March Challenge: Sticking to a Food Budget

by Nicole on March 7, 2014

Friday! I think I start every Friday post like that, but who doesn’t love Friday?

One of the focuses on this blog is food. At the start of the year I was psyched to give some new recipes a try weekly and shake things up…and I did. But then I realized, I was shaking things up so much that I was spending an insane amount at the food store. I mean, maybe not insane, considering we don’t eat out (basically ever…) but it was a lot.

Food budgets can be a sticky topic to write about, but I’ll say that this is what works for us. We spend a lot of money on food we buy, BUT we eat out MAYBE once every two months…if that. We budget $200 a week for food and if we spend less, than that’s great. I was spending around $175 pretty consistently for awhile, but since the new year came it’s been somewhere between $200-210 bucks. Just too much.

Two weeks ago, I spent over 200 at the food store, which results in us having a lot of leftover food. So last week, I didn’t need to spend as much AND I knew we were going out to dinner for a friends birthday. I decided to see if I could just spend $100, that way when we went out to dinner we wouldn’t be over our weekly budget. I wrote down exactly what we needed and approximated the cost so I had an idea. Funny enough I spend $100.08!

This brought upon my own challenge to spend $150 or less at the food store in March. That would give is a savings of $50 a week and $200 for the month to go to credit cards. I compiled a food list and again approximated. I’ve been adding and crossing things off to make it work for our budget.

I shop at Trader Joe’s and I buy a lot of organic products, but I feel like I can still hit my target without compromising too much (Some things that I ALWAYS buy organic: milk, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, chicken, eggs). My biggest issue is that I’ll just mindlessly throw produce in my cart and it adds up. I also have been known to buy two jars of almond butter at $7 a pop. Now I’m being more mindful.


tuna/egg salad over greens


soup made from fresh chicken stock


roasted chicken, asparagus & salad

Some meals I’m cooking to still eat well and save:

  • Make a whole (organic) chicken, eat more than once AND make soup out of it.
  • Breakfast for dinner (eggs & bacon/waffles/pancakes/quiche)
  • Meatless meals
  • Tuna or egg salad for lunch
  • Taco night with lots of veggies to bulk it up

I’ll be sure to share more ideas as I go forward in this March Challenge.

How much do you spend on food? Do you strictly stick to a budget? Any tips?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly March 7, 2014 at 1:29 pm

We try to spend about $200 a week as well. Sometimes we spend more and sometimes less. But like you we don’t eat out very often (much less now that we have Trey). We usually order in about 2 times a month. We also don’t waste a lot of food. So while some people think my monthly grocery budget is really high we eat everything we buy and I think if people added in what they spend going out to eat it would be comparable to what we already spend.


Laura @FitMamaLove March 8, 2014 at 3:20 am

I really need to get better with our food budget. I don’t really do any planning, so that probably has something to do with it, but I just feel like our food spending is crazy. We don’t end up wasting a lot, though, so I’m not sure I’m really going overboard. I think I just need to pay better attention.


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