Does anyone else feel like it’s been January for a thousand years? It’s not that it’s been dragging, but when I think about what I did the first week of the month, it feels like it’s been a lifetime. I think that was the week I made mac and cheese? I think I went to Zoolights? And now this is my third meal prep post? Crazy! Anyway, one of the common comments that has come up when I talk about my meal prep has been “I don’t know if I could eat the same thing every day”. I get that. Not everyone is a creature of habit as much as me. So this week is all about having different stuff daily! Please enjoy the $60 buffet meal prep.
Happy Wednesday, everyone! We’re officially a third of the way through the month – how!? It feels like it’s, like, January 4. Is this just how it is now that we’re adults? And speaking of being adults – how are you all doing with your goals and hopes and dreams this new year? (Or how are you doing living in your flop era? We embrace both choices at A Flimsy Plan.) I’m doing… medium, which is to be expected, and I’ll elaborate a bit below before I get into this week’s groceries/meal plan wrap up. Which I’m super excited about because it’s a $60 meal plan… but it features Hello Fresh! (Not sponsored, I just get excited when I get to have Hello Fresh.)
I think this might be the first time I’ve ever had a requested post in all the years I’ve been writing this blog. You guys, I’ve finally made it! I almost feel… nervous? (Actually, that’s a total lie. I’m never nervous about anything I post on this blog because I save my nerves for real life drama, obvi.) Anyway, if you checked out my Word of the Year post (or, honestly, if you know me at all), you know that I’m doing a (modified) no-spend challenge this January. And every January. We set goals, we share confessions and support throughout the month, and we give ourselves grace.
The reason I mention this is because I set a $50-60/week grocery budget and people went wild. In a very mature and subdued way. How could this be!? Give me your secrets! And… um… that’s what this post is. This is my $50 grocery budget meal plan.
In a shocking turn of events, I’m delayed writing up my Week Two Recap and it’s already Wed, Oct 31. Halloween! I’m a deer! (If I get a cute picture and not just a poorly lit picture in my office, I’ll post it on the A Flimsy Plan insta.) With this spoooooky season coming to a close, let’s hit up another recap of my Fit Girls journey! (Syntax? What’s syntax? I’m not fixing that sentence!)
If there’s one thing my readers know about me, it’s that I’m an actress. Oh no, wait, that’s not what this post is about… Let’s start over. If there’s one thing my readers know about me, it’s that I love challenges. Challenges are essentially the only way I actually achieve anything in life because I truly thrive on external validation. (Hashtag, maybe not the best quality? Hashtag love yourself?) Anyway, today is a not a deep dive into my psyche, today is a recap of the first week of my most recent challenge – Fit Girls Guide‘s 28 Day Jumpstart.
I keep thinking I skipped writing about No-Spend Week Three and I’ve messed up – and then I realize that I’m currently in Week Four and April has just been a bit of a runaway blur. I still have over a week left! I should be less smug about “no-spend”.
- Truth time: I bought a set of chairs and a new couch last week. (Note: Couch was bought on my mom’s HBC credit card so she can get points and I will be reimbursing her when the bill comes due, so not until May.)
This is literally the opposite of “No Spend”.
But hear me out! I’ve been looking for a new living room set since last summer. Despite being a fully functional adult and actually having a pretty cute house, I’ve never actually picked out my own, new furniture and bought it. Right around January, I picked out the chairs I liked at Ikea and the couch/chaise I loved at The Bay. Since then, I’ve just been waiting for a good price and, coincidentally, Ikea had a living room sale and The Bay put their couches on sale for 55% off, which is the best sale I’ve seen since the summer.
So, since this spend was from savings, it’s something that I would have spent a ton more on if I waited until May and it was mindful… I think it fits into the philosophy of “No-Spend April”.
- This week also contained my pre-selected social outing – it was my friend’s 30th birthday and his girlfriend planned a whole surprise day for him (board game café, beer and chip tasting, Escape Room, Pin Bar). To be honest, I originally wasn’t going to go. I even texted her and was like “Ugggh, it’s No Spend Month!” And then I thought about it. About how I would probably regret it if I missed it, about how I shouldn’t be an anti-social shut in, about how I had budgeted myself one night out this month. And about how, really, life is about moderation and normally I would go out every weekend and have so many self-dates so I was still doing better. So I went and it was so much fun and so good to see my friends.
