It’s been a while since I’ve Cash Fasted! At the beginning of May, I decided to attempt one week without spending any money on food. On the last day of April, we did a small grocery run (<$20), but the fact is, we have a full pantry and plenty of fridge scraps that will otherwise go to waste.
Why did I choose to focus on Food & Dining for this month? This was the category in April that I overspent in the most. $648. I’ve recently increased my monthly food budget from $400 to $500, but I still went over by a lot. In general, I tend to overspend the first week of every month. Part of it is because many of my expenses like rent and fitness are front-loaded, but that’s started creeping into unnecessary expenditures as well. Without further ado, here’s how my challenge went:
Breakfast: Smoothie at home, and then a bagel and strawberries when I got into work. My office has free breakfast on Mondays and Thursdays.
Lunch: Japanese curry. I made a batch of this over the weekend as a meal prep. To reduce food fatigue (and cut the urge of dining out towards the end of the week), I’ve been trying to prep in smaller batches, so I’ll only eat the same thing 2-3 days instead of 3-4.
Snack: Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies. They’re basically Goldfish but shaped like bunnies instead of fish. At my last job, I had a hard time resisting the Cheezits. Office snacks are a real nice perk, but bad for my health.
Dinner: Acorn squash soup. I sprinkled in some black pepper, parmesan, and parsley.
Breakfast: Another smoothie! When we buy bananas, they need to be used quickly because they go brown so fast.
Snack: I snagged a mini Larabar at work.
Lunch: Curry day two. I got super grumpy because I didn’t realize until too late that Ian had finished all the rice on Day 1, so I had to eat my curry rice-less. Unacceptable.
Snack: I had so many mini bags of popcorn… the hunger was REAL.
Dinner: The rest of an acorn squash soup, and a salad. The fridge now feels much emptier.
Breakfast: My current favorite! One fried egg, half of an avocado-turned-guacamole, and a sliced banana with peanut butter on top.
Lunch: Once a month, my office caters lunch, which just happened to be day 3 of the challenge. Lucky me!
Dinner: I’m a big fan of Buzzfeed Tasty videos on Facebook. I made lentils and rice (with celery and red onion) on Day 2 which I ate for dinner Day 3.
Breakfast: Smoothie. We used up the last of the bananas.
Lunch: Lentils and rice.
Snack: Day 4 was not an exciting meal day, so it was supplemented by lots of snacks. Whoops.
Dinner: Lentils and rice.
Breakfast: Fried eggs and peanut butter. Not together (ew), but on the same plate.
Lunch: Lentils and rice, with a side of “humm-ish” that Ian made.
Dinner: To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, Ian took me out to dinner, and paid for everything so that I wouldn’t fail this challenge, haha.
Breakfast: Breakfast? What breakfast? Weekends are meant for sleeping in.
Lunch: Porridge! It’s one of Ian’s favorites and a classic comfort food for me.
Dinner: Lentils and rice.
Breakfast: Porridge again! We do try to diversify our weekend meals, but at this point, we were running pretty low on fresh food.
Lunch: Beer and taste testing the meals for the following week.
Dinner: Sesame noodles and a salad. Eating vegetables at this point in the week was long overdue, so we ended up using some of the groceries intended for next week.
Total Spent: $4.50
Day 7 fell on a Sunday, so obviously we went grocery shopping for the following week. Weekends are much better for meal prep. We ended up cooking meals for the next three days, and reinserted so much-needed vegetables back into our diets. At less than $5, I’m not going to fault myself for not perfectly completing the challenge. Also, by going straight home after work (almost) every day, I ended up not spending money on anything else, either. Win-win!