In my last post I wrote about how our family had been spending excessively on food. Once I started talking with friends of mine, I realized that food is the space in many of our lives where we spend mindlessly. I also think there’s a lot of shame wrapped up in “wasting money” and “wasting food.” I like to use the term, “lack of mindful spending,” because it speaks to the behavior. I think when we say “wasting” therein lies judgement and I don’t think judgement is the best way to cultivate better spending habits.
I believe a HUGE part of living a vibrant life is cultivating discipline and mindfulness around money and in this case how money is used to buy foods that should be adding vibrancy to our lives.
I want to give you an update on how I did last week with my personal challenge to eat all of my meals inside the home, therefore saving money on food.
So, how did I do on my challenge?
I ate 95 % of my meals from home. (YES!) I did however buy a few items outside some to a spending a total of: $11.86
That money was spent on the following:
- 2 lara bars
- ice cream for our son
Even though I bought a few items, I feel REALLY good about myself. It was not that hard because I had a goal and it was an amazing exercise in observing my urges. Sometimes we spend just to spend. There are so many delicious things in the world that we want–I know I do, but I don’t need to have them all the time–or most of the time.
In looking at ways of bringing this number to zero, I am planning to make my own lara bars–something I did about a month ago and they were DELICIOUS! I also plan to make sure my 40 oz water bottle is always where I need it to be.
The ice cream was a treat for our son for saving money by walking with me to his summer camp from the train station, rather than spend $1.50 each way on the bus! I think we can and should celebrate our successes.
The $500 challenge
On Saturday, I talked with my husband about my week and how I had done with money spending on food. Even though we did not do the challenge as a family, I wanted to get an idea of how we did as a family if we had. We spend around $160.oo. If we had been on our challenge( which would be $1235.00 on food) we would have been over by $35.00, which for us is still a HUGE improvement.
So moving into this week, we as a family are challenging ourselves to spend only $500(which averages out to about $125 a week, $31.25 per person and about $4.50 per day for each) on food (that’s half of what we currently spend–yes, I said it–half!!!)
This $500 includes groceries, snacks and eating out.
To help support ourselves in meeting this goal, our plan is to:
- Prepare and eat 95% of our meals at and from home and take left overs to work for lunch.
- Keep a spending log
- Create a menu plan and shopping list based on the plan
- Explore different ways of shopping (i.e. not shopping at only one or two stores, mixing it up a bit)
- Eating primarily vegan/vegetarian meals (which we do already)
- Review spending at the end of the week
Since we are living with my in-laws and my mother-in-law cooks quite a bit, this should leave us with extra at the end of the month to either save or celebrate our accomplishment with (because I believe we should reward ourselves for hard work and getting a grip on finances and food is VERY hard work for many people). My husband and I would like to cook twice a week, so I am certain we will be able to save a ton of money.
Would you like to join me?
I don’t have all the answers about how to do this. I have some tools and am picking up on more as I go and would love to share them with you.
I will be checking in here each Monday to share my week, support you in hearing about your week, and answer any questions that I can.
Does it have to be limited to $500?
No. But I would challenge you to cut your spending by 1/4, then by half. What I find is that we spend much more than we need to on food. Depending on your family size (there’s four of us)and your location, your number may be different. The point is to make a significant goal and be up for the challenge. My family plans (and needs) to stick to $500.
I also plan to share some of our recipes and links to websites that have tons of resources on saving money and eating well.
Or, if you prefer to watch from the sidelines, you can just visit here each Monday to cheer us on!
For those who would like to join, I will be posting a button in the side bar shortly! Copy and paste the code below the image into your blog. Visit here each Monday to share how the week went for you. You can either discuss within the comments or leave a link to something you’ve written on your own blog.
Who’s with me?