Family Living 4 Less

Saving Money Without the Sacrifice!

Posts Tagged ‘grocery’

There’s No Such Thing as a Cheap Lunch

Posted by flsquared on February 6, 2010

Today I made a big mistake.

On Saturdays, I have started swapping language lessons in the hopes of reviving my dormant French knowledge.  My instructor is awesome–a Parisian artist full of life and spirit and the patience of a saint!

After the lesson, I typically take advantage of the fact that I’m out of the house and go grocery shopping.  If you don’t live in Manhattan, you may not understand why I need to go shopping alone, but suffice it to say that Whole Foods and Trader Joes are “cheap” supermarkets, so much so that there are often crowds that would rival Black Friday sales at Walmart.

Today, we got together from 11am-1:30pm and I was starving as I left.  I hopped on the subway down to Union Square, but knew I would not make it through the hoards of Trader Joe’s groupies without a snack.  Right in front of TJ’s was a hot dog vendor.  Score!  Quick and cheap.  After all, I had to get back home to relieve hubby from babysitting duty.

(If my friend D. is reading this, I am sure to get a lecture.  Yes, I know, you have warned me time and time again about eating from the street carts!)

It was not a good sign when the guy cleaned out the mustard with a toothpick and then put the toothpick back in the box.  Ewww!

But the hot dog had already been paid for so I scarfed it down and ran inside to do my shopping.

As I waited in the 45 minute line to pay for the groceries, I grabbed a hot wing sample.  Spicy but good.

I was even counting my blessings as I got to the bus stop just as the 103 was pulling in.  Yoo hoo!

However, as the driver swerved through traffic and slammed on the brakes over and over again, my stomach began to turn.  I’m not really sure if it was the hot dog, the sole buffalo wing, or the 30 minute roller coaster bus ride, but I seriously didn’t know if I was going to make it home before I lost my lunch.

I actually got out of the bus 2 stops early and started walking.  I stumbled into the apartment and downed two hot chamomile teas with honey.  I laid down on the bed.  The room slowly stopped spinning and I was able to go out and play with the kids.

Sometimes I am so stupid.  I will spend double to buy hormone free milk or free range eggs, but I buy whatever crap they sell on the street corner.  Hopefully I’ve learned my lesson and the next time I need a quick snack I’ll either bring one with me or grab something at the fruit stand.


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Re-thinking our Grocery Shopping Habits

Posted by flsquared on March 4, 2009

After spending most of this cold, cold winter either sick or lethargic, my husband and I decided to take a second look at how we were fueling our bodies.

Granted, having a newborn and an 18 month old can run anyone ragged. Piling on top of that the stress of Grad School, looking for a job, and not seeing the sun for days on end can make anyone want to spend the day in bed. Unfortunately, our sons do not give us the choice.

We found that most days we were eating meat twice a day. Good, lean meat, like chicken or pork, but still meat. And many times we were so hungry from all of the day’s activity, we would eat several portions at one sitting.

We also did a lot of “impulse” grocery shopping.  Mostly by being unprepared for a recipe, or just “craving” a certain dish.

This was taking a toll on our bodies and our pocketbook. We were spending upwards of $20-$25/day on groceries! (Now, this does include wine, diapers, our weekly take-out pizza, etc).

Oscar had been fantastic at taking care of me while I was pregnant and doing much of the cooking and grocery shopping. However, now that our youngest was 3 months old and I had recovered from the birth, it was time for me to take it back over.

I decided that I would try to get our grocery spending down from $600-750/month down to $450/month. Here’s the catch–We actually had to eat more healthy foods, and I didn’t want us to feel as if we were sacrificing.

The approach:

  • coupons (I don’t have much time to dedicate to this, but I figured if I saved a couple of dollars/week, I would at least pay for the newspaper)
  • buy what’s on sale
  • spend one day/week cooking 2-3 meals to freeze and nuke for the following week(s) for when Oscar gets home late and we are both exhausted
  • increase our intake of fresh (or frozen) fruits and veggies
  • still have our evening glass of wine with dinner
  • still have take out once/week (if we would like)

Will this work?  I’ll keep posting what is working and what is not.  

I will give you a hint….I started this 3 weeks ago and we’ve already decreased our spending 15% (or $17/day).  We’ll see if I can keep it up!

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