In the Middle

I fret a lot about how much money I spend on food.  I could certainly eat out less, stretch out my leftovers when I do eat out, etc.  I can do better.  But there are limits.  Last week Christopher sent me a link to the Hillbilly Housewife website, which made me realize two things:

  1. I really do spend a lot on food (she has a plan for feeding a family of 4-6 on $45 a week; I don’t think I could feed my single self on so little)
  2. I’m kind of glad (said plan includes a meal of “hot dog and veggie stir-fry over rice”)

I used to try to spend no more than $13 a day on food, on average, between dining out and grocery shopping…  That seems doable, but it’s actually really tough (for me, maybe not for those of you who are more disciplined, cook at home, share costs with someone, and/or can eat cheaper, glutenous food).  I blow it every month.  The biggest blow to the budget was starting to eat healthier, which I still think is better, both now and in the long run.  But prices have gone up considerably while our salaries haven’t kept pace, and I think we all feel the pinch, at least a little bit.

Anyway, I don’t have much to write on this (I started on a few Michael Pollan tangents, but retracted — sorry), just that I guess I could do better, a home economic plan could be implemented. But when it comes down to it, since it’s really just me, and I can afford it, and I like food and eating out, I think I’ll shoot for somewhere between cosmopolitan and hillbilly.

Incidentally, while at a wedding this weekend (which was fantastic: by a creek, reception in the hayloft), I learned that a friend (who is not a hillbilly, but a born-and-bred city dweller) calculated that butter was the cheapest thing he could eat in terms of caloric intake, and did so during his European travels.  I’d heard before that it had been peanut butter, which sounded still gross, but more acceptable.  Nope.  Butter.  Straight up.

Moral of the story:  There’s budgeting that is good for you in the long run, and there’s budgeting that is not.  Or:  I’m a half-hearted budgeter.



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2 responses to “In the Middle

  1. Yes, Eric and I have been trying to budget food more wisely. I have discovered that the problem is keeping the grains down. It is so cheap to buy bulk grains and eat too many of those. My challenge is the fresh fruits and veggies, but inexpensively. Well, that and being lazy…sometimes I just want to run and pick something up instead of cooking at home.

    Oh, and what on earth are hoecakes (on the Hillbilly Housewife)?

  2. I SO visited the Hillbilly Housewife site myself last week! I think Christopher and I are into the same MSNBC articles or something. I actually tried to make the Hillbilly version of a Wendy’s Frosty for Brian… Powdered milk was a completely foreign concept for me, thank you Mom and Dad. It wasn’t so great.

    The best “food budgeting” move I ever made was pre-planning my weekly menu and then dividing my shopping list up by sections of the grocery store. It’s anal, I know, but it works!

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