As I mentioned in my IDC Week Three update, I've revised my "food spreadsheet" in an effort to track what we spend on food. My goal is to get our monthly costs - all things included - to below the food stamp allotment of $698 per month.
We didn't do so well in the month of May. I'd like to blame it on the the fact that in just our nuclear family, we have three birthdays and an anniversary in those last two weeks and if you add our extended family there's an additional anniversary and four more birthdays. Essentially, from May 17 until May 31, every other day is a day to celebrate ;).
But that's not what did it, because we didn't follow our usual Modus Operandi of taking everyone out to eat to celebrate and spending hundreds of dollars.
Part of it was going back to the Farmer's Market after a very long winter. Part of it was a crazy-busy schedule which encouraged us to rush out of the hosue unprepared with snacks or beverages. Part of it was just succumbing to the convenience of calling the Portland Pie Company to make our dinner.
But, overall, for the entire month of May (although I may have missed a couple of take-out meals in the first week or so) for the five of us, including eating out and what we purchased at the Farmer's Market, we spent
... drum roll, please ...
a grand total of $873.04.
That includes going to 7-11 and getting orange juice and tea when the girls are at dance class, and frankly, that's the first thing I decided we needed to stop for this month. When you figure each visit costs about $8 (three single-serve bottles of OJ and a large hot tea) and we're there twice a week, it adds up to almost $70 per month - just for beverages we could bring from home with just a tiny bit of effort.
So, Deus Ex Machina gifted me with a really awesome ceramic travel mug for my birthday, and I can bring a tea bag and some sugar to the dance school and make my own tea in their microwave.
And, for the girls, we used the L.L. Bean gift certificate we've had for almost a year and bought metal drink bottles.
If everything is the same, except going to 7-11, we'll spend just over $800 next month, which is still over $100 more than my goal of $698 per month, but we're getting closer.
In Septebmer 2006, we spent $1255 for food - half of which was eating out with most of that fastfood.
I believe we're certainly making progress in the right direction :).