Tomorrow marks the end of the first month! We feel that we did decent for our first attempt at this new system. We will have to admit, this takes A LOT of dedication if you want to stick with it. For the first month we are mainly covering how everything went as far as food budget. We will start from the begging and move on from there, each topic will have its own heading as we go along…
As stated in our first blog post we went shopping and purchased $186.37 worth of groceries for the month. What we failed to mention was the prep that it takes once you get home (or at least for us). To recap our meals that we selected are:
- Chicken Breast with Rice and Broccoli
- Chicken Wings (Buffalo Sauce) & Chicken Strips
- Pork Loin with Rice and Broccoli
The plan was to divide everything up, place meats and other items in freezer bags, and freeze. Each week we would take out the necessary items and let them thaw out. As a quick side note, all items were purchased on Sunday. When we got home, we played the lazy game and just shoved everything in the fridge. This will be our first Side Note that we are jotting down. If you have the time…..DO THE PREP WORK WHEN YOU ARE FREE! Because we decided to take a lazy day on Sunday it came down to prepping a months worth of food each night after work while trying to cook dinner. This made the first few nights significantly more stressful than they needed to be. However, once we had everything frozen and ready to go, the process wasn’t to bad. We originally started off by taking out the weeks worth of food and letting it thaw the Sunday night before. We eventually changed this to taking out Monday-Wednesday on Sunday night and then Thursday-Sunday on Wednesday night. This allowed the meat to stay fresh through the entire week. Otherwise it started looking questionable towards the end of the week.
As far as packing lunches each day, this went very well for MOST of the month. I will admit that towards the end of this month I slipped a couple of days and ended up buying lunch while at work. Mrs. Shy seemed to do very well this month on her lunches. The only “difficulty” with making lunch each day is deciding when to make it. Which for us, came down to the night before a majority of the time. Once again, there will be nights where you get lazy and think “I will just do it in the morning”. However, when its early morning and you are rushing to get to work, the last thing you need is to take time and make your lunch for the day. Just like above, it adds stress to your day that just didn’t need to be there in the first place. We did however realize that the math on the amount of lunch products was off. Within the first couple of weeks we burned through all of the bread we had purchased as well as lunch meats. Naturally, this added to the over all cost of our grocery budget at the end of the month.
Don’t hesitate to treat yourself. When you switch, and go every single night attempting to eat similar foods that fit the budget (and diet for us) it starts to get to you. Towards the end of the second week we noticed our tone and motivation was slowing down quickly. We started having conversations such as :
Mrs. Shy — “Ok, so Chicken tonight with Rice?”
Mr. Shy — ….”oh…ok…yay…again”
We sat down and talked it out and decided to take two nights each month and go out. We are deeming these nights as “date nights” and set a max budget of $50 a night. We figured in the long run, spending an extra $100 a month to help us stay sane and keep on track with out budget, it is well worth it.
One of the last major things we learned this month regarding our food budget was “extra costs”. Non edible items would fit into this category very well. One thing we failed to really take in consideration was the amount of zip lock bags, paper towels, dish soap, etc. As we are now making all of our dinners, we wash dishes very often. The same principle applies to the zip lock freezer bags. Originally we would use (maybe) a few freezer bags every couple months. However, now we are using a extremely large amount to divide meats and freeze them. These costs were not in our original budget and after this month we have taken note. We plan on keeping track of how much of each item we use this next month. At the end we will be adding that total cost to our over all food budget.