That's Navy Life

My October Challenge

I’ve noticed recently that food takes up a GIANT part of my week. I meal plan. I clip coupons. I try to budget (failed again yesterday …boo). I cook at home more than ever. I wake up early to make lunches, and I lie awake thinking about ways to save.

But this week … this week I hit rock bottom. I spent a good 5 minutes debating with myself over which juice box to buy for Alli’s turn at preschool snack time. It’s “C” week … should I buy Hi-C (which has a butt ton of sugar but actually says the letter of the week) or Capri Sun (which has much less sugar but only has the letter C in the name). Seems like a simple choice, but I actually stood there weighing out the merits of each. 

On top of all that I realized that my weekly Grocery Challenge post is the most regular post on my blog. I haven’t had a DIY Friday in weeks. I’m only sporadically Okay on Tuesdays. I’m working on My Five Things as a regular bit, but it doesn’t feel quite right just yet. And sadly that vast majority of my food obsessing is about the money, which is not really where I want my focus to be. I want to feed my family better, healthier foods. I want to try new things. I want to add variety to our meals and re-learn the art of enjoying food. Saving money is wonderful, but I think in September I went a little nuts. 

Sigh … this is a problem. So I’ve made a bit of a decision about food. Contrary to yesterday’s post, I’m changing my goals.

I’m letting go of my budget goal for the month of October.

What?!? Huh?!? Didn’t you start this whole thing to try to spend less money? 

Well, yes, but I think my original goal was unrealistic, and even though having a goal has made me more mindful of what I’m spending at the commissary, it has also made me feel terrible each time I spend a few extra bucks on food. This month I want to focus on planning healthy meals, and at the end of the month, I will make a new budget goal that is based on REALITY and that doesn’t make me feel like crap at the register.

But that’s the point right?!? To make you stop spending?!? To save money?!?

Well, yes, but I actually have saved money. We ate fast food a LOT less in September which for my family of five is close to $40 per meal. Also I have made a lot less “quick trips” to the store which usually cost me another $30 regardless of what I’m supposed to be buying. I am MUCH more aware of my spending which is GREAT!

So what ARE my October goals?

#1 – Continue to meal plan.

My Week 1 Menu looks like this:

  • Meatball subs and tater tos
  • Chicken Parm over pasta
  • Pork chops, mashed potatoes, and broccoli
  • Baked potato soup & Mozzarella bread
  • Spaghetti and meatballs
  • Philly cheese steak and fries
  • Leftovers or pizza (we’ll see how the week goes …)

Two of these are new recipes! WOOHOO!

I’m also trying a few make ahead options for lunches (homemade uncrustables, cutting veggies two or three days at a time, and pre-portioning nuts and crackers). That’s all about keep it healthy but also saving me some time. I’d rather spend that time in the morning enjoying my kids.

#2 – Continue to learn about couponing.

I saved $15.70 with coupons yesterday! This was a great week for coupons!

#3 – Zero fast food in October.

We will have a family night with pizza delivery at some point, but I’m banning McD’s, Burger King,  and even Subway. Fingers crossed, praying for my waistline!

#4 – Lunch with my sailor!

We live to far from the base for Josh to come home for lunch so he eats out almost every day. This month I’m trying to convince him to let me make his lunch or bring lunch for us to eat together. He’s not sold on this idea yet, but I’m working on it. 🙂 If we even tried this twice a week, we’d save nearly a good deal!

I still want to save money, and I am still holding myself accountable. (I spent $139 yesterday if you were wondering, still $24 over my goal.) I just want to also be able to celebrate our successes (eating at home, less fast food) as much as I kick myself about my fails.

So what about you? Do you obsess about food like me? Anyone? ANYONE?!?


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