I'm Courtney, and I get a medium Dukin' Donuts iced coffee every single morning
(or just about).
It's a small luxury that I allow myself, although I admit
the money adds up
I spend a lotof money on coffee (anyone else?)
This is something that I let myself do, because in terms of other spendings, I am actually rather frugal. This is an expense I have deemed as valuable to my emotional health and well being, so I spend money at Dunkin' rather than on other things.
Being frugal is a skill that is learned over time and usually out of necessity, which brings us to what this post is actually about, which is
living off of a $25 a week grocery store budget.
Here is the back story:
In college, when getting sick off of the student center cafeteria food got old, my parents and I discussed a grocery stipend. Since I wasn't working in college (until my senior year), my parents agreed to let me spend $25 per week on groceries, using their credit card.
It was supposed to be $25 on top of what they assumed I was already spending on groceries; however, I was determined to live off of that $25 so as not to spend any of my own money. This took a couple of steps.
Find your place.
For me, it was Trader Joes. I also live near an Aldi, but I just found my groove at Trader's first.
I found that, at least in Chicago, Target is outrageous in the grocery department. I'd walk in for a few items and my total would never be less than $40.
Jewel was/is a little bit better, but it just doesn't have the price point that Trader Joes is able to pull off.
Trader's has the perfect balance of having nearly everything I need at the most insanely reasonable prices. Like I said, if you're in the suburbs or another city other than Chicago, I can't vouch for that.
Find your faves
I watched myself over the course of a couple of weeks, and took note of what I gravitated towards in terms of meals.
Using that info, I developed a list of a few, wholesome key meals and food items that I make sure I never miss at the grocery store. (examples: sweet potatoes, turkey burgers, and chips and salsa).
Once you have your placeand your faves, then you can start to craft your grocery list to fit your budget.
Here are two examples of what I used to get at TJ's for $25 to feed me for
(grouped by possible meals)
$25 on the nose.
Just barely over $25
(due to some snackage)
I am aware that the total on the second one is $31, but if you nix the carrots and hummus (which aren't usually a part of my weekly list), then it comes out to $26.
Now, I understand that it might not look like a lot of food, but I kid you not, I made this last a week in college.
The $25 only includes the groceries, and not when I would eat out or be treated by friends and family or school events. Plus, this budget assumes that you have some groceries already laying around the house (like salt and pepper, ketchup, maybe some frozen foods in the back of the freezer, etc).
Also a disclaimer, now that Im a big-kid with a real job and am out of school, I sometimes spend around $35-40 a week for groceries (*GASP*).
But I share this post in the hopes that maybe it gives you some ideas on how to budget your groceries better.
Things to Remember:
1. Find your place
2. Find your faves
3. Think in terms of "meals"
4. Make a list
5. Understand that food is a necessity, food is fuel, and food is mood — but it's still possible to eat healthy on a budget
6. Dunkin' > Starbucks
So, if this helped you in any way, or you have any further questions (or you want to hitch a ride to TJ's one of these days) hit me up. I love to hear that people at least semi-care what I post, and I like to help people out.
If you've made it this far, go get yourself a Dunkin' (then send me a snap of it).
T H I S
W E E K E N D
I am doing my pilates instructor training at Pilates ProWorks Chicago. Stay tuned for a post on that as well as times for my mock classes/audition.