Project: Food Budget (Week 26)

First, thank you for all of the great feedback that came in response to yesterday’s post.  I received some kind and insightful comments here on the blog, and my friends shared reactions on Facebook that were both touching and thought-provoking.  One friend mentioned that blogging did more for her than it did for her readers, and I can definitely attest to the benefits that I have personally enjoyed since starting my blog in 2009.  Another reader mentioned that she desires to do many things, but they just aren’t on “the list” yet.  I SO get that!  Emily Levenson, the host of Project: Food Budget, really made me think with her reaction.  You can see her entire comment below, but here is what really grabbed my attention: “Your experiences help others, whether you realize it or not. By sharing a part of yourself (which is what I believe blogging and social media gives us the power to do), you allow others to do the same. To make it safe to put yourself out there, to follow dreams, to live life, and to talk about your struggles.”  Thanks, Emily.

Before I get to the food post, I should clarify that the gentleman on the radio did not say that there is no place for social media in a Christian life.  He didn’t say we shouldn’t blog, shouldn’t “tweet,” or use Facebook.  No legalism that I could detect.  He simply encouraged listeners to reflect on their motivations and think about how others might perceive our online selves.  Seems like sound advice to me.  I’ll try not to let it cramp my creativity!

Halfway!  Today marks the six month point in Project: Food Budget.

The Numbers: Add $24 to last week’s total, bringing me to $110.  The additions included pizza and a quick grocery run over the weekend.  We bought juice and bread and a couple other little odds and ends.  This week I spent $86 on groceries.  I know that I’ll be adding to that amount over the weekend because we are out of cereal and juice already.

The Food:  On Monday, I made fish tacos.  Tuesday was cheeseburger pockets (that I made up myself) with spinach salad.  On Wednesday, we ate a Chiles with a gift card (yay!), and we were frugal enough to have money left on the card for another treat in the future.  Tonight we will have steak stir-fry, a family favorite.  On Friday, we might eat out to celebrate payday.  Twice in one week!  Saturday will be baked ziti, and Sunday is beef stew in the CrockPot.   

So today, at the halfway point of this challenge, allow me to share what I’ve learned so far.

1.  Rountine counts.  When I plan my menu and write my list on Sunday & do my grocery shopping Monday, I do a better job of sticking to my budget.  If I shop on Tuesday or Wednesday, I feel short on time, so I end up not getting everything I need.  I then have to go to the store later in the week, or I send hubby later.  Either choice usually results in unplanned spending and a broken budget.

2.  Anticipation is good for the tastebuds.  I think everyone gets stuck in a food rut from time to time.  I certainly do.  But when I take time to make a menu, I do a better job of being creative.  AND when I know what is coming later in the week, I find myself actually looking forward to even the most boring fare.  Even something pretty average like spaghetti sounds good when I’ve been anticipating it all week. I really get jazzed about my Sunday CrockPot meal.

3.  Accountability matters.  I don’t think I would still be doing this if I didn’t know that others would be looking for my post on Thursday.  Sometimes I fear that these food posts are way too boring, but then I heard from my mom that a friend of hers actually takes ideas from my menus as she looks for things that are easy to make while tending to her young children.  And one of my sorority sister said that she watches my blog for ideas on inexpensive meals since she is also trying to limit her food spending.  When I feel like I can’t pull together a food blog, I imagine these ladies wondering what happened to me.  Now, I just need someone to host a blog challenge for the other goals I have in my life.  Laundry challenge anyone?

The Week 26 Participating Blogs:
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