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Let me be honest.
Friend to friend honest.
I really hate budgets.
I’ll admit, I’ve been doing everything in my power to avoid this meeting. The meeting where I calculate my receipts, deeply consider my success and failure, and make a practical plan for February. With a cup of coffee in one hand and a big green juice in the other, I’m taking a deep breath and finally conquering this post.
Let’s all remember, I’m not perfect. I’m just a gal on a mission. A mission to get my out-of-control, real food budget manageable. You can read more about that mission here.
My family food budget for four humans plus two dogs and eight laying chickens is $800 a month. For some that number may seem huge for others very small. For our family it’s just right.
Here’s how I spent my January real food budget:
Costco: $180canned organic tomatoes, organic tomato paste, frozen organic strawberries, organic sugar, organic quinoa, lots of Kerrygold butter, Kerrygold cheese, mozzarella cheese, canned tuna, Irish beer (my husband's one treat)
Farmer's Market: $300organic local produce, 4 dozen pastured eggs (our chickens are only laying 3 eggs a day with the cold weather), fresh sourdough bread, grass-fed beef
Health Food Store: $311dry goods (pasta, dry beans, nuts and seeds, grains), fresh organic fruit, grass-fed yogurt, local low-temp pasteurized milk and cream (our co-op took the month of January off, so raw milk wasn't available), raw cheese, olive oil, vinegars, spices, 2 pastured whole chickens, beef bones
Misc: $138Deposit for 1/4 grass-fed cow: $100. Amazon Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips (6 count): $22. Bakery cheesecake (Dustin's birthday): $16
The Grand Total
For the month of January, I spent $929.
I know, I broke my budget.
Remember, my first statement about hating budgets?
The good news: This is a big improvement. Yes, I’m $129 off budget, but at least it’s only $129. Remember the numbers from December and the previous months? If you’re interested, you can read more here.
The bad news: I’m $129 over budget.
My local co-op starts back up this week which means I need to budget for raw milk ($9/gallon) and cream ($11/ quart). I simply don’t enjoy milk when the cream is removed, my reason for buying cream separately.
Real food isn’t cheap. I struggle to get the very best on our table without breaking the budget. And every month I break it. I’m confident with fine-tuning there must be a way. A way to make real food work, without compromising the budget.
My strategies for February:
1. Cash: No more plastic. I’m going traditional with the envelope system and cash. Knowing I don’t have the reserves which come from a credit or debit card, I believe the cautious, frugally-minded Kristin will be making an appearance this February.
2. Meal planning: I’m back to planning our meals. Planning meals over a two week period was one of the best budgeting secrets I ever found. In fact, at one point, I was planning monthly. Overachiever. Knowing exactly what I needed for a full two weeks was incredibly helpful. Every last mushroom, lettuce leaf, and slice of cheese were diligently used. You can find the Real Food Meal Plan Kit here.
3. Shop the pantry: I’m blessed to have a large pantry and it’s usually full of delicious grains, a few canned goods, nuts and seeds, dried fruits, and other real food essentials. Before meal planning, I plan to shop my pantry. There are many meals I can frugally make by using the great ingredients already in my possession. My pantry is going to feel the love this February.
How about you?
How was your real food spending in January?
I’d love to hear your real food budget stories.