Now that you’ve gotten through that excellent, grammatically correct title, I have a confession. Sharing our weekly budget has started to mess with me. I like approaching topics like this because I enjoy sharing what it costs to eat the meals we have on a regular basis and hearing how others make food budgets work. However, inevitably when discussing money, things get uncomfortable. I’ve gotten multiple emails from people asking what percentage of income should go towards food or what amount is reasonable to spend each month. This makes me squeamish because I am not a financial expert and it truly is so personal.
You see, food is my thing. I’d call myself a foodie, but the word is obnoxious. On the other hand, my best pair of black heels are from TARGET, 3 years ago. I have 1 pair of yoga pants (maternity) that I wash so often they are bound to disintegrate soon. My house isn’t decorated fancily. Our coffee table was a steal from Salvation Army and I LOVE IT. Hailey has a rotation of about 6 outfits. We don’t have cable. I’m 100% fine with all of this. I simply share it to highlight that FOOD is where I choose to invest my money. I really love delicious, simple, healthy food.
So here is where the problem came in…
Green tea and homemade Lara Balls
I’ve shared before that I don’t buy everything organic, but try to as often as possible, especially if it’s something Hailey will be eating. Meats and produce take precedent, but lately, with the budget, I’ve let the rest of it mostly fall by the wayside.
However, after a presentation I went to last weekend on personal health, I’m fired back up about the importance of the quality of food my family eats on a consistent basis. I truly view it as an investment in our health. I’m not aiming to be perfect or all organic 24/7 (I’ll still chow down on some pimento cheese on date night or greasy hash browns at Lake Norman Tavern), but I’ve refocused on the quality of items I bring into my home.
Love Grown’s new Super Oats with almond milk and frozen blueberries. Oranges on the side.
Since sharing the budget, I started buying the cheapest version of some items, like sour cream, to save $0.50. The purpose of our budget was to keep an accurate count on how much we need to set aside each month to eat the way we want to eat. It was not designed to have me buy the cheapest food possible, but rather to just make us aware of what we were spending. After all, knowledge is power. However, I realized I was competing with myself to shave off a few bucks and sacrificing quality to do so.
It left me feeling stressed and frustrated. Sometimes I was even a little snappy when David bought his $10 six pack of Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA without consulting the budget first. But beer is his thing. He works his butt off. Shouldn’t he be able to have a nice beer if he wants one without me getting snippy? I think so.
Green leaf lettuce, brown rice, black beans, diced tomatoes, avocado, sour cream, jalapenos and cilantro.
I certainly still plan on sharing the rest of the month’s budget and things I’ve learned with you. However, please know I’m just sharing what works for us, not trying to dictate what others should do. I AM about learning how to save money while eating good food, like by using bulk bins. However, I’m not willing to sacrifice the quality of our food to save a few bucks.
Vanilla yogurt, granola, toasted coconut almonds (mmm!)
Thank you Blue Diamond for the surprise delivery!
Typical evening scene- almonds and wine and a mess.
I just felt like I wasn’t being completely honest. I believe in enjoying life and not stressing over every bite of food that goes into my mouth. However, I also believe in bringing high quality foods into my kitchen. I figure if we eat high quality foods MOST of the time, then the meals and treats out are just fine.
Lentil chili with sour cream and jalapenos (x2)
I no longer view going over the budget as failing. Who knows, I might still wind up under budget, but I don’t want to eat beans and rice all next week just so I can tell you guys that ‘I did it!’ That wouldn’t be honest.
Thanks Jenn for letting me hijack WIAW for a rambling budget discussion
How do you manage the quality/budget aspect of meal planning?
What do you tend to spend your money on?