I can’t believe it’s the last day of September–this month was really fantastic for me because I was able to meet my food budget and it wasn’t something that was completely unbearable to do. As I mentioned at the beginning of the month my goal was to eat for $10 a day–or $300 total. Having just ONE meal left in the month tonight, I can say I am UNDER budget by $18, which I will promptly spend on Pho and Spring Rolls.

What did I get out this? 

  • Bringing your lunch to work is key. Wouldn’t be possible unless you planned ahead with leftovers or set lunch items. Making my own hummus was fun, and economical! When the old sandwich and yogurt routine got boring, I planned out leftovers from my dinners the night before.
  • Bring a Shopping List With you…and Stick to It! When the bills ring up for $20-30, I started seeing that as ‘two days of food, three days of food’ and over time was able to stop myself from grabbing items that wouldn’t hold out for a longer shelf life. There are always things you forget, or need to restock (like olive oil) but when I grabbed those items, I thought about what I would be using it for, and how long it would last me. Olive Oil: in; Lay’s Barbecue Chips: replaced with carrots (ugg) which I could use as a snack or for a stock.
  • The freezer is your friend. That lasagna was amazing, but took 2 hours to make! Freezing a second one spread out my ingredients over more meals, and gave me a great dinner the week I didn’t feel like cooking. Plus, I still have leftover Chicken ‘n’ Dumplings to eat at a later date!
  • Split up the month. I started with a clean out week to rid my pantry of older items, then followed it with two weeks of family style meals that worked for 2-3 dinners plus lunch. It made the month a lot less daunting and easier to follow.
  • Don’t Forget to Treat Yourself. A while ago, I tried to save money by only eating out once a week for both lunch and dinner. I picked this up again—but also tried to keep these meals within the $5-8 (for lunch) and $15-18 ranges (for dinners). Keeping track of my food by day (on the right column of my blog) let me know when I was under budget and could allow myself a little more leeway on what to order

So that’s all–until my next project–hope it helped you plan your own meals a little more consciously 🙂