#MealsOnABudget – Post Number 1!

Synonymous with Stay-At-Home Mom is Single-Income-Family. I have always had a budget spreadsheet to ensure that the bills are paid and we are tucking a few dollars away each month but I’m beginning to realize that that document was originally created more out of interest than necessity. For now, I need to pay a little closer attention to the figures and I’ve challenged myself with a somewhat tight food budget for the month of March!

I think that groceries is the area of a family budget that can be spent the quickest but also where you have the most control and opportunity to save! I have set myself a $400 grocery budget for the month of March. I have divided this into $300 for meals and $100 for snacks. These amounts are to cover two adults and a very voracious one-year old! 🙂

I try to think of it this way:

$300/31 days in March = $9.68 a day

$9.68 a day/2 adults =$4.84 per day per adult

Let’s assume that the baby eats 1/4 what an adult does, so take 1/8 ($.61) off of each adult’s daily budget. That leaves $4.23 for each adult per day.

When I first saw this number I thought there was no way I could possibly stay on budget but things are going well! (And I’m still learning saving-tricks that I hope I can share with you. Keep reading! There’s one at the end of this post!)

For example, I was surprised to learn I can eat a decent breakfast for about $0.75:

Banana

$0.17

2 slices of multrigrain toast

$0.32

All Natural Peanut Butter

$0.05

Coffee (with milk!)

$0.18

TOTAL

$0.72

(And I’m still getting servings of whole grains, protein and fruit. I’m lacking in dairy, I know, but V and I have yogurt together for snack every day at 10am and that comes under a different budget!)

So, eliminating $0.75 (breakfast) from our daily individual budget of $4.23, we’re left with $3.48. Typically lunch is a lighter meal than supper but we’ll be generous to the mid-day dish and only take $0.25 from its budget to add to supper’s.

That means, each day…

LUNCH

$1.48

SUPPER

$2.00

Before we go any further I will acknowledge that the prices I’m using are in US dollars and that most of our followers are Canadian. I’ve been surprised that prices are rather similar here but to properly address this discrepancy, MelMar and I will be posting a comparative shopping list very soon!

 Let’s cost out a sample meal that I prepared for our family earlier this week. (And I’ll take this opportunity to stress that I am NOT a chef! I like to eat and try to eat as healthily as possible but I make no promises!) This supper was a peppercorn-lemon-dill chicken with creamy-dill mashed potatoes and green salad:

Image

Chicken (I split one breast between the two of us)

$0.66

One potato’s worth of mash

$0.17

Dollop of Plain Yogurt for creaminess

$0.05

Fresh dill (for potato and chicken)

$0.25

Fresh lemon on chicken

$0.05

Peppercorn on chicken (somewhat negligible)

$0.01

Lettuce

$0.33

Cucumber

$0.15

Tomato

$0.31

Red onion

$0.08

Orange pepper

$0.16

TOTAL

$2.22

BUT! That dish COULD have been $1.97 (ON BUDGET!) and that brings us to today’s lesson!

Today’s Lesson for Staying on Budget

PLANT AN HERB GARDEN!

By planting my own dillweed (which is super easy! It’s an actual weed so it’s insanely simple to cultivate! I feel like a bit of an idiot for not doing it before!) I could have saved $0.25 in this meal alone AND I wouldn’t have had to sacrifice on quality or my love of fresh herbs!

(Alternatively, find someone who has already planted an herb garden and ask for their extra dill! It grows so well that most people have more than they need or want!)

(FYI – Dillweed plants run for about $3.00 at WalMart.)

I hope this is helpful! Let me know if you have any tips or challenges for me and this #MealsOnABudget project! #MelHal

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10 thoughts on “#MealsOnABudget – Post Number 1!

      • Just one thing. Dont water them too much! I pretty much drowned mine first tome round. They should never sit in water. Its so nice working with fresh ingredients.

  1. I anxiously await that comparative shopping list! Food costs are something else these days. Yuckerdoodles, I say! People need to eat!

    I enjoyed this post and will be checking back for your next post. Fun topic!

    • Peady: Glad you liked it! It has been a very interesting endeavour and I wish I had more time to post what I am discovering! It really makes me aware of the mark-up we pay for people to serve us things too! For instance, a cup of coffee made at home (we use a NY brand of coffee that would be similar to Folgers) costs $0.14. Try finding a Tim Hortons or Starbucks that will serve you a coffee for anywhere near that! #MelHal

  2. You can do it!! Once you get into the habit of stocking up on items when they are on sale and meal planning around the flyers, it seems crazy not to do it. You get hooked, and there is no going back! 😉 I have a monthly budget of $350 for my family of 5 (including paper products/cleaning products/toiletries), but I don’t divide budgets for meals and snacks or price out particular meals.

    • $350?!? Wow! Maybe with a bit more practice I’ll get there! You’re so right about getting hooked! I used to get so excited about eating out. Now I’m just annoyed at getting gouged!!

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