I Gave Myself a $100 Budget for the Week
Money

I Gave Myself a $100 Budget for the Week

IS A $100 WEEKLY BUDGET DIFFICULT? MAYBE. IMPOSSIBLE? NOT EVEN CLOSE.

When I resigned myself to spending only $100 in a week, I didn’t have much faith I’d actually be able to carry it out. How would I eat? Would I have to sacrifice my social life!? Turns out, it’s not so hard. I made room for entertainment, food and drink, and shopping along the way. Check out my weeklong finance log to find out how I did it.

MONDAY

Morning: I applaud myself for my breakfast choice—oatmeal, peanut butter toast, and milk. A pretty nutritious way to energize yourself for the day, if you ask me. These are staples I always have on hand—they last awhile and they’re cheap, especially if you grab oatmeal or peanut butter on a BOGO deal. Sometimes I have fruit in my oatmeal, but I’m out and this might have to go on the chopping block of grocery items this week. 

Afternoon: For lunch, I compensate for my healthy breakfast by eating a Stouffer’s mac-n-cheese that’s been sitting in my freezer. Hey, it was my only option. Since I was out of town the previous weekend, my fridge and pantry are a little more thin than I would like. Alas, I’ll have to go to the grocery store after work. Does anyone else detest running errands post­–work? 

Evening: Time for the weekly grocery run. First, I stop at Trader Joes where the fruits and veggies are significantly cheaper. I pick up bananas, a bag of apples, and a green pepper. I usually make pack sandwiches for lunch, but I’m getting burned out on those, so I get a frozen two-pack of quesadillas. $8.22

Next up is Publix. I get dinner staples, including a three-pack of organic chicken (this is the one thing I always splurge on, because who wants those artificial growth hormones, you know?) and a five-pack of Italian sausage, both of which will last me more than a week of dinner, especially since I have frozen meatballs in my freezer from last week. I have rice and pasta at home, but pick up two noodle sides on a BOGO deal and a can of beef-vegetable soup. I guess I should eat vegetables, so I grab a bag of fresh green beans, which tend to last me awhile. And I can’t say no to BOGO cheese (I’m an addict), so that makes its way into my cart. $20.33

Night: I make breaded chicken (I always have breadcrumbs on hand) green beans, and an alfredo side for dinner. I’m exhausted from the weekend, so I spend the rest of the night catching up on my shows and snacking on crackers and my new cheese.

Whether it’s the office donuts or your boyfriend’s meat sauce, find free food where you can.

TUESDAY

Morning: Oatmeal, peanut butter toast, and milk for breakfast.

Afternoon: I eat the rest of last night’s alfredo with bread and a banana for lunch, followed by an apple later on for a snack.

Evening: My friend wants to meet for happy hour. I get one drink for $4, since I don’t know where the rest of the week will take me. Once I’m home, I make last week’s meatballs with spaghetti. I spend the rest of the night doing freelance work and snacking on crackers and my new cheese. $5.07

WEDNESDAY

Morning: Oatmeal, peanut butter toast, and milk for breakfast. Again. 

Afternoon: I eat a quesadilla and banana (yes, I know they don’t really go together) for lunch, followed by a post-snack apple again.

Evening: Things are about to get tough. I have to go to Target for paper towels and dish soap, and it’s practically impossible to walk in there and leave with only what you intended to buy. At least this isn’t one of those months where I run out of everything at once.

Forty minutes later, I walk out of Target with one roll of paper towels that have no strength (in hindsight, never again), the cheapest dish soap I could find and…a new top. At least the skincare addict in me had the courage to put down the $30 Laneige emulsion. And I have Target Red Card, which gives me 5% off, so that totally justifies the splurge. Right? $22.21 

Night: I make cheesy garlic chicken, alfredo, and green beans for dinner. More freelance work follows. 

THURSDAY

Morning: As if it’s any surprise—oatmeal, peanut butter toast, and milk for breakfast. Little do I know, there are donuts waiting for me (well, everyone) at the office. 

Afternoon: I eat the whole can of soup for lunch with bread, cheese, and a banana. Followed by an apple.

Evening: I make Italian sausage, pasta, and sauce for dinner with garlic bread I bought the previous week (on BOGO, naturally). Thursday is Shondaland, which obviously requires a glass of wine and popcorn Olivia Pope style. Despite my own desperate pleas, I skip my Thursday tradition since the weekend is coming up—who knows what kind of damage that will do to my budget.

FRIDAY

Morning: Same food, different day. 

Afternoon: I eat the remaining quesadilla for lunch, with a banana. An apple follows.

Evening/Night: I go to happy hour with friends. Mmmm, $3 tacos and sangrias—I’m about that. One of my friends picked me up and dropped me off, so I didn’t have to worry about Uber fare. $25.47

Stay out of Target.

SATURDAY

Morning: I finally switch it up and eat a banana with some waffles I found hiding in my freezer leftover from another BOGO. I get a few hours of freelance work done.

Afternoon: I have a date with Allegiant soon, so I make a grilled cheese for an early lunch, which went great with my chips and an apple. 

I head off to the movies and because I look twenty-something-going-on-fifteen, I’m given a child’s ticket. I can’t decide if I should be insulted or happy that I can unknowingly land myself a bargain. Regardless, it’s a score I didn’t have to pay double digits for an overpriced movie ticket. $8.50

Evening: I have to attend an event for work, which means free food. Regardless, I snack on crackers, cheese, and an apple to hold me over. Good thing, because I only had a small slice of pizza at the event—too much talking and too little time to eat. After, I head to the boyfriends’ for the rest of the weekend. He lives roughly forty-five minutes away, so I top off my tank. Luckily, gas is cheap these days. $10.00 

Night: Since I only nibbled at the event, I’m hungry again. With the two magical words, “Feed me!” I convince the boyfriend to make me his yummy meat sauce for dinner. I also convince force him to watch the last installment of the Hunger Games with me.

SUNDAY

Morning: The boyfriend and I hit the gym. Because it’s at his friend’s apartment, it’s free. It also reminds me that I’ve been slacking on my workout routine this week. He then makes French Toast for breakfast. We’re a great pair because I hate cooking.

Afternoon: We split a footlong sub for lunch (boyfriend pays) and hit the beach for a few hours.

Night: I take advantage of his cable and one last meal—we have leftovers from last night—before I head home.

 

Total spent: $99.88

 

LESSONS LEARNED

Happy hours are your best friend.

Whether it’s the office donuts or your boyfriend’s meat sauce, find free food where you can.

Stay stocked up on staples, like pasta, spices, and bread crumbs so you spend less on groceries during the week—and when you do, shop according to the deals and don’t be afraid to be the Crazy Coupon Lady.

It helps to have an affinity for the same foods day after day.

Stay out of Target.

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How do you make your budget stretch? Tell us in the comments below!