The No Spends
Groceries were $23 this week and I’m just killing it.
Maybe because I did purchase my new living room set this week (though it won’t be moving in until early June), but this month really isn’t feeling like a No Spend Month anymore. Not in that I’m spending a ton, but I’m just not feeling deprived, which is what I expected. It’s really just about making better choices about what I’m spending my money on and focusing on my goals.
I think I’m going to continue with a No Spend May (I have waaaaay too much stuff in my pantry still that I need to cook through), excluding a shopping day with Claire for my upcoming Vegas trip. I have finally found a roommate that I like, who will be moving in for May, which means a little help on the household expenses, but I don’t want to be going too wild just because of that. Gotta save for the future. Be the ant and not the grasshopper and all that.
I am two days behind on the challenge and I am totally okay with that. I am getting so much better at finding the space in my day and prioritizing my yoga. 30 days to make a habit, right?
Week Two! Coming in late because I spend the weekend in the mountains and now I have hives. Which I suppose is helping me do my no-spend month?? (The hives, I mean, not the mountains. Well, maybe the mountains too.)
- I mean, I guess I spent $12 getting my allergy meds for my hives? But I think Blue Cross is going to ultimately reimburse me for that and also I feel like hives is a medical emergency so it fits in my criteria.
- As alluded to above, I spent the weekend in the mountains and did spend $28 on Saturday night on drinks for myself and my mom. She bought me dinner that night, drove us out to the mountains (thereby using her gas) and also bought me Macdonald’s to eat in the car so I was feeling guilty that my mom was taking care of me as a 30 year old woman. I had to pull my own weight, at least a little bit!
- Also, this challenge is all about making better choices with my money and I think I did that. A weekend in the mountains could normally be significantly more expensive!
- Groceries this week went significantly over the $30 budget at $44 – but I was under budget last week at $20 and I think some of the things I picked up this week will roll into next so I’m not too fussed. As long as I hit around $120 for the month, I’m happy.
I’m feeling quite pleased with myself still. I definitely think announcing/blogging about the No Spend month has helped, as my friends have been super supportive and suggesting all kinds of fun things we can do for no money. It really is easier to be fun and frugal than I had convinced myself that it would be and I think I can see myself continuing this lifestyle into the future.
I should mention here that I did purchase a Newbie month at HotShop Yoga and Spin – I typically pay quite a bit more in fitness memberships and had placed all of them on hold for the month, then found that I missed the fitness class setting. I count this as a win – I get to try somewhere new and I’m still being fiscally prudent. I’ve just discovered that it’s not reasonable for me to completely cut fitness spending out of my budget, unless my financial situation makes it absolutely necessary.
I also cashed in some Shoppers Optimum points during the bonus points event this past weekend to replace some “essentials” that were running on fumes – hairspray, deodorant, primer potion so my eyelids won’t be forever shimmery. Success!
I continue to love the TRUE challenge – there is nothing like turning off all the lights, lighting a candle and settling in for half an hour on my mat each night. I think once this 30 day challenge is done, I’ll try to create my own daily at home practice by combining various other Yoga with Adriene videos. Maybe I’ll eventually feel comfortable enough to create my own flows!
It’s recap time! Because we’re one week into No Spend April already. WOO! Week One! (Also, I totally didn’t take pictures of my meal prep this week. Hopefully that’s not actually something you want.)
Blah blah blah, mortgage, cell phone, condo fees property tax… who cares? Let’s get down to the things I can control!
1. My gas gamble didn’t work – gas went up by four cents and I had to fill up this weekend. Meh.
2. Groceries only cost $19 this week! I have a rice and bean recipe that I am obsessed with and my pantry was already stocked with carrots, peas, onion and rice so I mostly just made a huge batch of that and then supplemented with some burrito bowl fixings. Delicious.
3. … I went to the Make It Market with my mom on Saturday and spent $40.
You Spent $40!?
Calm down, internet. I spent $40 and I don’t feel bad about it. I bought a one-of-a-kind art piece, created by a local artisan. For about six months, I’ve been trying to put together a wall in my kitchen – it currently has a chalkboard and a canvas print on it and I really want to hang up a corkboard that I already have for organizational purposes. However, this wall needs a something else to help balance the proportions… and I finally found something! After months of looking! I can finally not have my corkboard just leaning up against my wall in my kitchen.
