What I'm about to write isn't going to be perfect, and the calculations aren't going to be to the penny. The information was still eye opening for me, and I hope it will be for you as well.
After the first few weeks of changes in our eating habits, I had a gut feeling we were saving money on food expenses. I didn't have exact numbers to compare, but I knew it had to be true. We weren't eating out as much, and our groceries were lasting longer because of portion control. I remember reading a statement by Angela Coffman over at Grocery Shrink one time that convicted me: If you're obese, you're spending too much on groceries (my paraphrase). Ouch. (If you need help trimming your grocery budget, Angela has wonderful ideas. Check out her blog.)
I made chicken tortilla soup one night a couple of weeks ago, and I started thinking about the cost of food. A crock pot of chicken tortilla soup costs us about $10 to make. Traditionally, Joseph and I have eaten the entire batch of soup over the course of two meals, maybe three if we really made it stretch. So that's anywhere from $3.50-$5.00 per meal. When I was calculating the calories for the soup, we determined that the batch is actually 10 servings, so about $1.00 per serving or $2.00 per meal if we each only eat one serving. That's a savings of up to $3.00 per meal, and it lasts up to 5 meals rather than just 2 or 3.
The chicken tortilla soup is just one example. Another food item where we've really noticed a difference is shredded cheese. It took us no time at all to go through a bag of shredded cheese before. Now that we're measuring it, we're amazed by how long it lasts. I could go on and on with examples, but you get the point.
For us, an area of significant savings has been eating out/convenience food (we included grabbing a snack at a gas station in this category). During the 30 days prior to us starting this journey to a healthier lifestyle, we spent approximately $700 eating out or grabbing convenience food (I think sharing that number with you was harder than telling you I weighed over 300 pounds). In the month of October, that number dropped to approximately $300 (even the number of food transactions for the month, including groceries, dropped from 75 to 42). Yes, that number is still high, and we need to reign that in. Yes, some of that savings went into buying groceries, which can be more expensive when purchasing healthy food, and we need to reign that in as well. We were just excited (in a still kind of embarrassed way) that we cut our spending by about $400 in this category. Maybe I'll report back once we're doing even better.
So, all of this to say, a big part of this journey is about stewardship for us. We want to be good stewards of our bodies so we can serve the Lord better and longer in this life. A bonus has been that we're stewarding our money better as well. And hopefully we'll become better and better stewards of that money with God's help.
Has God helped you in this area or in another area that needed self-control? Maybe you're still, like us, walking with the Holy Spirit as He sanctifies you in an area. I'd love to hear your stories.
I'd also love to hear any advice you may have for trimming down the grocery budget. Like I said, Grocery Shrink is a great resource. I just need to put her advice into practice. :O)