Not Such A Spendthrift After All

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Last week, I wound up spending almost $200.00 on groceries, and it didn’t even seem excessive in terms of what we replaced and used. I didn’t buy any meat, and just a little cheese. We even ate a few things from the freezer. I was ready to tear my hair out — how do people do it? I figured there must be something wrong with the way I was approaching things, and started doing a bit more research. I found:

CostofFoodJul2014

Ah! That makes more sense! This is two years old, too. A low-cost option for two is $496.90 a month and a moderate option for two is $618.60 a month. A liberal plan is $774.20. These are also national averages; prices are different throughout the country. I feel like my area is in the middle – not the highest, but not the cheapest either.

I’m going to pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again in June. My new target is going to be $550 a month: in between low-cost and moderate. My overarching goals: very little meat, as local as possible, as organic as possible, as unprocessed as possible. Remember, this is just a little over $9 a day a person for three meals. Perspective: a coffee out is $5. I’ll report at the end of the month, once a month.

I’m not a spendthrift after all — good food costs good money. Supporting farmers, fair treatment of workers and animals, health and well-being are not rock bottom cheap. Just like with clothing rationing, the nonsense/excess/unconscious is falling to the wayside. How do I make my food dollars/coupons go as far as possible, as good as possible? How do I make treats and luxuries truly feel like treats and luxuries?

This past month has been great for examining my habits and starting new ones. I love my CSA and I probably wouldn’t have started with one if it wasn’t for this challenge. I feel good eating less meat for many reasons. I’ve been enjoying my Bean of the Week so much! Most importantly, I’m figuring out just what my ideals are, and what it takes to support them through setting limits. It’s worked for me before 😉

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2 comments

  1. I like how with you this challenge is not about low cost for the sake of it. Proportionately Mr M and I spend more on food than the average couple in the UK but like you we’re not excessive in the volume or fanciness of ingredients. I think wider context is important. Some people divert money from groceries to buy clothes, expensive gadgets, exotic holidays, flashy cars… Mr M and I are not fussed about such things. Food is one of our main pleasures, as is supporting local economy and responsible farming, so we direct our money there.

    I think it is also important throughout such challenges and experiments to recognise that we, unlike many, have the luxury of choice. That definitely comes through with you compared to many other bloggers (but maybe that’s just a function of having been on this planet for an extra few years 😉 )

    1. I think it’s that — and also coming from a working class family (which, despite not having much money, valued good food and raised it above eating out, clothes, and the like, just like you talk about). We got our veggies from the Italian market instead of the CSA, but it was still a grass roots community supported system 🙂 This is all second nature to me, which, I think, is its own kind of privilege.

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