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Archive for the ‘money’ Category

Progress at last! My last post on good food vs. wallet I set a goal of spending $100 less in July than in June on groceries. Here’s the breakdown on 2010 grocery expenses, including farmers market:

What kind of greens are these?

Jan: $707

Feb: $818

Mar: $621

Apr: $793

May: $551

Jun: $724

July: $573 (more…)

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Because I know you’re fascinated with my angst over my food budget.

Our first swiss chard harvest! $2 in seeds = fresh chard for many meals to come.

2010 grocery expenses, including farmers market:

Jan: $707

Feb: $818

Mar: $621

Apr: $793

May: $551

Jun: $724

The lesson for June was mindfulness. On the surface, the additional $200 over May’s expenses looks as if I was not very mindful. BUT, I achieved the following successes in June, that I believe will help me realize savings going forward:

1) I took advantage of sales. As I did my Peapod shopping, I noticed items I normally buy on sale, and stocked up. My brand of organic black beans was on sale for $1/can – a savings of 30 cents/can so I bought 12 cans. Another sale item was pepperoni, which we use on homemade pizza, so I bought two packages, and one went in the freezer. And, my favorite brand of organic sausages (Aidelle’s) was on sale at a savings of 40 cents/pack so I bought six. They’re a lifesaver on nights we don’t feel like cooking – brown up a couple of sausages with rice and whatever veggie is in the fridge and you’re good to go. Can also throw them into a simple soup to dress it up. Finally, I bought fish on special from the market where I trust their fish, and half of what I bought is in the freezer for next month. (more…)

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A stocked pantry.

After hitting that budget wall, I took on June as a food vs. money challenge. And, like when you learn a new word then see that word everywhere, I discovered that lots of people are addressing the issue of eating well without cashing in your retirement fund.

50 Healthy Foods for Under a Dollar a Pound suggests a number of great foods, some found on special, but most available any time of the year. Note, most of his options are not organic, but he does provide a list of foods most effected by pesticides to maxmize organic purchases.

I just came across his wonderful blog – Public Radio Kitchen – via a repost on Change.org’s Sustainable Food section of this post on the challenges of cooking with sustainable foods on a budget.

My own quest for good food without spending a small fortune has made progress this month. The first step was a simple but profound one: Mindfulness. (As G.I. Joe so eloquently said, “Knowing is half the battle.”)

I coordinated my farmers market purchases and my veggie delivery so that there’s no overlap, but if I miss anything at the farmers market I can probably secure it via the veggie delivery. Same with the dairy – right now, the farmers market price on some meats is lower, but others is higher – by checking in advance and paying attention I can get quality meats at the best price available to me. (more…)

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I read a lot about the high cost of better food. I knew my food budget had increased, but I think I might need to look at better ways to eat well. By better, I mean cheaper.

The Monkey and I are not hurting for money – in city well known to have a very high cost of living, we’re doing well. Not luxurious, but well. We’re fortunate to have good jobs, to live near our places of work, and to have a mid-range rent on an apartment we love. We can afford to buy local, organic food, but for us it means a trade. Good food instead of say, a new dress or a painting for the living room.

But I’ve been noticing lately that my paycheck was running out just a tad before the next one was due. I’ve been caught by surprise a couple of times. So I logged into my Mint.com account to take a look at my spending trends over the last few months; and I was sort of shocked.

Blue is 2009 expenses, red is 2010 expenses.

From January 2009 to May 2010, my average expenses on groceries (including supermarket shopping, dairy & veggie deliveries, and farmer’s market) have increased more than 300%.

Some of the costs in there are delivery fees. The dairy and veggie service charges $3.25 per week (each) and every Peapod order has an $8 delivery fee. I can cut Peapod fees in half by ordering only every other week instead of weekly as I did for a while. But in all honesty, that’s a whopping $16/mo savings. So fees aside, the majority of this cost is really the cost of eating locally-produced, organic (or at least nearly so) food. My wallet wonders, how sustainable is this?

I’m thrilled to know that the extra money I’m paying is in fact supporting farmers in my region who are concerned with providing quality food grown sustainably. That is not a cheap endeavor. But I need to think about how to be most efficient with my own resources, without compromising on the things that are important to me: quality, fresh food and supporting a food system I believe in.

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I took the day off work today. This blogathon demands my full attention.

OK, that’s not exactly what I did today – today I reaped the inevitable, yet certainly delay-able, consequences of not doing things right the first time. What things?

  • Property taxes.
  • Parking tickets.
  • Lost library books.
  • Dishwasing.

These are things that, if done right the first time, should not come back to haunt you. And you should get to take your Monday off just to read and get a pedicure. But I didn’t, so I didn’t, and instead I spent the day correcting these mistakes.

(more…)

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