Tag Archives: Project Food Budget

Project Food Budget: Week 12!

Project Food Budget 2015

You guys, we made it!  We did this food budgeting and meal planning thing for 12 whole weeks! This is our last week of this project, with a final wrap-up post to follow next Tuesday.

Weekly Spending
This was one of my best weeks yet, with $120.84 spent at ALDI.  (My weekly budget is $150.) There was an additional $39.61 spent on laundry detergent, paper towels, deodorant, a new pair of headphones for The Boy, and a new phone charger for me. (Believe me, the last two items were just as necessary as the deodorant. For real.)

Meal Planning
It’s a typical week insofar as dinners go, with the exception of today when everyone in this house has an appointment of some kind, which will impact dinner. I’m at the podiatrist in the morning, The Husband has a meeting out in Greentree, and both kids go to the dentist in the afternoon.

SundayCrockPot Macaroni and Cheese, from Make It Fast, Cook It Slow, by Stephanie O’DeaNot our favorite recipe of hers because the texture of this is different than we prefer for mac and cheese, but it works when you need a quick crockpot dish. (This cooks in under 3 hours.)

Monday – Pasta with Cheesy Sauce (for The Husband and kids); I had homemade guacamole and chips.

Tuesday – Mega doctor appointment day. Dinner is going to be Something From the Crockpot. Probably soup and maybe cornbread.

Wednesday –  Taco Night or Burritos

Thursday – Chicken strips (veg for us), mashed potatoes, peas

Friday – Make Your Own Pizza Night

Let’s check out how the other Project Food Budgeters are doing as we come down the home stretch.

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Project: Food Budget: Week 11

Project Food Budget 2015

Hard to believe we are at the penultimate week of this project, huh? (I love the word penultimate.) It’s a cliche, but it’s crazy how fast a summer goes. We started this right around the time school let out in June and here we are with back-to-school time on our heels.

I’m starting to think about school lunches (I just bought new insulated lunch bags at Aldi over the weekend) and mentally preparing myself for what I know is going to be a battle with The Boy regarding taking his lunch more often. I’m trying to compromise with him (three days taking lunch, two days buying) but he’s stubborn and used to buying his lunch five days per week – plus, I’ve always looked at this as a way for him to experience some independence, which is so important for kids on the autism spectrum, as he is. At least, it has been for our boy.

This Week
This week at ALDI made up for the disastrous overspending that was my Week 9. To my surprise, I only spent $119 which is $31 under budget! My actual total was $160, but that included the usual things like toilet paper, etc. along with two backpacks for $6.99 each, the aforementioned insulated lunch bags at $2.99 each, and an ottoman ($12.99) to go with an old chair in our living/family room.

Menu Planning
We have one of those weeks where meal planning is somewhat challenging. One kid has a dentist appointment on Tuesday and then the other kid gets a tooth pulled on Thursday. Both appointments are late in the afternoon, so because I’m not sure how that’s going to impact dinner, I don’t really have much planned other than things I can wing at the last minute: pasta , soup in the crockpot …

Or, just maybe, ice cream for all of us.

People I’d like to share a penultimate Project Food Budget ice cream cone with:





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Project Food Budget: Week 10!

Project Food Budget 2015

I’m getting this week’s Project Food Budget post in under the wire. Not too much to report, so let’s just get to it.

This Week

So far, spending seems to be back on track – or, close enough to our $150 budget. I did our food shopping at ALDI and spent $159.97. A few splurges included almond flour ($7.99) and two cartons of the higher-end ice cream. I also bought chicken breasts and pork cutlets, which I don’t typically buy, but since the kids included both on their list of dinner possibilities that they would consider eating ….

Menu Plan

Sunday – The Girl and I treated ourselves to a nice dinner at Sienna on the Square before heading over to Heinz Field for the One Direction concert. I’ll have a review of both soon.

Monday – Not-Quite-Vegetarian Fried Rice. This was just a simple dish of rice and peas with soy sauce. I added pork to the kids’ meals and baked tofu to mine. We had this with vegetarian egg rolls.

Tuesday – Chicken and mashed potatoes. Vegetarian chicken strips for me and The Husband.

Wednesday – I’m working tonight, so The Husband and kids will be on their own. They’ll probably have pasta.

