Thursday, April 21, 2011

Week 15: Project Food Budget -- Saving by Making

Week 15 of Reluctant Vegetarian's Project: Food Budget

Goal: $75
Actual: $110.85

One of the reasons I'm participating in this project is because of my new year's goal to try to save money by making more food from scratch. I've been trying to avoid packaged foods as much as possible and making my own food using whole, nutritious ingredients. So how have I done for the past 15 weeks? As Larry David would say, "Pretty, pretty, pretty good!" (You have to be a Curb fan.)
  • I bake my own whole-wheat bread every week. Not only does it save money ($16 after 6 loaves), but it's easy, tastes so much better than store-bought bread, and healthier because I know exactly what ingredients are going into it.
  • I make my own vegetable stock and freeze it. It's as simple as throwing leftover veggies into the slow cooker, and it freezes well. Because so many things call for vegetable stock, it's a big money saver.
  • I buy dried beans and cook them when I need them. Not that a can of beans breaks the bank, but it is ridiculously inexpensive to cook my own beans.
  • I rarely buy lunch anymore. I used to get takeout at least twice a week. Now I cook so much that it's rare I don't have leftovers for lunch.
If I can make it, I won't buy it packaged, and that definitely saves money. Up until this year, I used to constantly buy hummus. Now the idea of buying hummus when it's so easy to make is just crazy to me. And the things that are a little harder or time consuming to make, like pita pockets, are fun for me.

The one packaged item I buy regularly is soymilk. I know you can make your own, but I haven't tried it. I also buy packaged pasta when I know you can make your own, but I don't often buy it. Maybe at some point I'll make my own, but I'm happy that I've come a long way in a short time and make most things from scratch.

This week's budget went mainly for test recipes for the next Happy Herbivore cookbook. With just two weeks to go, there's lots of testing to do, hence my overage for this week because I've been cooking so much. I also bought ingredients for a Mediterranean Bowl for a few meals and some Happy Herbivore Scrambled Tofu.

How did everyone else do this week?


  1. love the 15-week recap. looks like this has been a great experience. {for us too}.

  2. I need to make my own veggie are so right about it getting very expensive. I'm trying to make more things myself too.

  3. This project has done a lot of the same things for us, and it's been great. I just started making veggie stock (already did the bread and dried beans), and it's amazing how much it saves. I can't believe I used to pay $4 a carton for it!

    I'm with you on the pasta - it's one of those things that isn't that expensive and saves time to buy...