Calculations

I eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day during the week, so it was relatively simple to figure out how much I was spending. I’ve rounded some of the costs up so that the budget I make from this takes into account inflation over the next few months and if some things increase in price.  For instance, I think the Romaine hearts are a 6pk for $5.49 but I’ve rounded it up to $6. 

Breakfast in the weekday mornings consists of shredded sautéed Brussels sprouts and par steamed broccoli, topped with a homemade breakfast sausage and a semi fried egg, along with ¼ of an avocado. 

I’ve started using local ground game instead of the standard ground pork/turkey from Costco.  The sausages taste better (Buffalo is so good!) but it might turn out to be one of the places I can cut my spending. 

I made Buffalo Breakfast Sausage this week and my 500g of ground meat ($9) made 6 patties.

The eggs I buy are $7.99 for 18, so each egg works out to be 44cents.

5 Avocado from Costco are normally $5.99 but last week I got them for $4.99, so the ¼ I ate for breakfast weighs in at a whopping 25cents. Since they’re not normally on sale, I’ll calculate the ¼ using the regular price.

I use a half a bag of broccoli ($5/bag) and a half a bag of Brussels sprouts ($4) and divide the total of that into 5 meals.  That makes the Broccoli portion 50cents and the Brussels portion 40cents.

For Lunch every day I have one romaine heart (6pk for $6) topped with 3 baked chicken thighs, a handful of cherry tomatoes, 1/5 a jar of homemade Caesar salad dressing and ¼ of an Avocado.  Sometimes I have ½ a grapefruit with it.

The chicken thighs are from Costco and come about 26 to a package for about $22.  The Caesar Salad dressing costs me $3.25 to make and it lasts for a whole week.  The tomatoes come in a small clamshell for $4.49 and the Avocado is another ¼ from the daily Avocado that comes 5 to a bag for $5.99. The grapefruit come 9 to a bag for $8.99… they’re HUGE!

Breakfast Summary:

1 Sausage $1.50

1 Egg $0.44

¼ Avocado $0.30

Broccoli Sauté $0.50

Brussels Sauté $0.40 

Total Breakfast $3.14

I think if I switched back to ground turkey or ground pork from Costco I could probably save about $0.75 per patty… I don’t know if it’s worth it to switch from grass fed organic ground game to Costco portions of ground meat for a savings of $0.75 a meal.

I don’t know what a standard Paleo Breakfast is supposed to cost though… 

Lunch Summary:

 1 romaine heart $1

3 chicken thighs $2.53

1/5 jar of Caesar Salad Dressing $0.65

1/5 Clamshell of Cherry Tomatoes $0.89

¼ Avocado $0.30

½ Grapefruit $0.50 

Total Lunch $5.87

There are a couple ways I could cut back for lunch.  I currently buy the Romaine hearts but I can buy one pound of mixed spring greens that lasts a week for about $3.49.  I could also buy less expensive cherry tomatoes (I buy the heirloom multi-colored ones) and hopefully when this produce comes into season at the local farmer market I can really save some money. I think I could also buy oranges or a different type of fruit that might come out to less than $0.50 per serving.  Again, I don’t know what a standard lunch costs.  It would be reasonable to compare this salad to the Whole Foods salad I used to buy that was essentially the same thing (although with the addition of unapproved cheese, dried cranberries and really nasty (but so tasty!) dressing.  Those calculated out to approximately $12-13 per serving and I didn’t get avocado, tomatoes or a grapefruit at that price.

My breakfast and lunch combined daily total is $9.01.  

It’ll take me a little longer to figure out the dinner calculation because I make something different each week and there’s usually enough for dinners and then some to freeze, along with a lion’s share of vegetables. I will also have to factor in the can of coconut milk I use per week which is $2.69, and then I’m not sure how I’m going to cost out tea and sparkling water.  I hope with everything included I can come in well under $100 for the full 7 days (weekends will be less expensive because I don’t seem to eat as much). 

I’d be interested in any thoughts or comments about the general cost of Paleo meals, or ways in which I can make this way of eating less expensive.  If I can’t, that’s one outcome of this exercise and I’m okay with that too!  Thoughts?

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Dollars to Donuts

Well… donuts are verboten so lets talk about dollars. 

I have a rule in my house that goes like this:

We don’t throw out food.

That’s it.  There is no food throwing out… if the porkchops end up dry and over cooked, that’s too damn bad because that’s what’s for dinner… All those veg that I steam and roast in anticipation of the week?  They’re all eaten and not a single shred of Brussels Sprouts goes to waste.

This is night and day compared to the food situation I’ve been involved in, in the past.  I hate to be wasteful and I really loathe taking out the garbage and emptying the compost so it’s in my best interest to eat that which I bring into the house and that which I cook.  That being said, I feel that there is room in my cooking and feeding routine to save some money.  Lots of money is saved, comparatively speaking, from when I had less control over my food environment and things were thrown out constantly, but I believe that I can sharpen up my current feeding tactics and make it cheaper and I have a great reason to try.

I’m planning on hiring a weight lifting coach here in town.  I just sent an email to him to give him some background of my story and see if his philosophy and gym fits with what I’m looking for.  I’m hoping that he will agree to take me on as a client and give me direction and plans so I can work out myself between our sessions. The rate is reasonable but in order to make it work in the budget, I need to try and get my food purchases to be more efficient.

So for 14 days I’m going to document everything I eat.  Not in oz or grams or calories, but in dollars to see where my meals can be made more cost effective and where I am already doing well (I think breakfast is pretty good).  I will then take these two typical weeks and create from them a food budget.

And you’re in luck!  I’m going to share that information here with recipes where applicable.  I already know I have some great cost saving meals and recipes, so I’m hoping that I can tweak and adjust them to make them very valuable in the consumption department and very invaluable in the monetary department.

I’ll also post back and let you know if the weightlifting coach is going to work out and share my journey on that with you.

If you have any money saving recipes or tips/tricks that you’d like to share, please feel free to leave them in the comments and feedback on the meals and expense will be appreciated too.  This will all start on Monday so I get two weeks and two weekends in the ‘study’, however since I eat a lot of the same stuff every week, I will start working on the math now.