Snackuary 2022: January Food Budget Challenge

It’s the first monthly budget challenge of 2022!

This month we’re working on food costs, for the third annual Snackuary.

If thinking/talking about food isn’t a good fit for you right now, please check out our 22 in 2022 challenges and skip this month’s challenge.

If seeing food content isn’t good for you - You can click at the bottom to mute this thread you don’t see this category in the “latest posts”!

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A note about content warnings

PLEASE put a spoiler over any content that mentions intentional weight loss or dieting for weight loss. And - please no negative commentary on other peoples’ bodies or food choices, that stuff never feels good! You can spoiler your comments using “hide details” under the little wheel. If you can’t figure out how to spoiler, just “flag” your own post and a mod can help you spoiler it.

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Snackuary will run from January 1 to January 31.

The goal is to understand your food costs better. Many of us have a complicated relationship with food, and at the end of a day, it isn’t an expense we can make go away entirely because it’s fuel! For many households, it’s the 2nd highest expense in their overall budget (after housing).

I found that my food costs have gone up a lot in 2021 due to supply chain issues and inflation. Maybe it’s the same for you?

Your Snackuary goal could be as strict as a no-takeout-all-month ban or as simple as a goal as “track my food expenses this month”. Or making coffee at home or simply tracking what parts of your food budget went up since Snackuary last year.

Maybe your goal is to cook more - batch cook each week or bring a packed lunch to work (if you are going into work these days). Perhaps you want to focus on reducing food waste! Or maybe you want to set a cash weekly budget for groceries and not go over it. Maybe you just want to track your food costs for once.

Whatever it is, make sure the goal is generally aimed towards understanding your food costs better.

Snackuary will have a special forum badge and even a STICKER for people that complete the whole month, that will (probably) be cat themed.

Basic rules:

  1. You must establish your own rules about how you are going to lower or track your food costs this month. State them in the first few days of the month to get us kicked off in the right direction.
  2. Each weekend you will report how you did on your challenge for the week on this thread . You can report on where you’re at, and what your biggest challenge and victories of the week were. Then, you’ll put your predictions/goals down for the week ahead.
  3. If you want, build in a celebration meal (fancy cheese or a dinner out- covid-safe of course ) at the end of the month. It’s nice to have a reward!

Who This Challenge is For

Anyone who wants a little public accountability and discussion about reducing food costs. If you liked any of our previous challenges and want to keep it going, here we are!

This challenge pairs very well with Dry January and Uber Frugal January and maybe veganuary anyone?

What do you get out of participating?

  • Lower food costs ideally!
  • Lower environmental footprint than dining out and/or wasting food.
  • (maybe) healthier food choices
  • A community to support you as you resist getting takeaway for the 4th time this week
  • A CUTE forum badge for participating in the weekly check-ins
  • And if you do all 4 week check-ins, you get a STICKER mailed to you.


If you’re in to participate (or on the fence and need encouragement), comment below with your goals for Snackuary.


I am in because holy kittens I need to get back into meal prep again.


I’m in to track what I spend on food. I also need to use up some of the many bulk purchases I’ve made and haven’t eaten. I live alone. This means I tend to live on peanut butter sandwiches. I have food in the house, just need to start cooking it.


I am in! This year’s goals:

  • Track all food spending and break it down by category (produce, meats, prepared food, tea/coffee, egg/dairy, takeout/restaurant, etc). I’ve never broken it down that granularly and am curious.
  • Cook at least one new recipe this month.

I’m here to try and hit our food spending goal. Last month I was under our budget of $600 and the average for 2021 was $631. But, inflation is real and things are getting more expensive so I’m hoping to stay under $600 per month for a family with 2 adult athletes* and 2 toddlers. Ideally the “normal” groceries for the month are low enough that at the end of the month I can go to the fancy fish market and but good quality fish with what’s left.

*hopefully this child starts to sleep through the night and then I can devote energy toward working out again. In the meantime continuing to breast feed means I need more calories as well.


I have learned I like cooking for others, but are reluctant to cook just for myself (WHY???)


Not sure of any goals yet - maybe tracking protein?

Spoiler re: my current eating strategy


I have been doing intermittent fasting, and might have better results by increasing my protein consumption (and other adjustments). I started IF to break a habit of snacking, especially at night which tended to impact my sleep.

1/6/22 —- Work to date:
Start tracking my protein consumption
Look up protein (grams) guidelines
Look up protein source and content information
Need to:
Make grocery list
Make food / meal plan
Formalize tracking (in Notes right now) (protein and success metric)
Recipe searches


I’m in. Two related goals: weekly meal plans (with more batch cooking) and no fast food. Coffee shops okay, because no point in punishing myself.