I feel fine with this purchase because it was conscious and mindful. In months of looking, I hadn’t found anything I liked and I spent a ton of time weighing out the purchase before making it while at the Market. (I also didn’t buy any craft distilled liquors or tiny rings like I vaguely wanted to, so… winning.)
The No Spends
I know, that’s not an actual phrase, but I’m using it.
One of my biggest expenses is eating out. Part of it is that I love trying out new restaurants, with or without other people, but another part of it is just habit. I used to travel for work and I got super used to sitting at the bar in a restaurant with a book and a glass of wine to unwind. I got super used to grabbing a Chopped Leaf bowl on my way home from the gym because it was quick and healthy, and I was starving. Like I wrote about the tuna melt last week, a lot of what I did was just so easy and relatively inexpensive… but easy and inexpensive adds up, yo!
Right now, I think I’m still riding on the high of being oh so virtuous. It feels good to clear out my pantry and to go home to eat the meals I prepped. (Note: Old!Erin would totally have prepped meals and still gone out to eat anyway… that’s why it’s nice to have the “challenge” element to lean on.)
Oh my gosh, you guys, I am loving the Yoga With Adriene TRUE challenge. It reminds me a bit of being back in university and getting in touch with all the elements of myself – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. I will note: I don’t recommend this challenge if you just want to “work out”. Though there are definitely some challenging physical elements, this is really about developing a yoga practice and figuring out what it means to you.
I did miss a day of the challenge – on Friday, I spent the night at my parents’ house, having a railway night (long story), and then I spent a day out with my mom on Saturday, going straight to my Saturday night plans. I had thought I’d be home by 10 pm or so, then being able to unwind with a little yoga, but that was not to be. In an amazing moment of kismet, Adriene actually spoke about how we have to develop our own practice, how it make take some of us longer than 30 days to complete the challenge and how we have to celebrate ourselves… during the session I wasn’t able to complete on Saturday and ended up doing on Sunday night. How perfect!
Well, my friends, I’m two days into No Spend April and I haven’t goofed it up. Yet. (I would really hope that I wouldn’t mess up in two days, but… you know. If I hadn’t publicly announced to the entire world that I was doing a No Spend Month, I probably definitely would have popped on over to the original Sunterra after my Lagree class on Monday to grab one of their tuna melt paninis. Only $6.99! Such a good deal! Those things are like crack.)
Okay, but let’s talk about the fact that if I get a tuna panini every week, that’s $28 a month and that is basically my entire grocery budget for a week.
Also, I’m definitely almost out of eyeshadow primer and am going to be rocking a real shimmery eye for most of the month because I do still have a bunch of the Sin Urban Decay Primer Potion left. And I should use that stuff.
Anyway, thus far I immediately had to get gas on the first – only $25 worth because I was convince the price of gas was going to go down and I could get a marginally better deal later in the week. (Sidenote: I was correct. It went down by about two cents. I could probably save a full $2!)
I also technically picked up my groceries for the week on March 31, because I was out running errands with my mom and she had to go to Superstore anyway. Full disclosure: I spent $34. It was all the nutritional yeast and the cashews’ fault!
But the yeast will last for longer than the entire month and the cashews are both delicious for snacks and earned me 1200 Optimum points towards free groceries. And $34 is pretty close to $30, so I’m not going to complain.
I live by meal prep so I made peanut butter and berry oats for breakfast the week (you can see the berries above, though I did mix them with the dregs of a few packs that were just languishing in the freezer) and chicken stirfry bowls for lunch for the week (all I had to pick up for that was the spinach and frozen veg – I had herbed chicken, basmati rice and all the sauces kicking around all ready).
Dinner is chaos, I’ve discovered I’m obsessed with the new Green Giant cauliflower tots, they’re all I want to eat ever anymore and I’m sure they’re secretly terrible for me so please don’t destroy my dreams. Also, I will be so sad when the package that I weirdly hoarded in my freezer for no reason at all runs out, because those things are expensive if they’re not on sale. And I’d try to make my own, but cauliflower is expensive too, yo.
An Incredibly Important Question
Do you guys want to see pictures of my meal prep? Is that a thing people like?