2014 Average Spending: $1550 per month
2015 May & June Average Spending: $848
June 2014 Spending: $1428
June 2015 Spending: $798
Notes on the month: We had family in town for the last 5-6 days of June. I went shopping the day before and stocked up the house on what I knew my family would typically eat in a week and then a little more. We were very spoiled in the fact that we went out to eat a lot and 90% of the time did not pay the bill. In reflection, maybe we would have spent about $50 more, but I am pretty confident that it still would have been pretty close. I did hate having to throw some fresh produce away because it went unused and am trying to go through and freeze and use what I can this week not to waste it all 100%.
Two months into this Healthy Budget thing and I think we are getting a hang of it. The biggest component has really been the mindset and having a goal. Yet, probably even more important is reviewing our goal regularly and holding ourselves accountable. Our regular finance review happens monthly. I will admit when it comes to numbers I like to keep it short and sweet - this was our goal, this is what the numbers were, this is the comparison, are we on track, does anything need to change, done. My husband keeps it interesting with reminding us of the vision and discussing the fun and unique way of life we can create for ourselves. If the meeting goes too long, my eyes start to glaze over - money and an evening meeting are a double whammy challenge for this gal.
When I talk about our vision and goal with this healthy shopping budget challenge, I have had some questions along the line of - Don't you feel like you are missing out on things now or kind of a poor you look of misunderstanding. But to be honest, the best part of it all is that there is no feeling of deprivation. Our lives don't revolve around the food part. We are retraining and refocusing the brain to live in the moment and create a memory around the experience - not the food.
Don't get me wrong. I have had my moments. Many of you know I am a lifelong sugar aholic and I am constantly working on it. I have realized over the past two months how much sugar actually plays a roll in my mood which then surprisingly effects spending habits very easily. I am presently living in the solid example of this. Coming off a week of visitors and eating out a lot and having food in house that normally is not there and way too much drinking has resulted in a challenging couple of days getting back on track. I am reaching for more food than I normally would and scavenging through the cabinets to see what treats are left or still hidden in the back of the baking shelf from Easter. Writing this recap and entry is actually really helping get the mind back on track and refocused.
So where do we go from here?
This month, my goal is to share some meal breakdowns I spoke about in the last blog. I will share with you the healthy meals we discovered and what they actually cost per person and for a family of four. Most often, they will not take more than 30 minutes to put together because as I have called myself in the past the lazy chef which really means... I like simple, healthy, colorful and delicious but most important realistic for the average Joe to put together and enjoy. Some will be gluten free. Some will be vegan. Some will be paleo friendly. Some will be good old american (with a healthier or healthy portion controlled twist). It is all about balance and finding your healthy balance as a family.
For the next two months, I look forward to reporting to you how we survived a month of summer activities on a healthy budget and a month where 1 week of it is on a road trip and a week of vacation. All sticking with our healthy guidelines of clean eats!