I should probably do this. Though I am unsure of what goal to set because I am currently balancing eat-down-stash-in-prep-for-moving vs. it’s-winter-and-covid-is-really-bad-so-I-want-to-minimize-shopping-trips. So I’m unsure how to put a dollar limit on this.

Some vague ideas:

  • Cancel Imperfect Foods! I cannot continue to pay their outrageous prices. I know that prices are up everywhere, but their increases are obscene - like more than Whole Foods.
  • learn to like grocery store coffee and tea again. NO buying fancier coffee and tea online. I just got a tea order that should keep me going for a few weeks at least so I don’t have to cold-turkey it. I drink a LOT of tea when it is cold and this has been a budget killer since I’ve been going for the fancy pricey stuff during the pandemic.
  • use up as much of my homecanned goods as possible as I’d rather not pack them but also do not want to toss homegrown tomatoes that I worked hard to grow! This is largely jam, salsa, and tomatoes. I can plan more tomato-based recipes so that the garden harvest doesn’t go to waste. Also, cherry pie filling, OH DARN I will have to make cherry pies.
  • takeout once a week only.
  • avoid getting groceries delivered unless ABSOLUTELY necessary. If we have covid - proven or suspected - or we get a long stretch of bad weather, or sidewalks are truly and completely impassable with a cart, then OK. Otherwise we walk our asses to the store.

I’m in. Not sure what I want to focus on yet but I have a few ideas.

  • Figure out my monthly food costs per category as food has gotten $$$ and my grocerie costs have somehow doubled since 2018 :expressionless:
  • Track protein intake for at least a full week as I do sports A LOT and eat mostly vegetarian so I tend to eat on the lower end of my body’s protein needs.

I’m already pretty good with home-cooking, keeping food waste to a minimum and doing semi-batch cooking (I’m 1 person and most meals are easier to cook in a 2-3 serving version).


I’m in for this, just went through my 2021 Mint categories and my groceries and restaurant spending got pretty out of control. For this challenge I just want to get good at intentional tracking so I have all the data, including:

  • track all of the money I spend on food, broken out into general categories
  • track any food waste
  • track the number of days I default to my “lazy meals” that never leave me feeling good but are sometimes all I have energy for (microwave quesadillas anyone? Is that just me?)

I am so bad at this challenge every time it happens. But I’m going to track my food spending.

I want to see how much I spend on meat, non-meat animal products, plant products, and like… Bread and pasta and stuff.


I’m in. In fact, I’ve already done my first grocery shopping of 2022. I bought fancy olives, and they are delicious.


I’m in. I need to focus on using some things up that I’ve been saving in the pantry for much too long.


In, and the plan is to be more granular about food tracking this month and see what my food breakdown actually looks like. Currently I lump grocery and restaurant spending into a general ‘food’ bucket along with any odds and ends that happen to get bought at the grocery store, and my target has been ~$300 which I’m okay with, so this is mostly for curiosity’s sake.

Current planned categories, although these may shift a little once I’m actually leaving the house and going shopping after post-holiday isolation (which also means they might be a little low this month since I’ll be eating down the pantry/freezer for some of it, but it could still be interesting):

  • Restaurant/take out
  • Produce
  • Meat/Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Base ingredients (flour/oats/cornmeal/sugar/etc.)
  • Other food (may get broken down further)
  • Alcohol
  • Non food

I’m in! We need to get into meal planning, my picky eater kid does much better when there’s a full week of planned meals for me to point to. I dislike meal planning at such a granular level, but he needs it.

Also, I want to see how much grocery spending I can move away from the “big 2” supermarkets here (Coles and Woolworths), and try out some different stores delivery and pickup options.


I want to eat everything that is currently in my freezer, and inventory my pantry items so we can work on eating them.

I’m not at my house yet so I don’t remember what’s in the freezer, other than some very old veggie burgers and a not very good empanada. But we got very close to freezer zero before Christmas so hopefully this won’t be that painful or weird.


I would like eventually to get into a regular habit of meal planning for the week on Thursdays, so we know what we need to buy at the grocery store on the weekend.

But that seems like an incredibly daunting task for January, or for 2022 for that matter. What’s a small step we can take toward that?


Shopping with a list?
Meal planning for one meal each day?
Meal planning for 1/2 the week?


Pick 3 meals for the next week?