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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My food budget challenge...

In an attempt to eat better and more economically, I am inspired to shop and meal plan more wisely by one of my favorite foodie bloggers, Poor Girl Eats Well (a blog I have been following for almost a year now). PGEW is well known for her $25 Shopping Cart, and while I applaud and admire her ability to exit a grocery store having spent only $25-ish, I am by no means delusional enough to think that I can accomplish the same mind-boggling feat. I, instead, will be working with a $60 shopping cart (which does include a $15 case of beer, a purchase that is entirely necessary as I continue to work on my Master's thesis). I'm not entirely clear on how many meals PGEW manages to create from her $25 trips, but I imagine her pantry is much more well-stocked than mine, thus resulting in fewer necessary purchases. My mission now is to see how far I can stretch my $60 worth of food. Here's what I managed to purchase:

12-pack of Rising Moon - $14.99
2 pkgs. English muffins (one for the freezer) - $5.00
1 32 oz. tub organic yogurt - $3.59
1 12 oz. bag frozen green beans - $1.67
1 12 oz. bag frozen corn - $1.67
2 10 oz. pkgs. frozen spinach - $2.00
1 16 oz. bag frozen sliced peaches - $2.50
1 box microwave popcorn (another thesis-writing necessity) - $3.49
1 15.5 oz. can black beans - $0.89
1 32 oz. box organic chicken stock - $2.59
1 18 oz. container quick-cook organic oatmeal - $2.50
1 14.5 oz. can diced organic tomatoes - $1.50
1 13.25 oz. box organic whole wheat penne - $1.67
1 pkg. chicken sausage - $3.99
1.27 lbs. ground turkey - $3.09
5 grapefruit - $2.99
3 apples - $2.34
1 red onion - $1.04
3 tomatoes - $2.81

It's been five days since my shopping trip, and I have to say I am quite proud of my ability to create quick, tasty, and most importantly, cheap and filling meals. I'm a little over a third of the way through my supply of food (and the beer) and I am quite happy to report that I have been eating very well every day for an average of $5 a day (I already had couscous and farfalle on hand and did not include these in my cost calculations)! I was also able to whip up a batch of my favorite Black Bean Chili (a whopping $1.28/serving!) and freeze 2/3 of it for a rainy day (or more likely a snowy one). At this rate, I estimate my shopping cart to last me at least another five days! Hooray for me!

I am quite enjoying this challenge and since I don't intend on having any kind of livable income for at least another 7 months, I imagine this type of meal-planning and budgeting will be something I continue with down the road.

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