Food Budget Diary: Week 1

July 13, 2016

Over the past few months I’ve discovered a series of articles across the internet (thanks Charlotte Agenda!) outlining the finances of anonymous individuals or couples, giving a peek into their weekly spending. And in turn, I’ve become a bit obsessed with these articles. You see, I’ve never been a saver. I’ve always been a ~*~spender~*~. I love going out to eat. I love buying new clothes. I love buying household goods. I love pet toys. It’s a problem, you guys. So the ability to peek into someone else’s financial habits is super duper interesting to me!

Lo and behold, after a few months of reading these articles I felt myself starting to actually think about my spending habits. “If I was writing this down, how would I justify this?” Finally, an obsession has started to somewhat pay off!

I decided that looking at a week of my own personal spending would be a great thing to track and share on the blog. But, I struggled with the idea of putting my entire financial situation out on the internet. After all, the whole point of seeing the spending of these subjects is how it fits into the grand scheme of things with their salary, rent, utilities, car/student loan payments, retirement and medical bills. Thankfully, after running the idea by my close friend, she suggested focusing on just one aspect of spending. I immediately knew what I would focus on: food.

Spending on food is something that I think the majority of millennials struggle with. Food is not just a way to fuel our bodies, it’s a social thing too. Ever since Nick and I have had combined finances, we have struggled with our eating habits and the amount we spend on a month basis at restaurants versus at home. Not to mention the types of food we eat isn’t exactly what the doctor ordered.

So, for everyone on the internet to see, I’ve outlined a week of my spending on food, both at restaurants and at the grocery store. This is a bit of an odd week to look at, with it being a holiday weekend and our binge watching GoT, but I hope to make this somewhat of a series to see how it looks from week to week. I’m also curious to see if any changes are made!


Food Budget Diary Week 1 - The Observant Turtle

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

8:45 a.m. – I was running late this morning and ran out of time to eat breakfast at home, so I grab a tall hot chocolate with 2% milk and a cheese Danish from Starbucks on campus. I reloaded my Starbucks card with $50 yesterday so technically there is “no cost” today. ($0)

Noon – I go home for lunch like most days and eat leftovers from the night before (Chicken Fajita Pasta from Skinnytaste.) The bad news? It doesn’t sit well on my stomach. ($0)

1:30 p.m. – My stomach is growling. I finish the last tablespoon or two of trail mix that was in my desk. ($0)

2:30 p.m. – Hungry again. I eat the peach I brought from home. ($0)

3:30 p.m. – Seriously, what is up with me today? Hungry again, so I eat a granola bar from my desk. ($0)

6 p.m. – Nick cooked dinner for us so we could watch an episode of Game of Thrones before we head to the movies tonight. He whipped up one of our Hello Fresh meals. Unfortunately, it’s not as good as I expected and I don’t finish my meal. I snack on some tortilla chips while we watch GoT. ($0)

8 p.m. – At the theatre and we have our movie tickets for “The Shallows.” Getting popcorn at the movie theatre isn’t optional for me. Popcorn is my favorite food and the smell is magical. Fortunately, it’s Discount Day at Regal so I get my popcorn half off. Add a soda in there and the total comes to $8.81. (Ripoff…)

Daily total: $8.81

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

9:30 a.m. – I’m working out with a friend at lunch so I knew I would need some fuel for that. I snack on some strawberries from home to help my grumbling belly. ($0)

11 a.m. – I eat a banana and some peanut butter I brought from home to get ready for the workout. I have a feeling I’m going to be hangry by the time we are done. ($0)

12:40 p.m. – Workout is done. I forgot to grab something for lunch this morning so Nick brings Panera for us to have lunch together in my office. I have the BBQ Chicken Salad and Creamy Tomato Soup with a baguette and a sweet tea, obvs. He got a cookie for himself and is flaunting it in front of me. Jerk. ($25.66)

4:40 p.m. – Nothing to record here; just wanted to point out that it’s four hours after lunch and I’m STILL full. Now THAT’S how you do lunch. Take that, Tuesday. Carry on.

7 p.m. – Operation Couch Potato continues (we’re now in the middle of season 4 of GoT) and we eat our Hello Fresh meal of Pan-Seared Gnocchi. Pretty darn tasty. ($0)

8:30 p.m. – Snack time! I pop a mini-bag of popcorn while we continue to watch GoT. So close to finishing season 4! ($0)

Daily total: $25.66

Thursday, June 30, 2016

9 a.m. – Ran out of time to make breakfast at home so I grab a chocolate croissant from Starbucks. Use my Starbucks app that has funds on it so $0.

12:30 p.m. – Running errands on my lunch break for blog posts so I grab some McAlister’s to go and bring it back to the office to eat. Club sandwich with potato salad, a cookie and sweet tea comes to $11.94.