Thursday – Bean and cheese burritos.

Friday – Pizza Night

Saturday – not sure … depends if I remember to go to the farmer’s market this week.

Let’s see how the other Project: Food Budget participants did:

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Project Food Budget: Week 9!

Project Food Budget 2015

Week 8 Recap
I don’t know what it was about last week, but my motivation for meal-planning just vanished. It just … well … things didn’t come together and nobody liked any of my on-the-spot ideas for dinner and by Wednesday I was all screw THIS and wound up picking up hoagies and burgers from Sheetz and I ate fries and tater tots for dinner (yep, JUST fries and tater tots, as if I’m three years old) AND I LOVED EVERY FREAKIN’ BITE OF IT.

Oh, and Friday I packed my lunch and brought it to work … and promptly forgot to put it in the office fridge. And I succumbed to a veggie wrap and a chocolate chip cookie, both of which I knew were not gluten-free. (Same with the fries and tater tots.) And I paid for it over the weekend with a nagging headache.

I still wasn’t feeling the meal-planning mojo over the weekend so I decided to take some control of the situation.

“I need a total of six ideas that everyone in this house can agree on and will eat for dinner,” I declared on Saturday morning. “And I will make those. For real.”

Blank stares and groans of Moooooooommmmm, you’re making us do maaaaatttttthhhhhhhh during summer vacation followed

“SIX dinners,” I said, tapping my pen. “One, two, three, four, five, six. This isn’t difficult, people.”

(The seventh dinner is our traditional Friday pizza night.)

It took a good twenty minutes – maybe more – until my kids were able to agree on:

  • macaroni and cheese
  • pasta with cheese sauce
  • chicken and mashed potatoes
  • boneless pork chops
  • taco night (which we already do on average of once a week)
  • vegetarian fried rice

Slight problem with #3 and #4, of course, since The Husband and I are vegetarian, but I can work with this. I’m not saying this is going to be our weekly menu (although I probably could make macaroni and cheese every single night and no one would complain) but this helps. Kinda.

This Week

Still having trouble getting myself back on track, evidenced by this being a terrible week in the food budgeting department. Not good, my PFB friends. Went way over budget because I didn’t bother to do any meal planning before hitting Trader Joe’s on Saturday, despite asking the kids for dinner ideas.  (The Girl and I saw “Paper Towns” and we decided to stop by TJs since it was right there.)

So, speaking of doing math, let’s do some:

No meal planning + Grocery Shopping = Spending Way Over the $150 Weekly Budget

Trader Joe’s = $143.12
Giant Eagle = $79.08
TOTAL: $222.20  (!!!!)


I guess I should be grateful that everyone ate and seemed to enjoy the two dinners I made from those groceries (mandarian orange “chicken” and rice; vegetarian hot dogs, potato salad and strawberries). That’s something.

I’m not beating myself up about it. We all have weeks like these ’cause we’re human, not superhuman, and next week is another chance to try again.

Let’s see how the other Project: Food Budget participants did:

Have you taken my blog survey yet? If not, I’d love your thoughts. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/F8MNXF2
Thanks so much!

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Project Food Budget: Week 8

Project Food Budget 2015

Week 7 Recap
Last week was another successful Project Food Budget week. I brought my lunch to work every day except Tuesday.  A new coworker joined our department so another manager and I treated her to lunch at Union Grill in Oakland. It was my first time eating there; my fish sandwich (sans bun) and waffle fries were both very good, as was the service.

Menu planning sort of fell by the wayside this past week. The Husband had a doctor’s appointment and I had a work event – along with one evening when I was delayed getting home because of a late afternoon meeting – so the best laid plans didn’t quite happen.

I made it to the Oakland Farmers Market on Friday afternoon and bought tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and plums. Total farmers market spending was $14.

This Week

For now, we’re under the food budget again ($150) with $124.85 spent at Aldi. There will be the usual supplemental trip to Giant Eagle for a few additional items and probably a visit to the farmers market again on Friday.

