A blog about spending wisely in your twenties, with advice on everything from cooking to saving money on gas; how to teach yourself to save money instead of spending it, traveling without breaking the bank, and much more.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The No Groceries Experiment Wrap Up

At the beginning of April, I decided that I didn't want to be working until 2 am two to three nights a week this month. (I have to work pretty late if I want to make $1400 a month, other wise I make about $1100-1200.) When I reviewed my March spending, I realized that I'd spent upwards of $200 on groceries. Yikes! I feed myself and my boyfriend when he comes over, and I try to keep the household items in stock (we share buying duty on eggs, cheese, sour cream, other baking needs - the stuff we all use), but spending $200 in one month was just to much for me. So I decided that I wouldn't grocery shop in April. I cooked all of my at-home meals from food I'd already bought. I ate very well, and I've STILL got stuff left over.

As the month went on, I began to gain a solid picture of just how often I need to cook up a batch of soup (about 5 times a month), or how often I need to make a batch of cookies that will keep my sweet tooth from spending money on candy bars (about once a week). I drank coffee, tea, lemonade, and beer. I don't drink soda outside of work anyway, but if you're a soda addict perhaps you could switch to at least a cheaper, if still sugary, alternative.

Along the way I've gotten a better idea of what ingredients I need to actually buy. Too often I'd just head into the store with a vague idea of what I might be out of and I'd shop without a real plan. By the middle of April, I was able to put together a fairly comprehensive list of what I need to buy to eat happily. I'm sure there are still items missing, but for now- it works. I took the time that I might normally have gone to the store to shop and, using my list, I've begun to put together a pricebook, noting what items sells for the cheapest (per unit) and where, an activity that should save me at least $100 over the course of a year, if not more.

Once I've finished the shopping necessary to re-stock my supplies, I'll write a detailed post of how the pricebook project works out. And in May I'll be posting basic recipe templates that you can adapt for whatever ingredients you have on hand, as well as a guide to figuring out what YOU need to shop for to eat well, and how to save money doing it.

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