This end of the month, am happy to report I am cooking more than I used to. And thus reducing the amount of easy food I am eating, and the wastage on veggies, etc. Which is great. The kitchen is still a mess because I have been pulling all the old family stuff of half-a-century of doo-dads and gadgets out of the drawers, but I do have faith I will get there.
The big problem is still power sockets, or rather, the lack of them. And the rice cooker has a foolishly short lead, so am hoping the new landlord, when he does the kitchen, will be willing to put some more kitchen-rated plugs in everywhere. Fingers crossed.
Spending-wise I have bought some specialised ingredients this end of the month as well, so it’s been more costly than usual, but am still going to wait until I have proved to myself that I can get a more steady and regular cooking practice going again, before I get things like the cook book I want, and the tofu press. Youtube will be fine for now. Making it fun will, will hopefully make it happen. And the results speak for themselves. Also: I am stopping fresh veggies and other foods going to waste, and eating better, still for mostly free, so that’s great!
I plan to continue beyond this month. No reason not too. Eating better, and getting more on top of all things in the kitchen has been excellent for morale. So thank you Snackuary for the encouragement to focus on it. Appreciated!
Goal 1 seems to be worked out, though he’s been going in on the day he doesn’t have to because mumble mumble lab equipment time. But I’ve made sufficient on Sunday nights for the three days we’re both on campus. This week it’s groundnut stew from the Moosewood cookbook (more or less, many adjustments, but that was my inspiration).
Grocery spend $315.56
Eating out: $145.85
For a total of $545.56, which is frankly ridiculous. Or would have been eighteen months ago, at any rate. Don’t like. Now I have to decide if I want to do anything about it or if I want to call it “inflation” and not.
Edit: oh, yeah, I promised to compare to food tracking in Budgetober at the end. October groceries were $331.20; eating out was $181.87, total $513.07. Pretty close, with actually less eating out, I think.
I’m either going to have to make some significant changes in what I buy or accept a grocery bill over $300, I think. There are some changes we could make, but the big tradeoff is time doing more cooking. And there’s not really anything I can do about dog and cat food prices (included in our groceries, about $80 a month). Think I’m going to live with it and hope chicken prices, at least, start coming down as the flocks recover from the avian flu event.
On the eating out. I don’t know; it’s socializing. I think maybe leave it alone.
Did pretty well at eating down the freezer, just some frozen fruit for smoothies and a couple other things left. I was planning on turning fridge/freezer off while away for three weeks (part of the reason to eat down) but might just leave it on as there are a couple things left that I don’t really want to throw out. Undecided.
Meal planning has been going ok, although could do with a little improvement still. Intending to continue with this and also possibly start tracking grocery spending over the next couple months just to check we haven’t blown out too much (even with increased grocery costs due to inflation etc).
Two grocery trips this week, or technically probably a grocery trip and a half since I remembered that I forgot the main ingredient I was supposed to get when I was halfway home and went back and grabbed it. Also $13 for trivia food.
Groceries (+non-grocery stuff that I buy at the grocery store and lump in for lack of a better place to put it):
$27.52–2 bags scratch-and-dent apples, heavy cream, 1lb broccoli, 3lbs onions, q-tips, 4-pack of boxed tissues, new toothbrush
$7.24–Gruyere, which was the main ingredient (aside from the onions) that I was missing for onion tart lunches this week. It’s about 3x the amount I need but the smallest block available, so I’ll stick the remainder in the freezer for use in the future
I went to the supermarket for a “quick trip” and spent like $85. That will close out the month and puts me at $1243.
We don’t always spend that much and my goal was to watch prices, so I am calling this month a success! I learned more about what our food costs and where the $1243 actually goes.
I almost never go to the supermarket- I am the Sprouts/Costco/Target shopper- but the Boy is out of town caring for his mother and I needed a few things to stretch us out until our trip on Friday. Like frozen pizzas!
