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Archive for July, 2008

cooking and no spend days

July 10th, 2008 at 08:20 pm

Generally, my biggest expense is food. This is because before I started cooking, I'd eat out all the time. But since I moved, I've been doing a lot more cooking, and I find I don't want to eat out at all.

I've been making a habit of making an extra serving of something, so I can have it for dinner the next night. Since it's summer, breakfast is cold cereal and fruit. I haven't done so well with lunch, and end up skipping it. But I used to go so far as to buy desserts, like bakery cookies and cake. Now, I'm doing more baking on my own, and might have cookies. Actually, since it's been so hot and muggy, I've just been eating a lot of fruit.

So I'm finding that my day to day expenses have really dropped. But, I'm spending a little more on groceries. Some of it's not a bad thing, because I let myself buy fresh fruit in season, even if it's a little high. So I've been eating tons of cherries and blueberries, even though apples and bananas are cheaper. But I can't get fresh cherries in December, so I'll save the apples for wintertime.

I think I could drop my meat consumption and save more money. Or at least change it. I just found out my fishmonger will clean/scale and behead a whole fish, and these tend to be less $/pound than buying the fillets. I hardly ever buy red meat, and when I do, it's hamburger, but I do buy a lot of chicken and then just boneless, skinless breast. I should switch to whole chickens, and joint them, but I'm squeamish. I eat a lot of egg (whites) which are cheap. But I should eat more beans instead. I don't really like them though, so I'm going to have to sneak them into food.

I can't handle a ton of dairy, so I have milk, soymilk and yogurt as my dairy servings. Soymilk is $$, which is aggravating. But I can make my own yogurt, which can really cut costs.

But I haven't really kept to the grocery budget, because I went on a carnivorous rampage over the 4th of July, and that just really got pricey.

I've decided to set aside the grocery money and put it into a holding account that I was using as a potential space to hold my pocket money. Currently, this account has about $50.00, just to keep it open, and I give myself the pocket money when I need it. But since I don't eat out, I only use a dollar or two, and I can just keep that in my wallet.

Since the holding account has a check card, I can put the grocery money there, and that way the month's allotment is isolated from the rest of my operating expenses. So I won't blindly go over (I'm good about checking my overall balance) and if I underspend, I'll just put in less the following month and pay extra on my debt.