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    I spent $124 in a month on groceries—here’s exactly what I purchased, and what I made

    A couple of weeks ago, CNBC Make It profiled Carly DeFelice, a 38-year-old community manager at a co-working space in Austin, Texas, who makes about $58,000 per 12 months. DeFelice can be the founder of economic management course Best Money Class Ever, and a variety of things about her monthly budget may stick out to those seeking to get their spending under control.

    For one, her total housing and utility cost is just $792, because of the undeniable fact that DeFelice lives in an RV that she owns outright. She merely pays for so much rental, propane, water and electricity.

    But what really caught readers’ eyes was DeFelice’s food budget. In September of this 12 months, DeFelice spent $124 at grocery stores, including a takeout meal from one market’s kitchen. As for household staples and ingredients she used to cook, she spent $113.

    In response to some readers’ skepticism over her food spending, DeFelice has taken to Instagram to map out her grocery spending and meal planning for September, providing a take a look at her weekly money journal and receipts from her grocery trips.

    DeFelice keeps her grocery budget slim by creating an inventory that can cover only the meals she needs for the upcoming week. Meaning she will think about that she plans to eat lunch at a work-sponsored Taco Tuesday or that she’s going out to dinner with a friend.

    The $112.75 DeFelice spent on staples and ingredients doesn’t cover each meal she had for a month. She paid about $61 in September for restaurant dining and takeout. Some meals were free. Some pantry staples she already had readily available. Occasionally, she ate at an event, the whole cost of which we filed under “entertainment and celebrations” in her budget.

    Entertainment costs, together with food and gas come out of $120 in money DeFelice withdraws each week to place toward what she calls “operation expenses.” The groceries are only one piece of that spending puzzle.

    In other words, this is not some sort of grocery budget challenge — it’s someone’s real life.

    Read on for DeFelice’s complete grocery list for the month of September, together with a summary of all the pieces she ate. Click on the totals to review her videos, including receipts, on Instagram.

    Week 1

    • Bananas: $1.19
    • Granola bars: $2.18
    • Pot stickers: $7.98
    • Broccoli: $1.85
    • Chocolate chips: $1.99
    • Frozen lemonade: $1.68
    • Sprite: $1.86
    • Orange juice: $2.14
    • Sales tax: $0.29
    • Total: $21.16

    This week began on Labor Day weekend, and DeFelice had a time out with friends for which she prepared a vodka slush, mixing the lemonade, Sprite and orange juice she purchased with liquor she already had. She also made “energy balls” from oatmeal, peanut butter and honey she had readily available, together with the chocolate chips she bought.

    Breakfast for the week was oatmeal, granola and banana.

    Potstickers and broccoli were combined with previously purchased rice for the week’s lunches.

    Dinners were slightly more cobbled together. DeFelice had leftovers from the previous weekend’s potluck, an $11 takeout rice bowl, an $11.85 meal out with a friend which yielded leftovers for the following night, and a few meals while hanging out with family — each at her brother’s birthday celebration and at a Saturday hangout together with her parents.

    Week 2

    • Slider buns: $2.84
    • Cotton pads: $2.19
    • Shrimp: $5.77
    • Spinach: $1.63
    • Turkey: $3.48
    • Bananas: $1.23
    • Colby jack cheese: $1.99
    • Apples: $5.13
    • Avocados: $1.16
    • Frosted shredded wheat: $2.94
    • Milk: $1.58
    • Eggs: $1.54
    • Sales tax: $0.18
    • Total: $31.66

    DeFelice knew there have been just a few meals she would not must cook this week. On Wednesday night, she went to a comedy club with friends and acquired dinner out. Thursday was a work-funded completely happy hour with pizza for dinner. And on Friday she attended a wine and cheese night with friends and had the proverbial “girl dinner” of assembled snacks.

    The major breakfast that week was cereal and bananas. For lunch, it was turkey and cheese sliders with avocado and apples. A shrimp rice bowl with spinach was on the menu for dinner.

    Week 3

    • Frosted shredded wheat: $2.94
    • Bananas: $1.19
    • Apples: $3.31
    • Plastic storage bags: $1.78
    • Tomatoes: $0.19
    • Colby jack cheese: $1.99
    • Onions: $0.66
    • Bagged salad: $3.98
    • Tortillas: $2.44
    • Chicken tenders: $5.09
    • Garlic: $0.60
    • Turkey: $3.48
    • Rice: $1.77
    • Sales tax: $0.15
    • Total: $29.57

    DeFelice didn’t must plan for lunch on Tuesday this week, because it was Taco Tuesday at work.

    She made breakfast tacos for herself on the weekends, bookending weekday breakfasts of cereal and banana. Aside from her taco lunch, DeFelice stuck with sliders with either salad or apples. The dinner of the week was a chicken burrito with rice, onions, tomatoes and garlic.

    Week 4

    • Bananas: $1.36
    • Soap: $1.98
    • Frosted shredded wheat: $2.94
    • Pasta: $1.12
    • Spinach: $1.63
    • Tortillas: $2.44
    • Apples: $3.20
    • Tomatoes: $0.33
    • Yogurt: $3.69
    • Broccoli: $1.39
    • Mozzarella cheese: $1.99
    • Salt: $0.64
    • Garlic: $0.60
    • Milk: $1.86
    • Chicken tenders: $5.03
    • Sales tax: $0.16
    • Total: $30.36

    This week, DeFelice got a donut breakfast in addition to dinner covered on Wednesday because of an event at her office. She also spent $30.69 for dinner and drinks out together with her friend at an Oktoberfest celebration on Saturday.

    Except for the donuts, DeFelice had either breakfast tacos or cereal and bananas for breakfast.

    She spent $10.80 for takeout lunch on Sunday. Other lunches included turkey pinwheels with yogurt and an apple. The week’s major dinner was chicken pesto pasta with broccoli.



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