Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fancy Pant-ry: how to eat for less than $20 per week

Fancy girls buy organic.  We buy grass-fed.  We buy artisan.  We buy specialty.  We buy the best of the best.  Fancy poor girls, however, take what is good and make it the best.
You need nourishment.  Without food you’ll fail to be fabulous.  Without fabulous you’ll fail to be fancy.  Without fancy you’ll fail to be yourself.  Good food is a must. In order to maintain a balanced diet one must have the following every day: fruit, veggies, protein, good fat, and fun in her diet.  The latter is essential.  Without weekly fun in her diet, the fancy girl will blow her paycheck on pistachio encrusted lamb, grown locally and organically, cooked to perfection at her favorite artisan restaurant, along with 2 glasses of Petit Syrah (been there.  done that.  $110 before-tip-thank-you-very-much). Just because you don’t have money doesn’t mean you have to suffer.  It merely means you have to A) choose which things to enjoy and B) plan your meals weekly.
what I want to buy in my heart.

What I end up buying and loving just as much

Since we are choosing which things to enjoy, you get to have 2 grocery musts at the beginning of each week (more if you can afford them--less if you cannot). Items such jam, tea, olives, butter, nut butters, nutella, cheese, wine, coffee, beer, meat, and chocolate will come out of your 2 musts. My 2 musts are usually coffee and cheese.  I drink Drews Brews Zappia Family blend religiously.  I enjoy a variety of cheeses, but usually end up buying a Coastal Cheddar, which is one of the cheaper, higher end cheeses.  These 2 musts are not included in the $20.  However, the good news is that there’s a good chance you won’t eat your entire “must” in one week’s time.  So, it’ll roll over into the next week.  
Ok, now down to the nitty gritty of whittling your grocery bill down to $20 a week.  I’ll do a brief overview and will go into depth with a few of these later in this blog.  Ready?
  1. Shop at the international market.  Fruits and veggies are cheaper here than at your neighborhood grocery
  2. Learn how to cook kale, collards, mustard greens, and parsley--not only are they good for you, but they are 2 to 3 times cheaper than other vegetables.
  3. Rice and beans are your friends. Not only are they cheap, but they are good for you and their versatility lends them to a variety of flavors.
  4. try to buy your organic veggies and meat at the Farmer’s Market--it’s cheaper to buy straight from the farmer.
  5. Instead of buying organic, wash fruits and veggies with a clorox wash or a vinegar/hydrogen peroxide spray to get rid of the pesticides
  6. In the fall they sell decorative squash for really cheap--you can eat these.
  7. Eat complete proteins: Rice + beans, meat, eggs, nuts, a protein shake, or quinoa (pronounced ken-wa).
  8. When a vegetable begins to go bad remove it from the fridge immediately.  It will emit a gas that will cause your other veggies to turn.  Cook it, then freeze it if you are not going to eat it right away.
  9. Freeze all leftovers.  Everything can be frozen except for milk, cream, and yogurt.  
  10. If you can’t afford your good fats like avocados, oils, nuts, etc, buy a bag of ground flax seed (You can grind it yourself in a coffee grinder, but it must be ground for your body to absorb the nutrients.  Ground flax seed is about $2-4 p/bag).  Eat 2-4 tablespoons of it each day.  This will give you additional fiber as well as your Omega-3 fatty acids.  
  11. Don’t skip meals.  It’ll only make you eat unnecessarily at the next meal.  A study was conducted in Turkey during Ramadan/Ramazan (a 3 month religious fast done by Muslims, where no water or food is consumed while the sun is up.  Then when the sun goes down they feast).  They found that those who participated in Ramadan bought and consumed 20% MORE food during Ramadan than they did during the rest of the year.  You must not skip meals to save money.  If you starve you’ll only consume more later. (i.e. lose money, gain weight).
  12. If you're up for a little under-cover work you can always ask a Freegan about his or her favorite dumpster.  Though I have done it and don't see much harm in it, I am not endorsing this.  


Julie Meyers said...

Crystal - love this. I totally agree with your statement: Fancy poor girls take what's good and make it the best. I'll be thinking of this the next time I'm scanning the isles at my poor girl's grocery store - Aldi.

naomi parker said...

Love this blog, I am not only the poor girl, but love the idea of being there with class. Loved me some rice and beans tonight, oh but wait, I did the black beans and grits with an egg on top. Loved it!

Day-nick-uh said...

I love everything about this blog. Team Tuesday Morning/TJMaxx for the win! Did you ever find a kitchen? Did I ever send you her info? I am terrible... please let me help you again!

Crystal said...

Jules, haha, good old Aldi. I miss you, by the way. Naomi, that sounds so good. I'm going to try it. And, Danica, no! I never got the info. Can you send it to me?

Day-nick-uh said...

I will send you a facebook message right now!

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