5 Take-Aways from A Food Budget Lifestyle…They aren’t what you think!

Well, we made it to this, the final week of our first month on this new budget-saving lifestyle.  I learned quite a bit in this venture.  And, paradoxically, the budget-cutting lifestyle has made us feel better on many levels!  For one, we are in control of our finances, instead of the other way around – who doesn’t appreciate that feeling?  Additionally, we have found a new common goal to work towards as a family.  It’s something we all have helped with, whether through finding a new recipe (my daughter loves to send us items, now), or just encouraging us that we don’t need an extra case of water (thanks to my son!).

I thought this would be tough.  I was convinced that our budget would end up being higher.  I thought this plan would include some sacrifices in our eating habits.  I’m learning that none of that is true.  In fact, the truth of the matter is that this makes us, well, happy!  Here’s why:


  1. Planning is painless and can even be fun!  It has become a bit of a hobby to look for our next recipe and to put together a meal plan for the week.
  2. Keeping water on hand in the car and using thermoses pays off! I’ve avoided pulling in to the drive-thru on several occasions. Last year at this point in the month, we had spent $104 on drive-thru’s and sodas at convenience stores.  This month we spent less than $40 – and that was mainly because we had two road trips to bring my daughter to Sea Cadets Basic Training 3 1/2 hours away and pick her up eight days later.
  3. We eat well! Our menu is just as full as before we cut the budget!  Even going from over $300 a week (yes, you read that right!) to a mere $100 a week or less, has not hurt our palette.  Quite the opposite – with planning meals, we are eating better than ever and we are being more adventurous with our meals!
  4. Getting the kids on board has paid off!  They now have skin in the game and are collaborating with Mom and Dad on finding ways to save money.
  5. Setting aside only one day a week to grocery shop is a huge budget and time saver!  No more running to the store for a “just a few items” and ending up with a $100 basket of extras. I assumed that planning meals would be a time consumer, but the reality is that the time I’m saving by not running to the grocery store several times a wee and using the Walmart Grocery App with it’s convenient pick up function, is a huge time saver!

The biggest lesson, though, and I have to say I was stunned by this, is that the $550 a month budget I had initially set as our goal, is too high!  I was under the assumption, given how much we spent last year, that I would not be able to get my grocery bill down to less than $550 a month.  Well, I was wrong!  It’s been 3 weeks and we’ve spent, on average, $100 a week!  See for yourselve by checking out the plans for week 1, week 2, and week 3, complete with grocery lists, prices, and recipes, as well as some of our favorite, budget-friendly meals!

Will we be able to stay to a $100 in the coming week?  You’ll have to stay tuned to https://cashcrashblog.com to find out soon enough!



  • Congrats! My problem with meal planning is I always get ambitious and pick too many new recipes for the week. Then my grocery bill is still huge because I have to buy such a variety of things (I’m single and usually just cooking for myself) any tips for budgeting when it comes to food just for one?

    • Hi There!
      Yes, choosing too many recipes for the week can cause you to go off track! I’ve been there, too!
      One trick I tried is to leave one or two nights free – I often have leftovers and this helps me to use those leftovers up before they end up in the trash! Another idea that I’ve used is to keep track of great recipes in my phone in the notes function. That way I can revisit them when I have a week that is less full of menu ideas. Finally, if you over-cook during the week, remember… the freezer is your friend! Having frozen meals on hand can be a welcome relief when life gets busy.

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