Category Archives: Numbers

August Food Budget – Considering The Plateau

plateau

Bears a resemblance to the stock market these days, no?

It’s time for the latest installment of my yearlong quest to track and trim my food budget. For those of you short on time, let me just say that if you remember my numbers from last month, they were very similar in August. Shockingly similar, in fact. I think we’ve possibly hit what I’m calling The Plateau. It’s not a bad place to hang out, this new baseline, but it is a bit short of the lofty goals I initially set out for myself, so there is work to be done.

There are some changes coming starting next month that will take a little pressure off our overall budgets (more on that in another post), so vigilance against lifestyle creep is more important than ever. Keeping this budget low was never about penny-pinching and always about exploring how to actually cook and love the food I eat, which just so happens to cost less than it does to be lazy on food consumption anyway. It’s no coincidence that the months our costs were lowest are also the months where I felt I invested the most time/energy in cooking. As time becomes scarcer, I need to remind myself why I continue to work on this – because it’s fun, not to mention the fact that it helps pave the way to financial independence.

Anyway – onto the numbers.

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May/June/July Food Budget – Time for a Reckonin’

kiwifruit

Kiwis – must be the season, because we’ve been getting a lot of them delivered to us lately

Sitting down to write this post has been a little daunting. After posting my April budget in early May and falling behind in my reporting here, it’s just felt like a lot of data to share. Even though, as I mentioned in my last post, I did collect my May/June data in early July, I never quite got around to sharing it here. The very same thing nearly happened today. However, it’s time to reckon with what’s been happening.

Unlike past months, I will not be able to state that I’ve continued to aggressively cut costs as the summer has unfolded (this may also have played a subconscious role in being in no hurry to put this post together). Food costs have definitely risen. Overall though, I’m still pretty pleased that even with less intention, our numbers routinely came in under our 2014 averages – over the span we beat it by about 8%. If that’s the new baseline, then great. I didn’t even shop at my wholesaler since March – March! I’m paying for a membership there. That needs to be rectified.

Ok, let’s dive into the numbers – now featuring a spiffy new chart.

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April Food Budget – Holding the Pace

bulk-foodAnother month, another measured look at whether we were able to keep up with our progressively lower food cost goals.

From February to March we excitingly saw a 13% dip in total food expenditure (which translated to a 20% dip in cost per meal, given the shortage of days in February). That coming on the heels of February, the first month of our food challenge, already representing a 22% drop compared to our 2014 averages. This was a pretty fantastic start, but I predicted last month that we would not be able to see such a substantial reduction again. I would have loved to prove myself wrong though.

Rather than keep you in suspense, I’ll come clean that we did not reduce our spending by another 20% – in fact, spending went up. But I’m still happy with the month and we remain right on the pace I was hoping for.

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March Food Budget – Still on Track?

Photo via Miroslav Vajdić

I’ve been on a bit of a blog haitus for the past few weeks, so I thought I’d ease myself back into things with a numbers post. Halfway through the month of April, it’s time to look back and see if I’ve been keeping up with my goals of reining in our food budget.

As I spelled out back in early February, I’d set $10 per person per day as a reasonable ceiling for a food budget. It’s a lot more than experienced frugal eaters spend, but it felt like a reasonable benchmark to start with, and then improve upon. For the month of February, excitingly, we hit the mark, reducing our food budget by about 22% compared to our 2014 averages in the process.

Now, let’s see about March.

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