Menu Planning

Cucumber, Tomato, Black Bean and Feta SaladSunday 7/19:  Grilled cheese and a salad of cucumbers, two kinds of tomatoes (yellow campari and regular red tomatoes), black beans leftover from Thursday’s dinner, and feta cheese. I was the only one who ate this (as I’d suspected) so that means enough for my lunch tomorrow. Yay, me!


Monday 7/20:  Kids had chicken strips, I had a gluten-free Gardein chicken cutlet, and we each had corn on the cob.

Tuesday, 7/21: Probably pasta.

Wed 7/22: not sure … maybe stuffed peppers in the crockpot?

Thurs. 7/23: not sure …

Fri 7/24: Homemade pizza night

Let’s check in to see how everyone else’s week has been going.

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Project Food Budget: Week 7

Project Food Budget 2015

I was thinking about why it is that I’ve stuck with this project (because, let’s face it, I do tend to have a habit of signing up for blogging things like this and, despite all best intentions, life tends to get in the way).

I think it’s because I’ve seen some success, which definitely helps. The accountability factor is also significant; knowing that I’ll be reporting on my progress or lack thereof is a definite motivator.

Regardless, this was another successful week. I brought my lunch to work four out of the five days. I think my grocery receipt got thrown out, so I can’t provide a breakdown of actual food versus other grocery items like the toilet paper and trash bags I purchased. But I do remember that my total was $134.00, which is $16.00 under my goal of $150. And that definitely includes some non-edible items like toilet paper, trash bags, and paper towels.

Oh, this was an ALDI shopping trip. I’ll probably stop at the farmers market this week, too.

Menu Plan

Sunday 7/12:  Vegetarian Chicken Cutlets (we like Gardein’s gluten-free version); Sauteed Portobella Mushrooms; Tortellini Pasta Salad for The Husband and kids (it wasn’t gluten-free); Plums

Monday 7/13: Spaghetti (gluten free) with Vegetarian Meatballs

Tuesday 7/14: Chicken Enchiladas … or something using corn tortillas, possibly in the crockpot.

Weds 7/15: Breakfast for dinner

Thursday 7/16: I have a work event, so The Husband and kids will likely have ravioli.

Friday 7/17: Pizza Night

Saturday 7/18: I need to be at a work event in the morning, so I’ll probably postpone grocery shopping until Sunday. Not sure what dinner will be; maybe a crockpot something-or-other, leftovers, or pasta with sauce.

Let’s see what’s cooking with the other Project Food Budget participants!

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Project Food Budget: Week 6

Project Food Budget 2015

Weekly Spending

We can forget the notion I mentioned last week of increasing our food budget to $175 or $200. Absolutely not happening. Keeping it as close to $150 as possible (lower would be better) is going to remain my goal.

It’s kind of fitting that our grocery spending for this week was totally whacked. I was off from work on Friday, so I took that opportunity to return some items to Target and was delighted when the refund total came to $111. I didn’t need that dress (a dress? who the hell am I?), those shoes, and those accessories (all returned) after all. What I did need were some groceries, so I decided to put that windfall to good use and wound up spending $120.

Groceries for $9 … doesn’t get much lower than that!

Until I stopped at Giant Eagle for a few additional items. That trip came to $64, which also astounded me. Granted I only got a few items, but I never get out of there for under $100. Ever.

Anyway, it’s a bit discombobulated, but I’ll take $73 for one week. Damn right I will.

Menu for the Week:

I haven’t given much thought to a meal plan for this week. As a result, it’s very dependent on meat substitutes, which I don’t like to rely on too much but which are easy dinners for us.

Sunday 7/5 – 4th of July Leftover Buffet Night.  Leftover pasta salad for all; vegetarian hot dogs and hamburgers for me and The Husband; hot turkey sandwiches for the kids (lunchmeat needed to be used up).

Monday 7/6  – Pasta with Tomato Sauce.

Tuesday 7/7 – Vegetarian Meatball Sandwiches (on leftover hot dog buns) for husband and kids (I’ll probably have a veggie burger.)

Wednesday 7/8 – Taco Night  (hoping to stop by Farmers @ Phipps on my way home)

Thursday 7/9 – Breakfast for dinner, I’m guessing.

Friday 7/10 – Pizza Night (and I’ll definitely be hitting the Oakland Farmers Market before the weekend)

Let’s see how everyone else is doing, shall we?

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