Saturday, April 30, 2011

April Assessment

This month we spend a total of $269.38. After subracting $20.00 for our vitamin allowance and $25.00 for our entertaining allowance, that came to $224.38. Which takes us to $7.48/day.

That's not our best number ever. However you'll recall that last month I decided to calculate our spending differently. Before I was estimating how much food exactly we were eating--that meant if we used a little ketchup here or a couple eggs there, that's what I calculated. It was a headache and it's also not how people spend. We spend on items we open, and even if we don't finish the package in a month, it must still be figured into our budget. So this month I've calculated the costs of what we buy (and open). (There are some pantry items or sale items that I buy and don't open--I don't count those.) I occasionally "shop" from the pantry and when I do, I add in the costs of those things as well.

Here's the breakdown of where we spent our money. It's a little different than usual too.

Produce: $69.16
Dairy: $59.52
Meat/Eggs: 40.43
Grains: 35.24
Sweets/Sugars: 28:04 (oh, the shame)
Legumes/Beans/Nuts: $20.61
Fats/Cocoa: 10.91
Condiments/Misc: 5.47

What I'm Proud Of:

Admittedly, I'm always proud that even with some of our less healthful habits (another Robin's Egg, anyone?), we do spend the most on the thing that's the most important (in my eyes). Additionally, although there are some canned tomato sauces and a very occasional juice, it's almost entirely from whole fresh fruits and vegetables. (Want details? You can check out exactly what I bought in 'Costs.')

What I'm Not So Proud Of:

Seriously, I'm sure you don't even need to ask. We eat too many sweets. Way too many. Embarrassingly too many. And yet. I'm not quite sure how to pull the plug. Especially where the number one beloved is concerned. Because he loves them. And he's been a super sport about this whole cheap eat challenge thing. And Easter candy is his super best very favorite candy in the whole wide world. Not that I'm without any guilt in this department myself. But I have a slower metabolism than the rest of the family, so there's a wee bit more willpower from my end.

Also, I feel our dairy is a little out of control. I am not a member of the school of milk. I enjoy milk thoroughly (especially my yummy raw milk), and I do believe it's good for you (especially my yummy raw milk). However, I think we drink it in excess and I think we could get a lot of our calcium, etc. from cheeses and other sources that we also eat. Additionally, and I hesitate to even make the following confession, we tend to drink milk with sweets (especially Kip) and so when our sweets consumption goes up, so does our milk consumption. That makes it a bit less virtuous, now doesn't it.

Where We Cheated:

Don't I know that cheaters never prosper? What if they confess their cheating ways? That must be good for something, right? I said, 'Right?'

I didn't count the candy I bought for Easter. I considered it a gift and therefore did not count it. It was a gift, but still...I did count the candy we bought after Easter on sale. It wasn't a gift, more of an impulsive snacking choice.

I only counted a little over half ($9) of our $17.00 milk share. I, uh, count the other part as my contribution to local eating (see, it's a cause and all).

And just as a head's up on some pre-meditated cheating: My birthday's in May and I have no intention of counting anything extra we buy for the cake/party (possibly some almond paste and ice cream).

What We Wasted:

We waste very little. Except in the bread crust department. We waste obscene amounts of bread crusts. I'm not proud of that, but my kids won't eat them, and there's only so much you can do with 100's of leftover crusts. We also wasted a tiny bit of regular bread this month. Also, my kids tend to leave a bit of milk in their cups, which goes bad. My sour cream and spinach both got a bit on the edge. I threw them in the freezer. I know I can use the spinach in green smoothies that way, but I'm not sure if the sour cream will go freezer funky or not. We didn't waste any candy so don't worry your little heads about that, okay.

What Are My Goals for Next Month?

1) I want us to find a way to eat fish at least once a month, but hopefully two.
2) I want to make green smoothies every other day. I really think this will benefit my kids in their fruit/veggie consumption and they/we need that. I think I'll be keeping track our our fruit/veggie intake again this coming month because it helped me to know how much we were getting and it forced me to do better because I had this blog to account to. I'm a little afraid of how much this will cost, but I'm going to give it a nice organized shopping (hopefully) try.
3) I'm going to try to shop only once a week--for all things, not just food. I noticed this month that I went shopping more. And the more times I went, the more I spent. Why do I shop a lot sometimes? Because I have small children and going to more than 2 places in an outing makes me want to poke my eyes out. However. It is just that emotion that makes me not want to take too long or spend too much. If well used, it can be an excellent strategy. But if it just causes me to shop 4 times a week (which is definitely its own type of torture), then I spend more (and I'm still pretty miserable, so what's the point). Shopping less requires a little more organization. So I'll get right on that. Speaking of which: I'll hopefully have menus and shopping lists up Monday.


  1. Would your kids/Kip eat salmon patties made from canned salmon? My kids adore them... with lots of ketchup :) Pete won't touch them though.

  2. I'm very impressed! I spend that much or more in one week for our family of 6...includes 5 large men, but still!

  3. seriously you impress me every month...even when you go over! I don't know how you do it...but you have certainly made me want to try harder about where we spend our food money! and if I want to take that summer vacation we will have to start cutting back.

  4. Brooke--good question. The girls might, if they were pink. They eat salmon because it is pink. Which is, of course, an excellent reason to eat a food.

    Betsy--5 large men make a big difference--especially if they are teenage men. Yikes.

    Marisa--Thanks and three cheers for summer vacation.



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