Project Food Budget : Q&A (Week 3, Week 8 official)


Hi, friendly readers.  I’m back with another installment of Project Food Budget.  I had a few great questions from readers concerning our food budget, and I thought I would take some time to answer them here.

1.  Do you count cleaning supplies in your grocery budget?

The short answer is no, but it is a little more complicated than that.  Since the last time I did Project Food Budget, I began making my own cleaning products.  I have a multipurpose cleaner, a disinfectant, and a window cleaner.  The ingredients for these cleaners are simple household items that I do include in my grocery costs.  They are essentially food products anyway.  They include water, vinegar, baking soda, sometimes lemon, tea tree oil, and a little dish soap.  The ingredients are extremely inexpensive.  They are not affecting my budget much at all.  However, every now and then, I like to buy Method brand window cleaner.  I love the mint scent.  It smells so clean and fresh, and I like to “treat myself” to one every now and then.  I buy it at Target, and I do not consider that in my food budget.  Paper towels and toilet paper tend to get scooped up into the general food budget because I buy them at Aldi when I’m doing my grocery shopping.

2.  What about diapers?

No, I don’t include diapers in my food budget.  Again, I buy diapers at Target when I’m not grocery shopping, so it is easy to not include them in my total.  Plus, they are expensive and would blow my budget.  Because this project is focused on food expenses, diapers would skew my numbers.  One last note on this topic– we use cloth diapers about 75% of the time.  When we are out and about, I tend to reach for a disposable diaper. I just prefer not to carry around a poopy diaper in my bag when I’m out all day or traveling.  We also use disposables over night (unless we run out).  Cloth diapers are an investment, but they do save you money in the long run.  We’ve used them for 3 of our 4 kids, and many of those first diapers are still being used by Baby #4.  Now that’s savings.

3.  Do you only include suppers in your food budget?  This is a really important question!  When I got this question from one of my very loyal readers, I realized that my posts definitely made it look like I was keeping a tally of dinner costs only.  Oops.  No, my goal and total expenses include suppers, lunches, breakfasts, and snacks.  I only list the suppers because our lunches and breakfasts are rather a la carte affairs.  We don’t all eat the same thing at the same time.  Typical breakfasts for us are eggs, oatmeal (with various toppings), English muffins, breakfast sandwiches on English muffins or bagels, bagels with cream cheese, sometimes cold cereal, fruit, or yogurt.  Lunches are often sandwiches–tuna or peanut butter or egg salad or sometimes turkey.  We like hummus, raw veggies and fruit.  Sometimes I make soup or grilled cheese.  Just simple things.

Let me know if you have other questions.

Here are my stats for the week:

Goal: $120         Actual: $18 at Giant Eagle + $110 at Aldi = $128  (Edit:  Messed up the math.)

I’m a little bummed that I went over again.  On to next week!  Let’s see how my blog friends did.

5 thoughts on “Project Food Budget : Q&A (Week 3, Week 8 official)

  1. emlevenson

    I love your explanation of what you do and don’t include in the budget. I also love that you’re making your own cleaning supplies. We tried that for a while but The Hubster felt like things weren’t getting clean enough. So, we switched to Method cleaning products. We’ll have to try out the mint one!

    And if my math is correct, it looks like you were only $8 over and not the $18. Which is pretty respectable!

  2. These are great explanations, and I find that we do our budgets very similarly. I also have a separate “non food” budget and while I only share my dinner menu, I include all meals in the budget too. I got a similar question and realized that it also looks like I only include dinner in our budget. I’d blow right through our grocery budget if I had to include diapers, even with just one kid 🙂 Great Q&A here!

  3. I never considered planning other meals aside from dinners, although clearly the budget includes other foodstuffs than dinner fixings! We do toast or cereal for breakfast, usually, and lunches are mostly leftovers or sandwiches and chips. Sometimes, if I will be home, I will plan out lunch, brunch, or breakfast, but I don’t post them on my blog.

  4. Erica ~ Thank you so much for this great explanation! Exactly what I needed to hear. And I’m right with you. IF, (and I do mean “if”), there are left overs from the supper that becomes the next day or so for our lunch. Being our boys are young adults now, they like to use their own money to go out. BUT I still have to be ready with food and goodies because my boy’s friends or Ant’s fiance comes, I want to be ready to serve. (Get that from Gram. lol) I LOVE when others come over. especially my DIL to-be.
    I LOVE Method products! But I now use my essential oils to oils to clean. 😉 I have noticed through the years that it’s the cleaning & paper products that blow the budget if I count them together. I love menu planning, which I am teaching Noah and Ant; and how to budget things under the correct subject column too. The problem I’m having is when I let Tony (hubby for those who do not know me) and Noah do the grocery shopping with my list, they go hungry and they come back with way more (and unhealthy) things that were NOT on the list. So my goals are to get back to making a certain day for the shopping and go myself again and use more coupons.

    But do you know what I learned this past week? Thursday night I had the whole family plus my DIL to-be in the kitchen helping me cook dinner and dessert. I stepped back and watch what most would think is utter choas…was PRICELESS to me. ❤
    Thank you again! Love you!

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