Sunday, February 28, 2010

Saving money versus eating awesome food

Here's the deal: I'm a miser. I find it very difficult to spend money. I don't purchase clothes all that often. I believe I bought a shirt on New Year's Eve. Before that, I think I bought a pair of jeans in July ... maybe. I've needed a laptop for about 6 months now and I still haven't purchased one. But there is a caveat in all this thriftiness: Food. It's my weakness. I love buying food to try out new recipes. In any given month I spend about half my paycheck on food. I only spend a quarter of it on rent/utilities. I have decreased that number in recent months, thanks to my obsessive use of coupons and sales, but I still buy things I don't need. I still spend a lot on delivery/eating out.
The solution here is really a combination of things:
  • Eating out less frequently
  • Buying cheaper food and taking full advantage of coupons and sales
  • And tracking the amount the fiance and I spend on food
I've been implementing these things off and on, but I can't tell you if it really has decreased. So for the next month I'm hoping to track food spending a little bit better, while at the same time cooking with an eye on saving money. Making steak instead of ordering Chinese really doesn't save money, now does it? After tracing food purchases and uses, I might be able to implement a plan. So, in April you can look forward to my account of all my struggles to save money but still satisfy my passion for cooking.
Until then, here are some inspirational blogs you can visit if you want to know more about cooking and eating on a budget:
  • Budget Bytes: My favorite blog covering cheap eating! Beth is a New Yorker who started out hoping to help herself and her other 20-something friends eat well and cheaply in the city. She breaks down her recipes by price (total and per serving). She also has some great resources, like how to build your pantry so you don't have to go to the store every time you need a specific spice or thrifty rules to live by. Her mouthwatering photos don't hurt, either.
  • Money Saving Mom: Everything for recipes to menu planning to links to coupons and deals, Crystal Paine seeks to "help you become a better home economist."
  • Cheap Healthy Good: With a combined focus on eating healthy and saving money, a group of women in New York offer you cheap, healthy alternatives. This site has other great features, like roundups of awesome finds on the Web and a list of in-season foods to help you focus on produce that is more readily available and, therefore, cheaper.
  • 30 bucks a week: Can you eat three meals daily on 30 bucks a week? Apparently you can often do that with less. A couple in New York posts scans of their weekly receipts and offers recipes. It's a pretty unique way to stay accountable and prove to us all that it's possible.

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