Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The April Challenge~Trim The Food Budget

Because I like contests and challenges, I joined a Krystal's April challenge to trim one part of my budget. I choose my food budget. I decided to only spend $100 on my food for the month of April. My food budget in the past has included all alcohol purchases and animal food as well. This month, I'm tracking what food I buy. I have taken out of the budget things like cleaning supplies and animal food, because I really want to see how much I spend on food for me alone. One reason I picked this category is that I stress shop. I get stressed and I shop, then I cook and eat way more than my fair share of food or I toss it because it goes bad.

I live alone, I occasionally have folks over for dinner, I do participate in the odd pot luck meal and will contribute to that. I usually pack my own lunch for work (only one meal out of three weeks in March was a purchased meal). I should not be spending $200 in food for me.

Here is the breakdown of my first April Grocery Shop

Dried Cranberries $1.39
Bamboo Shoots: .69c
Spaghetti Os .59c
Diced Tomatoes 3 cans $1.35
Beef broth 2 cans .78c
Re fried Beans .59c
Oyster Crackers .69c
Crinkle Cut Potatoes $1.39
Cream Cheese .99c
Eggs $1.59
Sharp Cheddar $1.79
Jar of Salsa $1.49
Butter $1.79
Total: 15.12

Stop and Shop

Can of Baked Beans (B&M) $1.67
Corn Meal $1.99
Carrots 2 lb $1.79
Canned Crushed Tomatoes :$1.34
White Vinegar $1.19
Imported Crushed tomatoes: $1.00
2 boxes of Mac/Cheese $1.00
Can of Baby Corn :56c
Green Cabbage: .82c
Garlic: .27c
Olive Bar :$2.45

Total Spent: $29.86

To be purchased at Costco this weekend: Lettuce or Spinach, Seltzer Water, maybe cold cereal
To be purchased at the ethnic market: onions, potatoes, fruit, peppers, celery, parsley and fresh tomatoes. I like to shop at the Ethnic Market when I am able to go to it. I can buy just what I need and not have to buy 5 lbs of potatoes when I only need two.

Part of my purchases was geared to pantry restocking (cornmeal, white vinegar, canned tomatoes, emergency mac and cheese, butter). I took a good hard look at my food cupboard and freezer over the weekend. I still have a whole chicken that I can turn into soup or roast. I have a pork loin roast (that is currently marinating in honey and chipolata sauce), I have two packs of Hebrew National Beef Hot dogs, a couple containers of soup and chicken stock, bacon and a variety of frozen veg. I have an assortment of dried beans, some grains, whole wheat and AP flour, pasta, rice~ I'm in pretty good shape. I'm test marketing some of the Aldi products. A couple Aldi products I've used haven't thrilled me, so before I stock my pantry with things I don't like, I'm test buying a couple at a time.

What I need to do is a pantry clean out. I need to plan my meals from my pantry. Tonight will be the pork loin done in the oven or on the grill (but I think I need more propane, I have to check the tank), frozen veg and a baked potato. I'm going to thaw the chicken and debate soup or roast-probably a roast, I can turn the bones into stock and use the leftover meat for sandwiches. I made a pretty good batch of chili soup from 365 days of Crockpotting over the weekend. I had all the ingredients, except for the re fried beans and was able to grab a can in the dented can section for 67c. I've got plans for home made pizza (and I'll make the dough in my bread maker) and a pasta dish or two. I like to make things that I can take to work as a lunchover. I don't like having things sit in my fridge or freezer for days on end.

I need to be more creative and cook with what I have in the cupboard and not feel this compulsion to go to the store every day after work. What ends up happening is I buy what I need, then a little extra. This has to stop.

Meals planned for this week are

Pork Loin w sweet spicy sauce, beef curry and rice, baked rice and vegetables, roasted herb chicken, pasta with assorted sauces. All this made from what is currently in my cupboard and in my fridge. I can do this.

Wish me luck.... :)


Shuchong said...

Good luck! Also, your list of meals for the week sounds delicious:)

spillingbuckets said...

Good Luck!

I'm in the challenge too, I totally know what you mean about needing to plan based on your pantry.

And you have Hebrew National Hotdogs! I love them, but most people I know think they "don't taste like real hotdogs should"