‘Tis the season to declutter in preparation of greeting the New Year with a cleaner slate. Have you caught the decluttering bug? I believe I have and I plan to overcome it by decluttering one room at a time. I am a bit late in getting started with the No-Spend Month Challenge started by Andrea of SavingJoyfully just this past October. Partly because I was busy focusing on getting back on track with my health. Now, that I am better, I would like to take this challenge on; but, it seems November and December is not the best time, as the gift-giving season is nearing and I’ll likely fail this challenge quite early on.
Instead, I’m giving myself a Declutter Challenge for this month of November, with a focus on the Grocery Budget, as grocery is one of the bigger variable expense in our books. After reading other bloggers’ posts about their No-Spend Month, I am left wanting to improve my budget. I mean, $80/week grocery budget is a bit skimpy for me; but, I can see there’s room for improvement.
My family loves food. We cut back on expenses by not eating out as much; but, in order to do so, we need to cook our meals from scratch. Most definitely, cooking the meals at home is a great way to save, in comparison to eating out, yes; but, it does still put a dent on the budget, regardless, depending on what cravings we are experiencing at the moment, ie. steak or a fancy dish that requires a thousand ingredients – Okay, a thousand is a bit exaggerated, but you get what I mean. I’ve accrued quite a bit of ingredients from trying new recipes out, some of which have not seen the light of day since the first time I used it. Now, I want to declutter this kitchen of mine by utilizing ingredients already residing in my home. I would really prefer not to waste them and instead work them in my daily meals. In doing so, my grocery expense should slim a bit.
So, here’s what I want to happen with this Declutter Challenge:
- Declutter the pantry and fridge/freezer by utilizing food already taking space in there.
- Reduced my weekly grocery expense by at least $25 the first week (so I have a goal to focus on and go from there)
- Post weekly updates on the blog of food I prepared for myself (vegan-friendly) and for my family (may not be vegan-friendly), along with the total grocery I spent that week. I’m targeting every Monday for this post, so be on a look out for it.
- Post the difference in savings
In a way, this is an opportunity for me to revamp my meal menus and learn to be creative while being budget savvy.
How I plan to reduce my grocery cost:
- Work in ingredients in daily meals already in the fridge/freezer and pantry first.
- Utilize weekly grocery sales offered at different stores; freeze items if need be
- Utilize rebate apps to earn additional savings
- Plan the meals for the week before grocery shopping (This, I think will be the hardest for me. Will have to tame the cravings for this.)
*LemonBlessings gave me a great idea to plan my weekly family meals to save on grocery. She also participated in the No-Spend Month Challenge. I am not a meal planner myself; but, I can definitely see how meal planning can help reduce grocery cost and so I will be adopting this technique.
Limitations on grocery expense calculations:
- Anything that’s not food is not included in the budget. (ie. Shampoo, paper towels, etc. Dog food is also not included.)
A little history on my grocery expense for the month of October:
- 16 grocery related errands
- 6 grocery stores
- $600.17 monthly grocery bill
- includes: organic/non-organic, vegan and non vegan-friendly items (the majority of which is fresh, not previously frozen or processed, food)
- Pantry and fridge/freezer filled with forgotten meal ingredients (What can I say? I love to shop, especially for food, and we love to try different recipes.)
I can definitely trim some excess if I put some effort. I have been catching up on some blogs and it’s definitely putting me in the spirit of saving and decluttering.
I have created a month-long weekly vegan food diary in an effort to nurse myself back to health last month. I am a believer that food affects our health greatly. Food consumption doesn’t have to be strictly a vegan diet. I’m vegan and my family is not. I just believe eating less processed food is a step forward towards a healthier body and mindset and so I want to continue on with that as much as possible.
Creating the food diary was a tremendous help for me and it’s something I want to continue doing. You may read my food diary at your leisure to give you a picture just what a vegan diet entails. Here’s my first, second, third, and fourth week posts.
You may also find many of my vegan-friendly meals posted on Instagram. I’d love to connect with you there as well.
This Decluttering Challenge I’m starting this November is a mini version of the No-Month Spending Challenge started by Andrea last month. Think of it as a trial run to get me more prepared for this big challenge I’m planning to take on in a couple of months. I plan to take her challenge on January; and for the meantime, I’m doing something proactive in my own little way. I realize this feat will take quite a bit of effort and I am hoping will rearrange my spending habits into something more budget-friendly. I’m looking forward to the savings.
Side note: My pantry is in the form of a cupboard cabinet for plates, just twice as long. It’s a pain to reach food in the back. So, decluttering it will be a big bonus for me.)
Perhaps you’d like to join me in this quest to revamp your budget savviness. It’s always better and fun with a friend. I’d love to see the meals you prepared to make your grocery budget work for you and your fam. If you have tips to help me make this month-long challenge a success, do share.
Until next time.