Thursday, January 24, 2008

Operation: Dinner In (December Recap)

Operation: Dinner In was not a complete success. My plan was to boost our grocery spending from $500/mo to $700/mo and eliminate dining out. I planned weekly menus and shopped for groceries accordingly, but house guests and breakfast at Lucile's a few too many times wreaked havoc on our budget. Here is the food spending breakdown (all numbers are exact thanks to Quicken):

  • Dining - all food purchased at a restaurant or other eatery (like Dairy Queen) goes in this category: $506
  • Groceries: $971.69
This month I stuck closer to the grocery budget ($693.84), but dining totals are still pretty high ($444.59) and we're going to Aspen this weekend so I expect to spend at least $150 more for food.

I may be able to reduce that number if we pack our own lunches. Still, I'm worried our overall dining totals will stay high until I graduate and have more time to cook family meals. I can become hyper-vigilant about planning meals over the weekend, but I know me, and I know I will succumb to laziness. But, if you have suggestions for how I can stay true to my budget while balancing kids, work, and school, please let me know!


Law Student Hot Mama said...

I don't know where you live, but there are these sort of food preparation places all over the place that are awesome. The one I used to use all the time is "Dream Dinners." (I stopped going there because my husband left for Iraq, so there aren't enough people to eat the food). Anyway, you go once a month and prepare a bunch of food in advance, freeze it, and then just cook it when you want it. It's awesome - all you have to buy are the sides. It's surprisingly economical, too, because when you're making the food, you're only paying for your teaspoon of garlic that you need instead of buying the whole container of garlic. Love it!

grass said...

One that works for us is to prep the meals the night before, after eating. That way we're not tempted to eat out just because making dinner is too much work and everyone's hungry.

LawSchoolMom said...

Great ideas. I like the idea of picking up already prepped food (we have places around here like that). I think the prices are pretty reasonable.

@grass: prepping for the next night after dinner is not going to happen. We barely have enough energy to clean the kitchen after dinner, but thanks for the suggestion.

Anonymous said...

hi, great to find your blog. i'm a full time law student-businesswoman mom here in the philippines. it's so great to find people going through the same experience here. do you guys have a blogging network for law school moms? would like to join.

i'll add you to my links. hope you can do the same for my site, thanks!