar month. I did it that way because it seemed like the right way to do it. But it wasn’t working out for me because our budget doesn’t line up with a calendar month. Joe is paid once a month on the 23rd (usually) of the month. So I base all of our bills, payments, etc on that calendar schedule. I’m going to be keeping track of our food budget each month starting on the 23rd of the month and running through the 22nd of the next month. My budget also fluctuates slightly each month just depending on the season or other things going on. Right now I have quite a few chickens also eating so some of our money is allocated to them. Since our income hasn’t increased (it’s a little lower in fact since I’m not doing as much bookkeeping now that tax season is over) we have to do some juggling.
For this month (May 23 to June 22) my food budget is $505. When I break it down it looks like this:
Cow share= $54 (I pay room and board for two shares in a cow which is 2 gallons of milk a week)
Beef CSA= $50 (10 pounds of grass fed beef each month)
Azure Standard= $224 (I’ve already ordered, this includes delivery fees and will be here on Monday)
Dining Out= $50 (We are really trying to limit this. We enjoy dining out at the time. But later or the next day… Let’s just say it is not pretty)
I do want to mention, that I am starting this month with quite a bit of stuff on hand. I’ll probably start with the tracking next week after my Azure order comes in. I’m excited about it. If everything comes that I ordered (which it doesn’t always) I’ll be getting some great things. If I get shorted on some items then I’ll pay less than my budgeted amount and will move that difference over to the grocery store budget. I hope that you will join me to see if I can stick with this budget for the month. I know from experience that the biggest challenge will be the Dining Out part with the grocery store being the second.
Real quick I want to tell you about a book I ordered the other day. It is Real Food on a Real Budget by Stephanie Langford. I wasn’t sure if I should order it, I thought it might be like all the other ‘save money’ books I’ve read but I have to say I am pleasantly surprised. I’ve only just started it (I ordered a digital copy) but so far it is great. Some stuff I already knew but some stuff I’d never thought of. And I love how she presents lots of different ideas. At the time I’m writing this the digital and paperback copies are both on discount. I’m not an affiliate or anything and receive no compensation if you order but I think it is a very good book and wanted to let you know about it.