Fifty Dollars And Fabulous: How To Make A Food Budget And Stick To It

I have talked vaguely about money saving tips for your groceries before, but I am starting a new segment that provides concrete examples of how to stick to a food budget. Each week I set aside $50 to spend on food for the baby and I. A few things to note: 1. I am a reforming vegetarian, so I use mostly nonmeat protein sources, but occasionally include meat. 2. We live in Philadelphia which means the cost of groceries is higher than if we didn't live in an urban environment. 3. I am a big eater, so I account for large portion sizes and I often feed my partner as well. These groceries could go further if you reduce meals to normal portion sizes. 4. I include everything that goes into my meals each week, except for pantry staples which I like to stock up on when they're on sale. I will also list the full price on the items I purchase, not a percentage of the cost relative to how much of the item was used, so you can see the true cost of the groceries. The only exception is homemade bread, because I make it almost every week and know how much it costs per loaf. 5. I only plan for five dinners a week. I enevitably have enough leftover ingredients from the week to create something delicious for the last two nights. 

I plan my groceries going meal by meal, so I will list them that way below. I pick out items based on my cravings, the weather, and what's on sale. Notes of this sort will be included as relevant.

Breakfast
Brooklyn Bagels Multigrain Energy Bagels (On sale last week for 2/$3): $1.50
Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery Quark (a fresh German cheese): $3.19
Almond Milk: $3.59

Lunch
Morningstar Southwest Style Veggie Burgers (On sale last week for 2/$4): $2
Whole Wheat Rolls (I bake these myself using this recipe for two loaves, separated into rolls): $0.80
Whole Pineapple: $3.99
5 Assorted Fage TOTAL flavors (On sale this week 5/$5): $5

Dinner
For two nights I'm making a mango-avocado quinoa salad.
Arrowhead Mills Organic Quinoa: $4.19
1 Lime: $0.30
1 Mango: $1.20
1 Avocado:$0.75
1 Bunch of Cilantro: $1.00

For three nights I'm making black bean and sweet potato burritos.
Goya Dried Black Beans (16oz): $1.79
Mission Flour Tortillas - Medium 10ct: $2.99
3lb Bag of Organic Yams: $4.99

FreshDirect Hot Fresh Salsa (On sale this week 2/$4; 12oz each): $4

Baby
I make Merle's baby food using what I eat for the week, but I've started buying some prepackaged items that the nanny can take with them to the park. This week I bought three squeezable puches (Plum Organics Fruit & Grain Mish-Mash) for $1.29 each.

That brings this week's total to $45.15, which is under budget without even using coupons! 

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