Our October Food Budget – And Saving for a Short-Term Goal

As I mentioned last week, we exceeded our food budget in September by nearly $100. Not good. Not good at all.

Fortunately we underspent in other categories to absorb about $40 of our overage, but there is still another $60 that we’ll need to make up for this month. Which means it’s belt-tightening time.

Adding to the challenge is that we have set our regular food budget back down to $500 – even though we have all of Sukkot to cook and host for! It’s going to be a bit challenging around here, but I think we’re up for it.

We do have several things going in our favor:

  • We have two $20 vouchers to Whole Foods from that Living Social deal last month – $40 at Whole Foods can stretch rather far when you shop sales and use coupons.
  • We have a $70 check to Costco, which is our “cash-back” bonus from our Executive AmEx membership. This check isn’t included in the $700, so we should be able to get most of our monthly stock-ups for “free” (i.e. using that check).
  • We have a rather full fridge and freezer, thanks to Rosh Hashana shopping and cooking. Which means I can focus most of my shopping this month on fresh produce and dairy (barring today’s bread stock-up!). Look for some rather inventive menu planning ideas, as we eat from our pantry, fridge and freezer.

And there is one last thing going in our favor… I’ve got a new short-term goal!

Remember when I told you that I find far-off goals like retirement really hard to relate to? And that to keep myself motivated and focused, I need a short-term savings goal?

Well, lately, I’ve found myself rather floundering without a short-term goal. Fortunately a call from my BFF in Australia re-awoke my passion for saving, saving, saving.

My friend is coming to America next year with her entire family – and I am DETERMINED to meet up with her… in Disney World! It’s been four years since we’ve seen each other and I can.not.wait! Plus, I’m sure our kids will hardly complain about taking their first trip to Disney World.

Frankie and I decided to set a savings goal of $3,000, which breaks down to $300 per month over the next 10 months. That’s a LOT of money for us, and probably more than we’ll need, but I like to have a little cushion – especially since there will likely be months that we just can’t eek $300 out of the budget.

To make this happen, we’re cutting our “blow money”, personal care (fewer hair cuts) and food categories. We may find more cuts are needed as well – or, perhaps our income will miraculously go up?!

Either way, when we get to hang out with our friends — and high-five Mickey — next summer, I think it’ll all be worth it!

Have you adjusted your food budget for the month of October? How will your Sukkot plans impact your budgeting? Do you have any exciting short-term savings goals that you’re currently working toward?


  1. how did you account for the purchase of the whole foods groupon deal? does that come out of the food budget line or something else?

    • Good question. Mine was free (with referrals), and yes, DH’s came out of the food budget. Sometimes these things are fungible – but ultimately, they have to come from *somewhere*, you know?

  2. I am embarrassed to say we haven’t finalized our Oct budget yet, what with the holidays and all. So today or tomorrow I’m going to work things out – But I anticipate a MUCH tighter food budget (despite sukkos) due to going over in Sept for groceries by several hundred dollars, plus buying a sukkah which we didn’t have any savings to cover (I didn’t want to tap into our very limited savings). So in October I am going to do whatever I have to do to make up for the sukkah and the grocery overage from September.

  3. It’s so great that you have a goal like that to work towards. Happy saving!

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