Food plan recap: how well did we fare?

AJ: How well you say? Not well 🙂 Kirby said to me one night “have we eaten ANYTHING from the meal plan this month?” to which I responded “pretty much, no.” Some months I’m the first to admit that I’m a complete failure at sticking to the plan. We’ve been working longer days than are typical, we’ve had more schedule changes than is typical and we’ve been WAY. MORE. TIRED. than is typical. All of which result in an exhausted Angela who isn’t great at sticking to the plan and who is okay with eating Sour Patch Kids for dinner.

Food food food

The goal was to spend $55.57 on our groceries and meals out. Additionally, I planned a budget of $350 for the bridal shower I threw with the hope of saving an extra $270 from our food budget.

ACTUAL JANUARY FOOD SPEND: I spent less on the shower than I expected to, but we did eat out a few more times than I had originally planned for. All-in I spent $256 on food for the shower, under $20 on non-shower-related groceries, $130 on meals out and saved an extra $370 from food this month to recoup on my over spending on shopping in December on hugely discounted clothes for both of us, a giant Christmas tree on clearance and all new lighting and backsplash tile to round out our major home upgrades. Not bad for almost never sticking to the plan. Regardless of veering drastically off-course, we still have the same goal at the end of the day – save so much that it shocks us into saving even more. And without any further comment, here’s how we adjusted:

1/1 Poached Eggs on Toast – a family favorite featuring my perfectly poached eggs on boiling, bubbly cheese.
1/2 Kirby’s company Christmas party.
1/3 We were supposed to have dinner with friends, but they had to reschedule, so we’re grilling steaks with creamed corn (even our back up meals are awesome).
1/4 Coconut Shrimp with broccoli – Kirby “wasn’t that hungry,” and I “didn’t feel like shrimp” after I already thawed them and we didn’t even have broccoli (add to my to-do list to come up with a better system for tracking foods I have in my freezers and pantry!), so we went to Taco Bell. I turned the thawed shrimp into shrimp tacos for lunch on 1/5. Don’t waste food just because you’re feeling flighty about what you planned!
1/5 Chicken pad thai with double sauce (because we like it saucy) – We weren’t hungry for dinner on Sunday, go figure. So we just moved the Pad Thai to Monday.
1/6 French toast with sausage links We’re big breakfast for dinner people, but we substituted for chicken pad thai with double sauce instead.
1/7 Pecan crusted chicken tenders with roasted brussels sprouts – We went out for Mexican and spent $29.31. Not earth shattering!
1/8 Chicken fried rice – I had a last minute work dinner pop up, so we got to indulge in a cost-free night out which is always a treat! Chicken fried rice made an appearance later this month, though, it’s a crowd favorite!
1/9 Baked chicken parmesan
1/10 Grilled chicken with roasted sweet potatoes. – we turned this into pork chops and sweet potatoes, and it was delicious.
1/11 My parents’ anniversary dinner that we got to tag along for. This was terrible for the New Year’s resolution of losing weight but was good for morale and good for the soul.
1/12 Crock pot chicken tortilla soup I wanted to bail on this but Kirby held me to it! We ate it for lunch leftovers for three days each. Talk about a bang for your buck meal!
1/13 Shrimp & veggie stir fry This just straight up didn’t sound good to us. We had quesadillas instead.
1/14 Breakfast burritos with bacon I was too exhausted, so we went out for dinner and it cost us $33.66.
1/15 Taco turkey chili with cornbread We still had leftover chicken tortilla soup from earlier this week, so we moved breakfast burritos with bacon here.
1/16 Broiled steak with corn and green beans
1/17 Shrimp & orzo with lemon beurre blanc sauce We Papa John’s’ed it after a long charity event instead.
1/18 Whole roasted chicken with roasted potatoes (that’s a lot of roasting) – we swapped potatoes for Brussels sprouts.
1/19 Chicken and cheese enchiladas…Didn’t happen, not even a little bit.
1/20 Parmesan chicken with roasted broccoli (important to note that this is different than chicken parm from 1/9, as these are little chicken nuggets with parm on top, no marinara sauce)
1/21 Pierogi’s with beer cheese sauce…mmmmm….
1/22 Chicken n dumplings note though that we ran out of milk, and I used sour cream in my dumplings instead. It was funky and delicious! Not having an ingredient isn’t a good enough excuse to quickly decide to go out to eat.
1/23 Thai red curry shrimp with brown rice delicious!
1/24 Chicken pot pie – didn’t happen at all.
1/25 I hosted a bridal shower for my soon-to-be sister-in-law, so I banked on us being worn out and Papa John’s was the plan! – Needless to say, we had TONS of leftover food from the shower, so we didn’t even need pizza!
1/26 Cheesecake factory shrimp with angel hair Yeah, no. Still leftovers.
1/27 Chicken piccata with parmesan roasted potatoes AND leftovers.
1/28 Cheese and avocado quesadillas – AND more leftovers
1/29 Hard shell tacos – I kind of forgot I was traveling, so guess what Kirby’s was eating without me? Leftovers 🙂 or Taco Bell.
1/30 Chicken “alfredo” (air quotes because it’s a cheese sauce I make that’s better than alfredo, but don’t tell him that) poor, poor Kirby.
1/31 Spaghetti with meat sauce

And so, despite all of those changes and shifting meals around, we were able to stay true to the challenge we presented ourselves with: save extra on our food.

    What do you do to stay on plan in your household?
    How much do you think you could realistically cut from your incidental food budget?
    Tell us what makes a food plan work for you.

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