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Monday, May 12, 2008

Frugal eating. . . .

A few of my readers have commented on my rather anemic-looking grocery budget (ranging anywhere from $75 to $85 per month). In an effort to help you all visualize how I stay alive with such a small budget, I’ve kept track of my daily food intake for one week.

Please note that I am not suggesting that you eat the way I do! I know that many of my readers have families to feed and couldn’t shop or eat the way I do. I’m actually a bit nervous about putting this information out there; while I feel entirely comfortable letting you all know how much I make and where I spend my money, it’s somewhat different sharing my food choices! Oddly, I feel much more vulnerable and hesitant to put this on the blog. But, in the interest of staying honest and sharing with you all, here goes:


    Breakfast: toast (with butter and cinnamon) and a banana, plus coffee
    A.M. Snack: carrots
    Lunch: peanut butter and jelly sandwich
    P.M. Snack: crackers and cheddar cheese
    Dinner: beans and rice with cheese

    Breakfast: English muffin and a banana, plus coffee
    A.M. Snack: carrots
    Lunch: baked potato with cheese
    P.M. Snack: peanut butter and apple
    Dinner: out with friends: 2 drinks and appetizers (from ‘fun money’ budget)

    Breakfast: banana and coffee
    A.M. Snack: yogurt with flax seeds
    Lunch: beans and rice (leftovers)
    P.M. Snack: crackers (wheat and cheese-nips)
    Dinner: roast beef sandwich, cherry tomatoes (leftovers, free from work function)

    Breakfast: instant oatmeal with blueberries plus coffee
    A.M. Snack: carrots
    Lunch: Turkey sandwich, cherry tomatoes (again, leftovers from work function)
    P.M. Snack: cheese nips
    Dinner: spaghetti with basil, garlic, and parmesan, plus asparagus

    Breakfast: instant oatmeal with brown sugar and honey plus coffee
    A.M. Snack: banana
    Lunch: rice and beans with cheese (last of leftovers)
    P.M. Snack: no snack
    Dinner: roast beef sandwich with tomatoes (last of free office food)

    Breakfast: English muffins with cinnamon and butter, plus coffee
    A.M. Snack: no snack
    Lunch: grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup
    P.M. Snack: cookies
    Dinner: curried chicken (leftovers in the freezer) with rice

    Breakfast: yogurt with blueberries and flax and coffee
    A.M. Snack: no snack
    Lunch: baked potato with cheese
    P.M. Snack: cookies
    Dinner: chow mein (ramen noodles with leftover asparagus, carrot slivers, onion, cabbage and tofu)

    So, there you have it. That's what $75 - $85 a month for groceries can look like. Granted I rely on some common staples to get me through (rice, pasta, ramen, vegetables, bananas, and of course, coffee) but I don't mind eating leftovers as long as it's something I enjoy.


    Dina said...

    Thanks for sharing this! It was interesting to compare to what I usually eat each week, because my grocery budget seems unnecessarily large. I will just keep trying to whittle it down...

    Liz said...

    That does seem pretty sparse! Some of those meals (just a sandwich for dinner, for example!) would leave me famished a few hours later. What about toiletries and cleaning supplies? Where do you budget for those?

    Finally Frugal said...

    Yep, sometimes my 'meals' are more like snacks. However, I do snack throughout the day. So, on evenings when I just have some soup or a sandwich (or both), I've probably gorged on crackers or carrots or some other treat earlier in the day.

    As for cleaning supplies, these are included in the grocery bills, but not everything needs to be purchased each month, and I do shop at a grocery outlet, which means those items are really, really cheap. Shampoo, makeup, etc, normally I don't include with my grocery budget because I don't buy those things when I'm shopping for food (unless I'm at the grocery outlet). I'll use coupons/rebates and buy them separately---those types of items are always going on sale, and they're cheaper at places like RiteAid, Walgreens, and such, rather than a regular grocery store.

    Ethelapple said...

    I don't think your grocery budget is out of wahck...for a single person. We spend about $450 a month for a family of four and that includes: food, toiletries, paper products, and food/bedding for our pets (1 rat and 6 chickens)
    I have been reading all of your posts because it's very interesting and straightforward. :)

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