The hardest part of a food budget is that I know I have enough food for the week and my fridge is getting more and more empty. Normally I would go to the store now and buy more food just to fill it up - I have to keep reminding myself that I have food already for the rest of the week, it just requires thawing some meats and using things in the pantry. (The plan for tonight is grass-fed steak with cauliflower "mashed potatoes" and sauteed kale and spinach; then is red curry with chicken thighs with cucumber to cleanse the palette afterwards.
I've been keeping track of our grocery spending, we're just about to halfway through the month and we are more than halfway through the month's small food budget ($300).
Spending Since Sept 1st (for two people)
Nuts + Seeds $5.89
Restaurants $3.95 (a Jamba juice)
Internally saying "no" to going out to eat when we're tired and hungry has been difficult, but it has also lead to making a random stir-fry with whatever veggies and meat we have which always turns out delicious - especially with some coconut amios and Worcestershire sauce! Mmm.
I made soft caramels last weekend, mainly because I wanted to, I'm not really eating them. And now I found this recipe in Imbibe Magazine for Apple Cider Caramels! I very much want to try these.
I have also started a budget spreadsheet where I am keeping track of expenses. I'm adding in big ticket items I know about, average bills that I then update when I actually get the bill, spending as it happens and trying to keep track. I have this vision of the future that is keeping me going. Visions of living debt free, in a house that I own, with a puppy and a garden. Not too much to ask right? So I just need to keep that vision clear every time I want to splurge on something that's not a neccesity in the budget.
The gas budget is a big stumbling block because having a car makes it feel really easy to so somewhere, "Oh my friend is in Seattle? I'll just pop up there for a weekend." Well, the cost of gas is really high and then the expense of buying food when I'm visiting a town where I don't have a kitchen just adds to it. So as much as I love to travel and visit friends - this is going to be a big change for me.
I'm excited about it too though because I will be studying to take my Architect's exam and I have many projects at home, and a lovely fella who I can happily lounge around with at no expense :). When I first moved here back in October of last year, I spent most weekends not at home and wondered why I felt like I wasn't accomplishing any of the things I was so excited to have space and time for now that I didn't live in the Big Apple anymore.
I hadn't stopped my living on the road mentality from the travels of the previous summer. So now, I'm here, I'm buckling down, staying home and studying as well as sewing, learning to cook more things, bonding with local friends and working on fitness. I'm excited about this, but I just have to remind myself of that when I start feeling restless... and maybe go for a jog in the park and hang out with some friends among the trees. :)