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Once you pop, you just can't stop

September 29th, 2006 at 03:18 am

So my grocery budget from yesterday that I killed...

Well, I killed it even deader now.

I think I just mentally gave up on it. I was just like, "Screw it, it's the end of the month, I have to go shopping, and I'm over budget anyway," and just went ahead and got everything that I wanted.

- buttermilk: $1.19
- grapes: $3.39 ($1.29/lb.)
- cucumbers (2): $0.41 ($0.69/lb.)
- daikon radish: $0.97 ($0.69/lb.)
- nappa: $1.97 ($0.69/lb.)
- onions (3 lb. bag): $1.49
- potatoes (5 lb. bag): $1.99
- broccoli (2 stalks): $1.29
- apples (3): $1.08 ($0.89/lb.)
- celery (1 stalk): $0.99
- bell peppers (2): $1.01 ($0.79/lb.)
- scallions (1 bunch): $0.69
- watermelon: $1.05 ($0.39/lb.)
- garlic (2 heads): $0.49 ($1.69/lb.)
- avocados (3): $0.99/each

Spent $20.94 on produce today. I did get a fair amount of food, and I should be set for weeks, but... d'oh.

$96.49 for the month of September. Budget allows for $60.

But! I am *not* shopping again until after my trip to Atlanta, 10/14 - 10/18. And we get an allowance of up to $50/day for food during those five days. And food is the only expense for which we do not need a receipt for reimbursement.

If I can keep my food expense down those five days but still get reimbursed for $250 total, I should be able to, erm, make up for this month's... indiscretions. And since breakfast is included with my hotel, I can load up on it and coast through the rest of the day.

Yeah...

6 Responses to “Once you pop, you just can't stop”

  1. mountainmist Says:

    $60 for a MONTH's worth of food for an adult????

    Where did you ever come up with THAT?

    Sixty dollars?

    For a MONTH?

    I think you are seriously underbudgeting for your food budget, and that in doing so, you're not merely provoking frustration with understandably going off budget, but possibly playing havoc with your health.

    Surely as a researcher in neurobiology you are aware of the importance of proper nutrition?

    Surely with your salary you can afford to buy decent produce each & every day, and spend twenty dollars a day on it if you so choose, surely your physical health and well being is worth spending appropriate amounts of money on quality food. Fifteen dollars a week? Isn't that well below the poverty level?

    If you were a stay at home unemployed person who had the entire day to play around with cooking beans, grits, barley, rice, soy beans, etc -- then maybe it might be a fun experiment to see how little money you could spend and still have a healthy diet, but you are working full time in profession requiring a keen mind in a healthy body....

    Also, remember that it's important each time you go to the grocery to have enough money along to stock up on essentials which just happen to be on unadvertised sale specials. That's the actual way that most people bring their annual grocery budget WAY down, they had enough money each week to purchase huge quantities of necessities at rock bottom prices -- and then eventually, after your stockpiles are complete, THEN you have a "tiny" grocery budget, but you still buy huge quantities of the sale items, sometimes more than half a year's worth at a time, depending upon how good the sale price is.


  2. amberfocus Says:

    Hi, mountainmist! I don't believe we've met!

    Believe it or not, $60/mo is actually normal for me. My food budget used to be $100, until I noticed that I didn't need all that (usually), and it's better for me to allocate the money for something else.

    And I never even realized that $60 (or even $100) was considered low until I came on the SavingAdvice website and read other people's food budgets!

    Regarding nutrition, I'm actually a bit of a health nut. I've done nutritional analysis on my diet before--both with a nutritionist, and with one of those online diet-tracker things, because I was also concerned that I was doing something "wrong".

    But apparently, I'm disgustingly healthy. I kid you not, I was actually surprised myself, but I have over 100% intake on all the major vitamins and minerals, with the exception of calcium and B12 (this is attributed to the fact that I don't eat much dairy, and I'm completely vegetarian, but I fix these deficiencies with Viactiv calcium and vitamin supplements).

    I simply don't eat (or at least buy) junk, processed, or fast foods, and that helps both nutrition *and* budget. (I do make my own junk food, and I'll eat free fast/processed food, but I don't do it often.)

    The foods that you listed--beans, grits, etc.--actually describes my diet pretty well. Smile I cook all of my own food from scratch every day, and I love rice, beans, oats, soy, potatoes, pasta, breads, eggs, fruits and veggies. I pretty much subsist entirely on these cheap, wholesome foods. Yes, it takes time to cook every day, but I'm actually quite interested in the culinary arts, myself. If I were to spend more, I'd probably go more gourmet, get more exotic ingredients, etc., but I wouldn't change the baseline of what I eat.