6:30 p.m. – A filling lunch once again paid off and I didn’t eat again until dinnertime. We made our final HelloFresh meal of the week, Pan-Seared Chicken with Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Broccolini. The potatoes and broccolini were a hit but I wasn’t really a fan of the chicken. ($0)

8:30 p.m. – Watching more Game of Thrones (we finished season 4 this evening!) and had a small portion of Breyer’s Extra Creamy Chocolate Ice Cream that we had at home. Can you see my trend of wanting dessert after dinner? ($0)

Daily total: $11.94

Friday, July 1, 2016

7:45 a.m – Woke up with a sore throat so I grabbed a large glass of orange juice before heading out the door to work. I’m never very hungry when I feel sick. ($0)

9:30 a.m. – I supplement the orange juice with a granola bar from my desk. Since I get off at 11:30 today, an early lunch is in my future. ($0)

11:45 a.m. – Fridays are typically a day I grab something for Nick and myself or we meet up for lunch. Since we are still (STILL) watching Game of Thrones, I pick up Zaxby’s and head home. ($20.44)

6 p.m. – I have a really odd love of chickpeas/garbanzo beans and make them a lot. The Pioneer Woman has this delicious recipe for a Chickpea Curry, so I whip it up for dinner. It takes no time at all and it’s super cheap. (I recommend adding one extra teaspoon of curry powder to give it more flavor. And do NOT skimp out and use low-fat coconut milk – it doesn’t taste the same.)

8:30 p.m. – Nick had been craving a milkshake from Cookout for like a week so we take a break from watching GoT and grab milkshakes to go. I had the Peanut Butter Fudge, which tastes more like a Reese’s Cup than the Reese’s Cup milkshake does. ($6.08)

Daily total: $26.52

Saturday, July 2, 2016

11 a.m. – Lots of running errands this morning, so no breakfast. Nick and I meet up with a sorority sister of mine and her boyfriend who are in town for a wedding. We haven’t been to the Hickory Tavern in Rock Hill yet, but it’s pretty good. Nick has the Southern Burger and I have the Reuben plus one sweet tea to share. ($26.65)

4 p.m. – Nick spent the day working on his July movie release preview so I spend the day playing Overwatch. Afterwards we dive back into Game of Thrones and I make some popcorn. (Did I mention I eat it almost every day?) ($0)

7:30 p.m. – Dinner is leftover chickpea curry from the day before. We are trying to get better about actually eating leftovers. Does anyone else struggle with this? ($0)

Daily total: $26.65

Sunday, July 3, 2016

10 a.m. – Usually on Saturdays and/or Sundays we catch a movie before noon, since it’s half off at AMC Theatres. Before we head to the movie, I make biscuits and eggs at home. I only eat one biscuit because we’re going to the movies and popcorn is involved. ($0)

11 a.m. – Again, I can’t resist the popcorn smell when seeing a movie. I grab a Kid’s Pack, which is only $7.46 for a perfectly-sized personal bag of popcorn, fruit snacks and small drink. If you’re going to the movies with someone who doesn’t partake in snacks, this is a great deal for just one person, and aptly named, since we’re seeing “The BFG.”

3 p.m. – After the movie we head over to my in-laws for a holiday weekend cookout. Hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, corn on the cob, fruit salad… nothing is better. Plus it’s free, so that’s even better. ($0)

9 p.m. – After a huge lunch and snacking on leftover potato salad and fruit throughout the afternoon, we decide we should probably eat something substantial but I haven’t been to the store. Wings it is. We order from a local restaurant and go pick it up because the delivery time is over an hour. Nick gets 12 wings, split between mild and lemon pepper. I get 6 hot wings and garlic knots. ($20.71)

Daily total: $28.17

Monday, July 4, 2016

8 a.m. – I promised my mom I would go to Trader Joe’s to see if they carried her favorite kind of grapes. Since it’s about a 25-minute drive from our apartment, I go ahead and swing by Trader Joe’s to pick up some groceries for the week to supplement our Hello Fresh delivery that we will get on Thursday. Picked up some frozen shrimp, salami and some other things for snacking, two bags of corn chips, lots of veggies, and, of course, dark chocolate peanut butter cups. ($42.09) *I should mention that we have a credit for a free Hello Fresh box, so we are getting three meals at no cost. Typically, our grocery budget is about $100 per week.*

11 a.m. – Nick’s mom sent us home with some fruit salad so we snack on that for “breakfast.” I also eat a few peanut butter cups from that morning. Oops. ($0)

2 p.m. – We finally arrive in Spartanburg and hang out with my family until lunch is ready at 3. We do things a little different this year and enjoy steak, low country boil, a Chinese-inspired salad, mac and cheese, and cheddar garlic biscuits. Yummy yum. ($0)

7 p.m. – It’s time for the final three episodes of Game of Thrones. You guys, we have watched 28 episodes since last week… That’s insane. We eat salami and cheese, olives, fruit salad and a small veggie tray of carrots, tomatoes and cucumber. Proud of us for not spending any more money. ($0)

Daily total: $42.09

Weekly total: $143.29

Takeaways: Spending money on random lunches through the week really throw us off, money wise. It would be a good idea to make more meals that produce leftovers, but with our Hello Fresh plan, it’s not really possible. It is expensive, so we may stop getting boxes. We just like collecting the recipes! Also, we had a few meals paid for us this week because of the holiday, so it’s possible that we may have spent more money during a more “typical” week. 

Do we share any spending or eating habits? Are you interested in seeing more posts like this?

What's an Appropriate Spoiler Policy in an Age of Live-Tweeting Everything?
July 2016 Goals

You Might Also Like