Month One Totals

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Okay I now have things set up in a spreadsheet so hopefully can stay on top of the numbers. Summary page coming soon.

Total expenditures for cook-at-home food in January was $81.72.

Breakdown is as follows

Whole Foods $55.07 (68%)
Compare $11.86 (14%)
Food Lion $11.57 (14%)
Bruegger’s $3.22 (4%)

The totals are a little skewed by the Food Lion purchase, which was dry milk and buttermilk, which are basically annual (at most) purchases that both happened to be needed at the same time. The total also included the BLIZZARD purchases, corn flakes and soy milk, which I may eat or may hang onto for a few weeks. We’ll see.

I made 11 trips to the store, all of them on foot except for the Food Lion trip, which I stopped at in the midst of a bunch of errands. If anyone needs to know where the IRS office is in Durham, just let me know.

The average expenditure was $7.43. The per-trip costs were generally either around $6 or around $12, with a few $2/$3 and one $15. That’s pretty standard.

As noted in the beginning, I’m not including food eaten out as part of the project, because I have work meetings and go out with friends and things like that, and if I’m doing this for three months, I’m not going to go out and drink water like I did on the Dollar a Day project. Even I have to draw the line somewhere.

However in the interest of full exhibitionism, I will report on that here as well.

I had three work meals at which I spent a total of $28.92 ($9.64 per meal) and three nonwork meals at which I spent a total of $26.39 ($8.80 per meal). That’s probably about average too. A little higher than usual for work, usually I’ll have just one or two meetings a month, and possibly a little low for nonwork, since it’s basketball season and watching games involves leaving the premises. But overall a pretty normal month.

4 Responses to “Month One Totals”

  1. Valerie Says:

    Thanks for sharing this…I was able to come in just under $90 for January for my husband and myself. Using up pantry items has been helping. I had also forgotten how easy and delicious and inexpensive some items can be–like homemade risotto, using simple ingredients and ending up with amazing food.

    Due to some medical issues, I’m temporarily somewhat limited and I’m finding some wonderful uses for my crockpot and bread machine (old items, given as wedding gifts years ago, but still functioning!). It’s made serving steel cut oats for breakfast very easy (steaming overnight), and I’ve been using it for cooking dried beans, a semi-regular item in our menu. I’ve found some excellent bread and roll recipes for the bread machine, so it’s been easy to stay away from the more expensive breads at the store.

    February may be a bit high, but I’m watching it. We have to purchase a case of non-dairy milk that my husband uses, and that’s usually a chunk of change. Our food co-op has just added Albert’s Organics as a supplier for our once a month order, which is very exciting up here in the frozen north! But I’ll have to work hard to keep the spending down–fresh produce is a real temptation to over-buying.

    Most of our eating out has been simple, and usually falls on days when I have to go in to the city for medical appointments; unfortunately there have been more days of having to do that than usual, and we usually end up spending between 8 and 10 dollars for the two of us together. (Simple meals from a take-out place that we like.)

    Peace, Valerie

  2. Lorrie Says:

    Thanks for the totals. You are pretty amazing. I wonder, if I were single or if I had no kids, would I find it easier to spend less than I do. In some ways it’s easier, because I can buy in quantity when things are on sale. But I often buy snack type foods that I wouldn’t buy just for myself, and I also buy much more ice cream than I would buy for just me. I do know that you are a source of inspiration and I love reading your posts.

  3. lessisenough Says:

    Things definitely get harder when you get out of your routine, especially if it’s caused by health problems. That can take so much energy on its own, its hard to focus on anything else. I had a back problem over the summer and noticed the difference when I was better enough to not be completely consumed by it but not yet better enough to actually be able to stand up and cook. I realized that nearly all of the things I rely on require standing and chopping and doing dishes. Which I was not able to do. The experience did help clarify some of my thoughts on the cheap healthy vs. cheap unhealthy debate. Which, as I said, I’ll get a post written about eventually.

    But good for you for using the crockpot and bread maker. I reverted to pb&j’s and yogurt for an extended period of time. Got me through, and at that point what I was eating was the least of my concerns.

  4. lessisenough Says:

    I think it’s hard to know whether it’s easier to spend less when you’re buying for yourself or for a family. It depends on how you look at it I guess. As you said, there aren’t the economies of scale you get when buying in bulk (though I think that can be a false economy because people tend to use more when they have more around). On the other hand, you have total control over what you’re buying. But you also have no excuses to buy things you like but don’t feel justified in buying for yourself. (This is the real reason why I make food for parties — so I can make cookies and Chex mix and things I like to eat but don’t want full batches of in my house.)

    But glad the reporting is helping other people. I will get the Summary Page and first week of February totals up soon. I had a bad combination of things last week — not feeling very well the beginning of the week combined with meetings almost every day plus deadlines this week plus an unexpected project that took over the entire end of the week. A perfect storm.


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