Monday, January 7, 2013

eating on a shoestring budget

As I mentioned in the previous post, we're going to do a spending holdhold (you can learn about how to do your own from Anna here--she is awesome and has some excellent info for how to get started, how she did her own, her journey, etc.) for January and possibly February, depending on how things go this month. We're both really excited about it and looking forward to seeing how much money we can save!

Our number one expense, aside from rent, is food and drinks. We are both big fans of microbrewed beer and wines of various sorts. We are also big fans of eating out, as it's a fun and simple thing to do in order to get out of the house. Not to mention, I'm a bit of a foodie, so I like trying fancy new recipes and I adore any cheese beyond the staple cheddar. All these things add up to a giant grocery and restaurant bill each month. I wish I could blame it all on the expense of Hawaii, but the ticket would be high whether or not we lived on an island in the middle of the Pacific ocean.

Obviously, because this is our biggest expense that we can actually do something about this month, it was the first thing to tackle on what limits we needed to set for ourselves. Groceries are quite expensive, so I want to limit myself to using as much stuff we've already got in the house, right down to a jar of peanut butter that's been in the pantry for nearly a year. Step number one was to take an entire inventory of grocery items. I know, I know, we all think we know what's in the cupboards every day, we look at them all the time when we're bored and looking for something to munch on. But, I've had some nutritional yeast, 9 grain hot cereal mix and lentils that have been hanging out since our old apartment. Clearly I don't know what we've got in the cupboards. 

*"WHAT, TURKEY?! BUT YOU'RE VEGETARIAN!!" I was kind enough to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving for my husband and our friends. But, we ended up with a ton of leftovers that are now hovering in the freezer, likely for lunchtime sandwiches for Erik.

(note: I don't include spices, vinegars or oils because I keep those as staples)

Alright, inventory done. Now to figure out what to make.

This is the tough part, because either I have to get really creative, or our meals are going to be very basic. I got a little of both, and realized we're probably going to be eating a whole lot of soup for a while. Thank goodness it's winter on Oahu.

I limited my shopping for items to 2-3 items per recipe, if that. Some recipes didn't require me to buy anything at all, which was fabulous.

I was able to get this little list of items for $34.97, a steal here for any amount of groceries that will get you through a week and still include produce. I don't even want to go in to how much is usually spent on groceries each week, so just know it was a lot more than that ;-)

If you're interested in seeing our meals, I'll be posting them on Instagram for your viewing pleasure.

There you have it, our first week of meals on our spending fast! 


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