Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Could you do it?

$60 a week for 2 people on groceries. That's $240 a month! In our house we are easily spending upwards of $300 a month, but we eat a lot of meat. That and we're trying to ditch the convenience foods. As most of you know, I'm not really much of a cook. So the whole make it from scratch thing is new to me! But I'm trying. The article talks about eating a lot of fruits and veggies which is something we have been improving on. I'm not asking anyone to reveal their food budgets, but do you think you could change your diet to reflect the tips in the article? Could you live on less?


MaMulsoff said...

We have changes our diets and our expectations in order to "live on less".
For me, I've just learned to stop snacking and eating so much. We buy in frozen bulk and very very cautiously and minimally with fresh food (what good is a sack of potatoes when you don't eat all of them and they rot?).

For us two, we have a goal of $200 a month. Very doable without buying a ton of fresh food and making sure that our pantry as a lot of non-perishable items (rice, popcorn, baking stuff).

jason said...

Don't forget that there are 52 weeks in a year, not 48 (which is what your calculations are based on). That really gives you a budget of $260 a month (or an extra $240 per year).

We already buy more produce than she has listed, no meat, but a normal amount of dairy. But we buy only whole grain ingredients, dark greens, a fair amount of gluten free (ingredients and packaged items), and 10-20% organic. So, even though we cook from scratch for nearly every meal, we definitely go over the $60 a week, and we throw very little out.

Most of our packaged items are for snacking, bag lunches, and cereal. I'll bet I could cut back some packaged items if I snacked on leftovers.

jason said...

You should also notice the grocery store in the video. It's much larger than any that we have here, and likely would allow for eating healthier on less money--due to a substantial bulk foods section, larger sales volume, and greater buying power.

On the other hand, it's most likely part of a large chain, so there's an economical/environmental/ethical dilemma involved: eating better on less or supporting small/local business.

Revka said...

Yeah, I remember when there were just two of us our budget was $50 every two weeks. Then our first baby came, and the budget increased to $75 every two weeks. Now, with 3 girls, I spend about $175 every two weeks. What a difference!

I must say that having our own private beef supply helps tremendously as we almost never have to buy ground beef, steaks, or any meat that comes from cows. (My husband's grandfather raises a small herd of cattle and butchers one or two a year for the family's use.)

jason said...

Check out the Time Magazine photo gallery "What the World Eats, Part I", which I found via the spacekadet blog. Very eye opening.

My friend Jesse was saying that many people in the world spend as much as 50% of their income on food. I guess we're pretty lucky if we can get by spending 10-20%.

Mel and Moses said...

Wow, yeah, you guys all made such good points! MaMulsoff, I hate when we buy a big bag of something and more than half rots! That just happened w/some cilantro. I was sure it was a small enough bunch too. Jason, I wish we had a bigger store close by! Maybe we should start planning trips to the valley or the big city south of us. If we were organized enough we could car pool and save on some of the $4 gas! Revka, you are lucky to have a source of beef...we've looked into splitting a cow w/some friends. That thought hasn't gotten very far, but maybe this summer. It's been interesting to see how our diets have changed lately, like you said MaMulsoff. I've noticed that we snack on things we've made, like muffins or granola bars, rather than store stuff. It's kind of nice to feel at least a little less dependent on those snacks from the store!

jason said...

Here's how you keep cilantro (or fresh parsley) for longer than a few days:

Leave it unwashed, cut 1/4 inch off of the stems, and put in a heavy glass, or small mason jar, filled with water. Cover with a plastic produce bag and stick in the fridge. Just be careful not to spill it. It works best if you change the water after 3 or 4 days. It can keep for 7-10 days this way.

If you bought it for only one purpose and want to use the rest:
--mix it with salsa
--make homemade salsa (process garlic, onion, cilantro, tomato together)
--put some in your green smoothie, small enough that it doesn't take over the taste (it's supposed to be good at detoxing heavy metals)
--add it to any soup or grain dish

MaMulsoff said...

Oooh, Jason, I like those ideas regarding the cilantro. Mel - ours always rots too! I avoid buying cilantro or fresh spices period because of how quickly it rots.

Any suggestions on taters? :)

We live in Wauwatosa, right in the middle of a ton of large supermarkets (the Pick N Save, Outpost, and Sentry at about 68th and State give us fantastic options). Up where you are, driving all the way down just to get to the Trader Joe's in Whitefish Bay is too far to go. Thank goodness farmer's market season is right around the corner!