Sunday, March 13, 2011

Grocery Budget

Just in case you didn't know this already I'll just say it out loud for a reminder...
 Food is VERY expensive in Hawaii! Even more expensive if you live on one of the outer islands like we do.
I'm on a pretty strict budget again so I decided to try and get a hold on our food expenses for the month.  I went back several months to try and figure out what we were spending on average and I seriously had a meltdown when I did the math! What stresses me out is all I could factor in is what I spent on food ( because I write everything in my check register ) But, Carlos and I split a lot of our grocery bills so I know these figures are almost twice as much for our household! And that's just two us us! And I'm a vegetarian! God knows how much he's spending at coffee stops, Maui Tacos, Penne Pasta, musubi snacks, and Steinlager??!!
What also freaks me out is we've cut back A LOT on groceries and dining out since our trip back to the South last October. I don't even want to know what we were spending before. Let me just say grocery/dining out bill just about equals my rent!....And my rent is HIGH!
So... What to do!! 

Well, over the last few days I set up a strict weekly budget for us ( but Carlos bought tsunami rations and it threw us off a bit this week ). I also took major stock of our pantry, fridge, and freezer ( post coming on that soon ) and created a list of dishes that were not only inexpensive and yummy but very healthy. Unfortunately, many of my staples are better prices at different locations on island. So, to factor that in I need to coordinate Costco trips with stops at Mana foods with stops at farmer's markets.  Some of these places are over an hour away so coordination is key. ( Because my gas is also high at $4.38 gallon! )
Anyway, I will follow up with this post as time goes on. My goal is to cut our food expenses in half! This will be very challenging for us...Carlos eats a lot.
Here's a dish I love to make! It's cheap, filling and savory! It's wonderful served with some crumble feta on top but that will up the price a bit...

Spicy Roasted Veggies
2 types of potato
( I used 1 Molokai and 1 Okinawan )
1 large sweet onion ( I used Maui )
1 large apple ( I used Fuji )
3 carrots ( cheap! )
handful of dried fruit ( I used cranberries )
3 Tbs oil ( I used sunflower )
2 Tbs good balsamic vinegar
1 Tb dried thyme
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp hot chili flakes
few pinches of sea salt
cracked pepper
Preheat oven to 375. Cut all veggies in equal size cubes and toss in large bowl. Add cranberries, vinegar, oil, cinnamon, thyme, chili flakes, salt, and pepper and toss ( use my hands ). Place in large baking dish and roast for about 45-60 minutes.
I served this on top of orange and thyme infused couscous and topped with candied walnuts.


  1. I am definitely NOT jealous of your food prices. I can only imagine.

    I went shopping today and was afraid the won ton wrappers (for your ravioli's) would be expensive, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were only $2.99 for 60 (!!) so we'll be able to use the package at least 3 times!

    I'm really trying to stick to a budget from now on too. It's a generous budget, since I like to make new things every week, but I'm really trying not to go beyond $100/week for the two of us. I've already gone over during week 1 in March!

    Good luck with yours! Can't wait to hear more about it.

  2. No way! I pay $3.99 for 24! That's so awesome you can get them for that price!
    My budget is $200 a week for 2! And that's for 2 of us!! Yikes! Can you believe that's half of what we've been spending recently?! I'm scared $200 a week won't be enough! (includes dining out) Anyway I spent $105 today to start the week. We'll see how long we'll make it haha!
    When Carlos and I started dating but I lived on my own I was spending about $1200 + a month on groceries and going out! Crazy!
    Anyway, Time to get a hold on this madness :)

  3. I am afraid to see what I spend. I should look though just to see.
    Love this post. I did something really similar on Saturday!

  4. This post was super helpful because I'm in the middle of trying to get better at budgeting my groceries!!! I spend WAY too much on food every month. I never thought about making a list of delicious/inexpensive meals. That would totally help with my meal planning!