I'm pretty sure that friends have always suspected I was a little bit crazy. Now I have given them even more reason to want to put me in the looney bin. This month, I read the book “It Starts with Food” because I wanted to become better informed about the food I was eating and it's effect on my body.
After reading the effect that too much sugar and processed food can have on the body, I was freaked out and immediately convinced to cut every bit of unhealthy food out of my diet for 30 days. I wasn't motivated by weight loss, but by the hope of a long and healthy life. This dietary shift is called the “Whole30” and it comes with a whole host of rules and LIST of things that I cannot eat.
See? Told ya people think I'm crazy.
I'm not one to care of people think I'm a little bit off my rocker. I'm actually used to it. You don't get to air your $180,000 in debt financial dirty laundry on the internet (for the whole WORLD to see) without a lot of people thinking that you are a little nutty. Dave Ramsey calls us weirdos and Rob and I wear that title like a badge of honor. So it's not the crazy thing that bothers me.
As I was reading up on the Whole30 and trying to figure out what the heck I would eat for the next 30 days, I began to think about all of my favorite foods that I was preparing to give up. Cheese. Coffee creamer. Bread. Black beans. Wine. I was trying desperately to come to terms with the fact that every cup of coffee I would consume during my Whole30 was going to be black coffee.
Then I went grocery shopping and I REALLY started to freak out.
Why, you ask?
Because in addition to the long list of foods that I need to say goodbye to during my 30 day healthfest, I also need to start saying HELLO to some really important foods. Like cage free eggs, pasture raised beef, and organic fruits and vegetables. The program recommends eating the highest quality foods that you can find (and afford). Meats and eggs are especially important, but the authors also suggest consuming as much organic produce as possible because the pesticides that non-organic produce is treated with can really do a number on your health as well.
I purchased my first round of food and nearly fainted in line at the checkout counter. I always knew that organic food was more expensive, but I was still so surprised at how quickly it added up. As it turns out, the best way to forget about all of the food can't eat for a month is to run out to the grocery store and start buying the healthy stuff. Suddenly, all of that junk food became the least of my concerns!
These are my grocery receipts from the first half of January.
So what does all of this mean for my budget? It means some serious rearranging!
When I created my January budget, I was already aware that I would be spending more money than usual at the grocery store. I also didn't plan on going out to eat at all during the month (there's no rule against dining out while on the Whole30 but I'm too nervous that I will accidentally eat something I'm not supposed to and have to start all over again). So I took the money I would usually spend at restaurants and added that to my “grocery” envelope.
I also allocated less money than usual for some of my sinking funds to give myself a little more grocery money. Notably: gifts, car savings and entertainment money.
I usually allocate about $260 for food each month (groceries and restaurants combined). When Rob and I sat down to work on our January budgets, I placed $442 in my grocery budget for the month. I crossed my fingers and hoped that would be enough to get me through my Whole30.
As it turns out, I may still need extra grocery money. Even with the changes, $106 is all that remains of my January grocery budget. Some items I purchased early on are still in my freezer (organic chicken breasts and frozen spinach) or pantry (coconut oil, almond butter, vinegar and extra light olive oil) so my envelope isn't likely to take as big of a hit during the second half of the month, but it's hard to say. This is literally all the cash that remains. If it runs out, I will have to pull money from other areas of my budget. One thing is certain, I will not spend more than I make.
The key to succeeding at any budget is to have a plan. If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. If I need extra cash for groceries this month, I am already looking at my budget and trying to figure out where I can cut back. Thankfully, gas prices are still down and I am fairly certain I will have a surplus in that category this month. I had also set aside $50 in my clothing budget for a new pair of pants. I will probably wait to buy the pants in February and put my clothing fund towards food this month.
Trying to find extra money in your monthly budget is always a challenge and often involves sacrificing other things you want. It's important to set your budget before the first of the month and devise a plan. As unexpected expenses arise (such as overspending on groceries during the month), it's ok to go back and revise your budget. Dave Ramsey calls these moments “Emergency Budget Meetings.” Doing the Whole30 is certainly going to alter my January budget but it's not the end of the world. With a little rearranging, my budget and I are back on track.