    Another reason why my grocery budget can be low is because I *do* stockpile, since my roommate has a membership to Costco. So most of my monthly budget (about $10/week) goes towards non-stockpile-able fresh produce. I'd go shopping every day (well, every week) if I could, but I'm dependent on my roommate's non-existent shopping schedule, since he's the one with the car.

    I truly appreciate your concern, but I'm actually doing fine. Smile If you're interested, you can read some older posts of mine where I write about cooking, and my food budget, here:

    http://amberfocus.savingadvice.com/2006/08/27/so-what-the-heck-am-i-eating-on-only-60-_13509/

    http://amberfocus.savingadvice.com/2006/08/28/on-cooking-self-reliance-and-being-bough_13601/

    best,
    ~mimi

  3. mountainmist Says:

    Thank you!

    I was really worried when I read your entry, because the ONLY way to eat healthy on such a low food budget is precisely the way you are doing it. Meat-free, with NO junk food, and plenty of beans, tofu, eggs, etc.

    MOST Americans should reward themselves EVERY time they eat a fruit or a vegetable, because so very few adults are getting the recommended 2-9 cups of fruits & veggies suggested we eat daily.

    If all Americans went to the produce section and spent $21, we'd probably see a huge reduction in health care costs, Smile
    I love rice/bean casseroles, and I love vegetable soups; however, I'm currently trying to eat eggs more frequently and find some way to sneak MUCH more tofu into my diet because after several weeks of experiments, I obviously feel so much better after a high cheese/eggs/yogurt/tofu day, as opposed to the soups & casseroles, which I genuinely prefer to eat - I'm just not getting the required *energy* from this "healthy" diet and so I'm trying to change my typical cooking habits, without having to become a.... "Dairyatarian." LOL

    For instance, this morning I changed my typical potato veggie soup by the addition of half a cup of black-eyed peas & SOME diced tofu. I want to be careful about the quanities I add of higher-quality proteins, so I don't negatively impact the taste of the finished soup. Having maybe two thirds a cup of these bland tasting extras required twice as much garlic & oregano.

    This may not work, because it might be that the eggs/yogurt/cheese/tofu days simply raised my lowish blood pressure and that's why I felt energetic, Smile
    I'm not sure yet.

    Nexus Magazine has had so many articles for so many years about the dangers of eating soy products that I'm not real comfortable with the additional daily tofu.




  4. mountainmist Says:

    When you have time, go to http://www.aldi.com and see whether there is an ALDI store in your area; they don't take coupons, but that won't matter for you - what you might like to know is that last summer when avocados were in season, there were several weeks of avocados costing LESS THAN 20 CENTS, each. Can you imagine how much guacamole I ate, with avocados so inexpensive?

    Each ALDI is different, so if there is more than one in your area, be sure to check them all out to find out which one(s) are best for produce prices.


  5. amberfocus Says:

    Glad I could clear up your panic! I didn't realize that my post was so alarming.

    I'm more of a carbivore myself. Smile
    Tofu doesn't have to be bland. It's best when pressed, marinated, and stirfried, in my opinion. It is also excellent when braised, and in miso soup.

    And regarding the "dangers of eating soy products"... I've never, ever heard about this, so I googled Nexus Magazine. According to Wikipedia, it's a conspiracy theorist magazine. I certainly wouldn't believe that soy products are dangerous unless you showed me the scientific publications.

    I'm sure that I can produce tons of publications to debunk these so-called "dangers". Actually, I might look into this in my spare time, I've always wondered precisely how soy affects health. But in the meantime, eat more soy! The entire Chinese culture can't be wrong to base their diet around this little bean! Wink
    And wow, Aldi sounds amazing! I just checked, and the nearest one is 13.68 miles away. Frown Definitely too far to walk. Maybe I can convince my roommate to take me sometime.

    I'd be in sushi heaven if avocados were that cheap! *swoon!*

    ~mimi

  6. mountainmist Says:

    You both will save SO much money at ALDI, but remember each ALDI is a little different from other ones. They don't ever take coupons, the ones in my area don't take checks, ONLY CA$H and you bring your own bags and bag your groceries yourself.

    I almost fell over the first time I was at ALDI, and I've been very surprised that NONE of their own house brand is inferior - it's just as good as other generic brands, simply much less expensive.

    Each store occasionally gets in "specials" and not all of it boring - you simply never know what they'll get ahold of. In my area they often get green peppers, which they blister wrap and charge you a buck -- for half a dozen green peppers.

    ALDI has ruined my previous couponing hobby, but I'm sure I save lots of money there.

    I go to the produce department of several other grocery stores several times a week, mainly just to buy anything really appealing, and to jump on anything that happens to be discounted.

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