So, having gone through last month with a “buy what I want” budget, I am this month trying to be miserly, within the context of reality.
Sidebar: Years ago, I had boyfriend who was competitive about a lot of random things. Sometimes it felt like every time I open my mouth, he had some kind of topper statement or example of how he was better or declaration that he would be better than me. To say the least, this was tiresome. It went to a totally absurd level at one point, when my random statement that, “Gee, I think I only spend about $35 a week on average at the grocery store, if that. Probably more like $30,” sent him into a spiral of self-competition, trying to spend as little as possible on groceries. A month into it he was living on rip-off Wonderbread, skim milk and skinless hot dogs. Two months into it, his gums were bleeding, he was getting really weird, I was repeatedly declaring he had “won”–really, and his roommates were no longer letting him borrow ketchup. I do claim credit for bringing the whole bizarre episode to a close by threatening to tell his mother.
So, I do want to keep the grocery bill to a minimum, but I also want to be healthy and stay within the bounds of reason. So, the rules are going to be
- No premium prices/products. Organic, pricey gluten-free substitutes are off the table. I’ll consider a premium product if the price differential is less than 20% or if there is no other viable alternative. Otherwise, I’m store brand and discount brand girl.
- Coupons, coupons, sales, coupons!
- Look for bulk discounts, but buy reasonable amounts, given that I am a one person household and I don’t want to buy ahead too far this month.
- Eat what I have.
As a result of #4, the morning will dawn in a few hours on May 7 and I will have not visited the grocery store this month. I have not really had to skimp at all so far, there is plenty of food in the house including gluten-free cookies, although my sweetened vanilla almond milk that I use to “sugar” my Cheerios went off and I am almost out of butter. I just stirred up the last pound of ground beef into tacos, and have enough tortillas and cheddar cheese for two more dinners or lunches. I have eaten out a few times. I also made a batch of cinnamon-ginger pumpkin rolls over the weekend, which probably explains the longevity of the cookies.
Of course, when I do go shopping, at this point it will be a mother of shopping trip (appropriate for Mothers’ Day Week?). Out of butter, sugar, brown sugar, corn flour, tortillas, hamburger, almond milk, bacon, low on milk, cheese, fruits and veggies. Even the grits are getting low. I do have one fresh beet, one unopened jar of pickled beets, a half dozen eggs, some gluten-free crackers, peanut butter, quite a few potatoes, and an unopened 24oz container of yogurt. And, of course, most of my bottle of organic olive oil. And an onion.
Well, we’ll see how it goes. Time to scan the grocery ads.