When it comes to spending money…I’d rather just not.
I’m one of those crazy people who enjoys making money more than spending it, finds tracking money and creating budgets to be one of my favorite hobbies, and would rather imagine owning something than actually getting it. But I’m trying to learn how to have a healthy balance when it comes to money and how I view it. Spending isn’t wrong, saving isn’t wrong. But having a healthy balance and the correct motivation is important.
Last month I did the math with how many meals I made and how much money I spent on groceries and discovered each meal I made cost approximately $1.66. I like to eat fairly healthy with variety and fresh vegetables, so this didn’t seem unreasonable, but I knew I could do better. (This doesn’t take into account the pantry staples I used, just the food I actively bought in January.)
I decided for February I’d challenge myself to spend just $1.00 per meal. My pantry was still fairly stocked with dried beans, rice, pasta, a few potatoes, onions, cans of food, and a bevy of snacks. My fridge though was nearly empty except for the condiments and salad dressings that plague the door of every refrigerator. There were a couple of meals worth of veggies, but not much.
The first week of February I was visiting family so that doesn’t count and leaves me with about sixty meals – and sixty dollars – for the rest of the month.
Some of the items I plan on buying are:
-Eggs (an inexpensive way to get protein)
-Baby carrots (a healthy, delicious snack)
-Purple cabbage (such a vibrant color)
-Lettuce (raw veggies for the win)
-Frozen mixed veggies (for soups, stirfries, etc…)
When it comes to eating inexpensively, it’s harder to do while living on my own. Growing up in a big family we always bought in bulk and went for the big bags of everything. Nowadays, when I buy a big bag of fruit or veggies it’s a race to see if I can finish it before it goes bad. And most of the time I lose.
But there are other ways to save money. Like buying discounted produce. And making soups. And eating things that are in season. Today I was planning on going to the grocery store, but then we got a snow storm so I stayed home and made soft pretzels instead. (Which cost about $1.95 for a dozen of them, rather than buying a single one for double that price.)
Join me this month as I shop and cook on a budget, and maybe we can learn some things together.