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Our $1,000 Food Bill

  September 17

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We must be fancy, because the hubs and I dropped $1,000 on food expenses during the month of August.

It didn’t really come as a huge shock given the month we’ve had, but we obviously can’t spend that every month. We’re not that fancy, blog friends.

Here’s what happened:

1. We spent half of August in the U.S. and half of August in Grenada, the little Caribbean island we currently call home. We went out to eat several times before we left and then had two days of traveling where we ate delicious airport food. 😉

2. When we got to Grenada, we had an empty fridge. We had to make a huge grocery trip to stock up on regular everyday items like spices and condiments. We also needed dog food, detergent, and other cleaning items that are rolled into the grocery bill.

3. We had a week off from work and school right when we got to Grenada, which led to several outings and invites from our friends. We contributed a few bottles of wine to group dinners, which is always worth the expense in my humble opinion.

4. I started working full time, and it took a bit of adjustment to get used to the schedule. After working all day and then working for a few hours on freelance projects at night, my Susie Homemaker skills were at nil. So, we purchased lunch at school/work around four times a week in August, which was a stark change from last semester when I made the hubs lunch every day.

5. We had some amazing friends leave the island for good, and we went to a particularly nice restaurant to say goodbye. It’s the sort of place we never go, and we spent $84US in one fail swoop.

6. Groceries in Grenada are very marked up. Your average $100 grocery trip in the US for normal items would cost you about $175-$200US here.

7. The hubs and I have mostly gone without eating anything white for the past few months (rice/bread/pasta/etc.), so when I do make lunch, it’s little strips of chicken or steak, which are very expensive here. We like to get a lot of protein in during the day since we both work long hours.

To be honest, I am not even bummed about this $1,000 food expense like I usually would be. The reason is because it didn’t hurt us too much budget-wise (we were just able to save slightly less than expected), and we were able to really enjoy time with our  friends. The hubs and I work extremely hard during the school year, and outings like these are a rarity. Still, note to self, we’ll have a similar week in January right before school/work starts again after a break, so we should be a smidge more prepared.

Of course, for September, we’re doing a lot better already. I’ve been more diligent about packing lunches and making snacks ahead of time. My goal is to hit around $500 this month in food bills mostly because I know there will be times when we will have to purchase lunch on campus/at work due to our busy schedules.

Of course, I welcome any advice you may have on meals that are quick to make and easy to freeze. I’ve found myself googling “5 ingredient crock pot meals” pretty much every day. Essentially, if it involves chopping lots of things, I don’t even want to know about it. 🙂

Has anyone else gone over their grocery budget lately? How did you adjust the following month?

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12 responses to “Our $1,000 Food Bill

  1. Chili! You really only have to chop onions and peppers, and it freezes like a dream!

    I typically go way over budget during the summer months because I’m obsessed with shopping at the farmer’s market. BUT, I put a lot of it in the freezer (corn, berries, roasted tomatoes, and roasted peppers) so I can eat it in the winter when it is tasteless and much more expensive at the grocery store. So the summer months involve a lot of stocking up on food, while the winter months involve a lot of shopping the freezer.

    1. I totally agree with Pamela – I make a mean TVP chili (which is healthier and cheaper than meat chili!) and the only thing I chop is an onion.

      But I don’t think $1000 is that insane on food. We typically spend about $900/month when you add in groceries, Mr PoP’s semi-frequent networking lunches at work, date nights, and of course, the Starbucks budget.

  2. I always go over budget with groceries (although not 1000, and I hardly ever eat out!). Crazy for one person, but I do. I think under the circumstances I could see you spending that much. As long as it doesn’t’ run you in the ground, and you get back on track, no harm no foul.

  3. A personal favorite of mine is peanut soup. You basically only NEED to chop a few onions, saute them, add chicken broth or chicken stock, and peanut butter. If you wanna get fancy, add some carrots. Then eat with a slice of toast or crusty bread (whole wheat works, if you’re avoiding white!). Very filling, what with the peanut butter. Also, it’s a good recipe for getting rid of left-over onions or chicken broth.

  4. We always go over budget for groceries as well. I was trying to stick to $400 a month but a financial counsellor in our city said that is unreasonable for 2 people given the price of things in our city. She suggested we work with $560 a month so we are trying that. As well, in October we are going to spend a weekend making dinners for the freezer.

    It sounds like you had a great deal of fun in August and yes you spent more than usual the fun, memories and experiences are worth it.

    I love reading your blog and all your adventures! I don’t recall you mentioning what type of job you got? Are you working at the university?

    1. That’s great to know that a counsellor recommended actually upping your budget. I love that. It’s smart and it makes it easier to stick to!

  5. Food is the one thing I don’t like to skimp on. I don’t go out to eat fancy dinners all the time, but I like me some good food! My favorite meal is lunch though and I’m kind of know around the office for making extravagant lunches. The thing is though, it’s cheaper than eating out and although it costs more than a PB&J, my lunches are really good, haha

  6. Pingback: Friday’s Circle of Friends – September 21 | Financial News Blog 2012

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