Saturday, December 15, 2007

Putting the Grocery Budget on a Diet

I realized last night as we sat down to a delicious dinner of veal scallopine that we don’t even make an effort to save money on food. We basically buy whatever appeals to us, tending to buy organic products when possible.

As we finished dinner, I had this idea that we should attempt to eat on a very strict budget for a week to find out what it’s like and to see if we could actually do it. I proposed $25 per person, which maybe should be $35.

And just how would be make this happen?
– Forget organic products.
– Check out the specials at local food stores.
– Clip coupons.
– Make a couple of main dishes that would last for multiple meals.
– Stick to inexpensive items, like chicken wings, ground beef, and beans and rice.

I currently eat at least 5 servings of fruit a day. I would probably have to stick to things like bananas and apples, forgetting the berries that I love on my cereal.

So what might a typical day’s menu look like?
Breakfast: Oatmeal with raisins and milk, OJ, hot tea
Snack: Banana, raw nuts
Lunch: Tuna in pita, carrots and celery sticks, plain yogurt with grapes
Snack: Apple, wedge of cheese, hot tea
Dinner: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, applesauce

That really doesn’t sound so bad. It would serve the purpose of showing me that I could do this if it ever became necessary and making me appreciate the fact that it currently isn’t.


Blogger Pauline said...

That you're even thinking ahead like this is good. We may all soon have to make do with a lot less and even if we're not forced to, it is a healthy way to look at conservation.

Shopping the sales is, so far, the best way I've found to cut back. I don't plan my weekly meals until my favorite store flyers come. I still buy organic fruits and vegetables and cut elsewhere - cheaper (and less) paper goods, less meat, and stocking up when items I use all the time are on sale - yogurt, cereals, toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc. I don't stick to my favorite brands as a rule anymore, but I do read labels carefully to make sure what I'm buying is what I want to ingest or use. Like you suggested, I make several dishes that can be divided into more than one meal. I also grow a garden and put up the produce, knowing that I can supplement any meal with my own store of frozen vegetables, fruits, and canned goods. It also gives me a supply to share if the need arises.

8:06 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- You are truly an inspiration! I think you have figured out how to do this and still eat quite healthy food.

10:37 AM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Barbara, I've been living on a tight budget for years - I don't have a lot of other things but I do eat well!

7:56 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- What's a typical day's menu for you?

8:36 PM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

Did you mean 25.00 a day? Oh, I guess not.

Eating is such a huge pleasure for us that I doubt this would ever happen in my house.

Good for you for trying this out.
Keep us posted as to your progress.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Gewels -- Yes, I was going for $35 per person per week. My husband is not onboard with this experiment just yet. But tonight's meal made him think it might not be so bad.

We will always eat well, but I'm convinced we could enjoy it just as much and spend considerably less if I tried even just a little to economize.

11:01 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I probably don't even spend $35 a week for myself, even with my organic tendencies. Fresh produce from Eastern Market helps. And not buying more than I'll eat by myself. And using a lot of rice and pasta, quinoa and millet with the fresh stuff.

Of course, I also just spent $90 on ingredients for holiday baking and I had half of what I need at home. I guess I don't think that much about what I'm going to need.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

I keep trying to get Sofia to budget. But it is not working - she hates to be constrained.

She also has a tendency to put a lot of things into the "need" category. When strawberries are $1.99 a pound, I can see buying them, but when they are $4.99 a pound, they suddenly don't look so tempting to me. But, the kids "need" their fresh fruits.

I wish you well.

6:26 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Barbara - a typical day starts with either whole grain toast spread with peanut butter or topped with cheese and a piece of fruit OR there's cereal and fruit or an egg. Lunch is homemade soup or a salad and more fruit. Dinner is a small piece of chicken or pork with a vegetable and a purple or sweet potato, or a casserole of some sort. If I'm going meatless I have pasta and homemade sauce, or shrimp, or eggs. Where all this healthy eating falls apart is when I make bread or when I have a dessert around.

6:44 PM  

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