Grocery Budget Challenge Weeks 3 & 4

I meant to write this post last week after we finished up the grocery budget challenge but I was distracted with visitors all last week.

Even though we went over budget in week 3 again, it was a much better week than the previous week we went over budget. We went over budget by €40.10 with a total spend of €140.10, and much of the overspend was on restocking our freezer with meat and buying some basics which had run low. I may have overindulged again on the treats but it is so hard to resist ice-cream when it’s so warm outside, and we also bought a few beers to drink at home.

We had loads of Indian and Greek food in week 3, much of which was vegetarian which I loved but himself was desperately looking for some meat by Thursday evening. In our meal-plan for that week, we ate chickpea curry (4 servings), spaghetti carbonara (2 servings), spanakopita (4 servings), baked pork with yoghurt and cardamon (2 servings), moussaka (4 servings), wholegrain couscous with chicken and courgettes (2 servings), sausages sandwiches for Saturday and Sunday lunch, and the most beautiful piece of pork belly complete with crackling for Sunday dinner.

What really struck me about week 3 is how well we planned it, we made a meal plan on Monday evening, bought groceries on Tuesday and just stuck to the plan. Everything we had in that meal plan- packed lunches for 3 days, breakfasts to eat at work, a packed dinner for me on Friday night as I was travelling for a 5km race that evening, snacks to eat at our desks – just happened.

Amount Veg & Fruit Carbs Protein Dairy Treats Lunches Caffeine Other
€140.10 €24.94 €16.00 €28.60 €9.74 €17.07 €6.00 €13.34 €24.33

Week 4 was pretty much spot on as well. We only spent €60.12 as I had done a grocery shop on Sunday afternoon which meant that we only had to buy a small amount of groceries. At this stage, it seems that €17-ish is our standard spend on junk food and treats, and it is something that we need to work on.

I brought in lunch every day that week, and every dinner was cooked from scratch apart from a lazy Sunday dinner of pizza. The meal plan for that week was leftover pork belly from Sunday dinner, chicken goujons (2 servings), chickpea curry (4 servings), spaghetti carbonara (2 servings), spaghetti alla Norma (4 servings), chilli con carne (4 servings), more sausage sandwiches for brunch, pizza, loads of smoothies and 1kg of fudge.

Amount Veg & Fruit Carbs Protein Dairy Treats Lunches Caffeine Other
€60.12 €16.25 €4.77 €3.67 €6.41 €17.28 €0.00 €6.76 €4.98

So the total spend for the 4 weeks was… drum roll… €391.13… just within the €400 budget. I was absolutely delighted to see that we were under the limit. The budget covered 20 meals a week for 2 people over 4 weeks, so 160 servings of food with all snacks and drinks included.

I was worried that we would end up feeling deprived and eating cheap carbs to bulk out meals but we ate like kings for the 4 weeks. I really thought hard about how what we should be eating and how to get as many nutrients as cheaply as possible. We ate so many vegetables and so much protein in those 4 weeks. Honestly, I think this is the best my diet has been for months, even with the occasional treat.

Even now that the challenge has ended, we are still concentrating on bringing lunch to work as often as possible. We are cooking most dinners to be brought in the next day for lunch as leftovers. Meal planning and only buying what we actually need is also key to keeping our budget under control, especially as we have limited storage space. We managed to limit our food waste pretty well, mostly because we only bought what we needed and used up leftovers as we were bringing in lunch and snacks most days.

I’m going to keep going with watching our budget (won’t be blogging about it though) and I’m also planning on doing a no junk food month/ no spend month in a while.

3 Thoughts on “Grocery Budget Challenge Weeks 3 & 4

  1. Rebecca on July 22, 2014 at 1:00 pm said:

    As you I’m cooking from scratch at the mo but what I’m not doing is recording the cost of everything which would be a really useful thing to do! Lately I’m worry about money alot so tracking food spending could calm me down a bit!!

  2. Your post makes me feel so guilty! Haha! Our budgets sound pretty similar, but I’m embarrassed by how much we at out this month. Oh, and the proportion of treats in our trolley…

  3. This is a great idea and made for an interesting read actually. I’m terrible for spending a small fortune on our grocery shop, I’d actually dread to know at the moment how much I spend per month. I think when we come back from holidays I’m going to give this a to and see how we get on with it!

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