I found chicken there for $3.29/lb, which is less than I have paid at Sprouts in several months. So now I know you can get cheap chicken at the supermarket if you aren’t insisting on cage free!
The other thing is I tried to set us up for success when we get BACK from our trip by having some easy nutritious meals on hand in case we don’t get the store- jarred pasta sauce, shells so we can have chicken pesto pasta, and extra salsa so I can make chicken taco bowls in the crockpot.
Reminder! It’s time for BADGES and stickers! Wrap up your final findings from Snackuary and you’ll get a badge this week! If you don’t get a badge by the end of the day today (Tuesday, Jan 31), then bat signal @anomalily
3 containers of coconut mung/lentil soups for lunches (2 cups each)
1 two-cup cheesy soup, 1 one-cup cheesy soup, 1 corn two-cup corn chowder
2 one-cup butter chicken sauce
2 one-cups of cooked onions
2 one-cup yogurt starters
1 one-cup cheesy white beans, 1 one-cup roasted pork, 1 one-cup beef curry, 1 cup coconut milk
2.5 cups chopped raw red onion
raw carrot (whole and shredded)
chopped raw tomato
I put some things into the freezer - top of mind it was pinto beans, tomato ginger chutney, shredded bbq pork (granted it was already there as a 1kg pork shoulder), cooked salsa, asparagus, roasted peppers - but still probably more out than in?
The bags of roasted peppers and roast tomatoes are a bit excessive, and I also want to use some more of the proteins soon. Last week’s score on the frankensausage meant the plan for the duck breast was shifted yet again… So mixed grade. Definitely more to work on next month.
did a meal plan every week and placed grocery orders based on that. this was really helpful and even if I didn’t stick to the meal (spoiler: I never stuck to the plan) it was good to know I had the ingredients for 2-3 meals on hand at any time.
Ordered delivery food 5 times, which was almost on the goal. I want to try to call and get take out instead to save on delivery costs, but the reason I usually order delivery is because I’m feeling poorly and can’t cook, let alone get out of the house to pick up food.
spent 80 bucks on drive thru/coffee/treats and I’m not sure how I feel about that number! I know I get coffee out a lot but it’s also sometimes my only motivation to leave the house, especially in winter, so it’s kind of a mental health thing too.
overall, spending was pretty on par with what i was spending last year and I will definitely try to keep meal planning
$233.79 total (not counting food I bought for donation purposes). I can see places where I should be able to reduce that for next month, but overall I mostly felt good about most of my choices this month!
Final check: success all around! I still spent more money than I was hoping to this month, but I’m really encouraged by how well behavior/habit-based goals worked (instead of just trying to magically hit an arbitrary money target). So I think I’ll have a good template for trying to drive my spending down more.
Final check in:
We didnt record food nearly as well as I intended but we have been getting better about cooking actual meals again! I am edging towards us meal planning as a team and teaching Duckling more cooking. Joined the year long group because I want to work through some of the tricky things I’ve identified, and make sure I add our regular meals to our family cooking folders!
I did get a chai this week, but I’m counting it as socializing because it was with my friend who needed a walk, a pep talk, and a snack in order to not lose her mind with our work.
I feel better not eating work snacks which are often pastries and greasy breakfast sandwiches. By focusing on making sure that I have food to eat at work it also makes me eat at work, so I am less of a hangry monster all the time.
I’m pleased with our grocery spending this month which was under my $600 budget, but I was being mindfully frugal because of this challenge. I like that and would like to keep it up in the other groceries thread. I’m also pleased that we did not spend more on junk food than produce.
I have been cooking much more often
I have worked out a new layout for the kitchen, which I am continuing to work on
As part of that process, I have cleared a lot of old family things out of the kitchen
I now have some nice spices and interesting ingredients
Am still not cooking from scratch as often as I’d like, but I am absolutely eating better than I was at the start of January. I will take that as a win…