Progress Report: Plans and Reality

We are one week into our money-saving project. Last week, I read through all of your comments. I was a little blown away by the interest in our project, and all your tips and encouragement will come in handy over the next number of weeks. It seemed pretty unanimous that $100/week is not only doable, but, in fact, pretty normal. So many of you told me that you spend pretty much that amount on food every week. On one hand, this encourages me that our project really shouldn’t be that hard. On the other hand, I wonder at how we allowed our spending to get so out of hand that $100/week seems like so little to me.

Last week didn’t go as planned. On Wednesday, we found ourselves unexpectedly headed to my parents’ place in the country, where we stayed until late Sunday night. This means we weren’t eating our own food for most of the week. On one hand, this saved us money. We hardly made a dent in the food we had bought for this week. On the other hand, there’s a fridge full of produce that was fresh last week that now needs to be sorted through and some – sadly – tossed.

Knowing that last week really wasn’t typical, let’s take a look at how we did anyway.
We went grocery shopping last Saturday – before we had even really conceived of the project – and spent just under $200. This means that there will be no grocery shopping again until this Saturday. Everything we bought must stretch two weeks – this week and last. 
I had four dinners planned for last week:
By Wednesday, we had eaten two of these meals. 
Sunday night, I had no plan, but managed to pull together delicious quesadillas from random leftover produce, cheese and salsa. Unplanned, but it may very well have been the best meal of the three days we had at home.
Monday, bean dip. I made it at lunch time and ate it for both meals, and learned one of the most important lessons, one we’ve been learning over and over and over. Later on in the day, I left the house for about half an hour, and, mistakenly, left the tortilla chips sitting on the counter. By the time I got home, most of them were gone, down Mocha’s gullet with Kingsley’s help. We ended up eating them with a few crackers instead.
Tuesday, linguine with pea pesto. I forgot about the chicken until I was almost finished the pasta, so dinner ended up a little late and was, over all, a little disappointing. Pea pesto might just not be my thing. Isabel loved it though, which is also important. I had enough of this left over that we could eat it for a quick lunch before we hit the road on Wednesday. 
Obviously, we managed to stay under $100, but not necessarily by our own doing. Life can complicate plans. While we saved this week, it could have easily gone the other way. There must be room for life in our budget, but I believe that, as we continue to save and learn, and handle our budget carefully during normal times, the times when we can’t pay attention to it are much more easily managed. 
Now, we’re in a new week. I need to clean out our kitchen, assessing what we have and what meals I can pull together from it. Because we’ve already spent this week’s budget, we won’t be stepping foot into a grocery store until Saturday. How do you manage groceries when you go over budget one week? How do you keep track of your spending? Any favourite budgeting apps I should consider?
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