We decided to really tighten down our finances so that we can increase our savings and release some debt, so I decided to make a challenge for myself...
For the next few months, our food budget for my FAMILY OF SIX will be $500/month (or as close to that as possible)!
I am nervous about this!! We normally spend A LOT more than this, so I honestly don't know if I can do it. I have a few things going for me though:
- Our pantry is well stocked with many things including bulk grains and beans, which we will be using a lot of
- We have a lot of meat in our freezer which I will use - I am guessing we have a month or two worth
Since my son has many food allergies and the rest of us have intolerances (I use diet as the primary means to managing my autoimmune symptoms and IBS), our diet is gluten free (and mostly dairy, soy, corn, sugar, food additives, and nut free). This automatically increases the food budget but I am going to try my best to keep it to $500 or very close to it. After September, I will reevaluate and see if $500/month is reasonable or if I need to increase my budget a little.
Here is my game plan:
- USE WHAT WE HAVE: I am going to really try to plan and prepare meals based on what we already have in the pantry and freezer. If I don't need to buy anything extra, I won't. Usually I stock up when I see sales, but I am probably going to have to avoid stockpiling in order to stay around $500.
- EAT MORE RICE AND BEANS: No really, haha! They are a very inexpensive source of protein. We will also eat lots of eggs I'm guessing, as those are a great inexpensive source of protein too. One of our favorite ways to eat rice and beans is to make it into a taco salad with fried eggs on top. Since I have a girly that is allergic to eggs, we just omit that part for her.
- SHOP THE SALES: I am always aware of prices and make sure I'm buying things that are good prices, but I don't always shop sales intentionally. I am going to be more intentional about finding good prices, especially on produce. I may even try out Bountiful Baskets which saves a lot of money on produce.
- BUY IN BULK: Costco can be a dangerous place but it is also a place that has really great deals. I will have to be careful (I can easily rack up $400 in a single trip!) but if I am smart, I can use Costco to my advantage.
- MEAL PLAN: Unfortunately, meal planning (and especially STICKING to the meal plan) is NOT my strong suit! But I know this will be the key to staying on budget. I am planning to really stick to a strict meal plan in order to get us through each month on budget. To save me time, I am also going to try to do some prep days and then also cook in bulk to have leftovers for lunches.
- AVOID ANYTHING IN A BOX: This is going to be a time where convenience foods will have to go by the wayside! I don't buy a lot of boxed foods (allergy free/organic boxed foods are much more pricey!) but I will have to be even more conscientious. We do have our favorite treats that we buy :) I am planning to make a lot more homemade snacks like muffins and maybe crackers.
- NO EATING OUT: This is something we really enjoy! It will be hard not to eat out but it will save sooooo much money!
- TRACK MY SPENDING: I am not sure exactly which method I'll use for this, but I will be making notes of how much I'm spending so that I am staying on Target. I will have approximately $125/week.
- ORGANIC: I am going to try to buy as organic as possible because that is important to us. We will see how that goes!
**TOILET PAPER/TOILETRIES: I do not include things like toilet paper, toiletries, diapers, etc. in my food budget because to me FOOD BUDGET means FOOD. I am pretty well stocked up on those items anyways, but I am not including purchases like that in this challenge.
I am actually really excited (and albeit, a little nervous) for this! It will be a big challenge but I am excited for the lessons it'll teach me and for the money that we can save!
Do you have any advice for me?? Is keeping a reasonable food budget a strength or a weakness for you?
Is this something you need to work on too? If so, join me! Tailor it to your needs, taking into account dietary restrictions, cost of living, and family size. Let me know what you're up to by using the hashtag #cleanseyourlifechallenge on Instagram and follow me here on the blog and on my INSTAGRAM to see how I'm doing.
Stay tuned for a FREE 30 Day Meal Plan and Shopping List to go along with this challenge!
Wish me luck!!
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