Sunday, March 21, 2010

Starting to Keep Track of Food Costs

One of the reasons Z and I eat for so cheap is that we are great at grocery shopping. I have no idea how much time we spend window shopping, planning, thinking about what we are going to buy, and where. It takes some time but it's well worth it. The prices of my food will reflect the prices we are able to get for groceries. Some food we get for almost nothing or completely free. In my food journal some of the prices that may seem odd, are the matzo, cereal, and soda. Those are some of the items we got for super cheap. I decided to calculate the cost of my food first as if I had paid for all of the food and then find the amount that I actually paid (taking into account the items I got for free).

1.83 glass soda, 1 mug coffee, water, and 1 coffee from a coffee shop (1.50)
.235 1/2 fried egg sandwich (1 egg)
.10 matzo w/peanut butter
.07 serving apple jacks cereal (no milk)
.37 nachos
.32 carrot sticks and homemade tzatziki sauce
.56 pasta w/olive oil, asparagus, and garlic
Total: $3.485

.15 water and 3 mugs black tea (no cream or sugar)
.99 tuna sandwich w/cucumber
.42 matzo w/pb, carrots and tzatziki
1.99 Burger King onion ring
.185 tomato soup with pasta
Total: $3.735

.48 water, pint of soda, 1 coffee, 2 mugs black tea
.55 scrambled eggs (3) and a yogurt
.42 carrots and tzatziki, matzo w/pb
.37 nachos
1.19 3 potstickers and ramen stir-fry with carrots, garlic, and soy sauce
Total: $3.01

1.74 2 mugs coffee, water, and 1 bottle beer
.57 scrambled eggs (2) and yogurt
.26 2 Oscar Meyer hot dogs with mustard
.42 carrots and tzatziki, matzo w/pb Had dinner at friends' house. It was amazing and delicious! Did drink one of the beers I bought
Total: $2.99

1.96 water, 1 coffee, 1 black tea, 1 beer
2.92 six inch Subway veggie sub and cookie (Z and I split a $5 footlong)
.42 millet salad
Total: $5.30

.33 1 coffee and 2 mugs black tea
.10 matzo w/pb
.26 2 hot dogs with mustard
1.67 2 big bowls of millet salad, with 1/2 avocado in each bowl, and tzatziki Amazing!!!
.42 cookie
Total: $2.78

6 Day Total: $21.30

Really, we didn't pay for the tuna or hot dogs. I was curious to see what my total would be if we had paid for them.

Actual Total: $20.11

I know that the totals would be different if I hadn't eaten dinner at my friends' house but I'm sure I would still have stayed under $4 a day. I am curious to see how much my food costs when I am eating at work. Since I started keeping track I have either not worked or only worked a half day so I was eating at home. This week, I'm not working. I think I'm going to try and eat the same lunch I pack a few days to see what happens to the totals.

I learned a few things this week. I knew that my mugs of black tea are super cheap and that coffee was more expensive but I had no idea how much. Z and I brew individual cups of coffee using a pour-through coffee maker and add half-and-half to our coffee. Each cup of coffee costs about $0.28. That's a lot! No wonder Z was getting grumpy with me for having 2 cups of coffee a day. I had six mugs of coffee at home. That's $1.68. Even twelve mugs of tea costs half as much. Also, even just eating out a little sure adds up a lot. Compared to how much the food I make at home costs, the fast food costs a lot.


Welcome! This blog is something that my boyfriend Z and I have been brainstorming about for a very long time. We are just home cooks, who have figured out how to make tasty meals that cost next to nothing. We would like to share some of those recipes and tips for stocking your pantry for very little. We are serious about coupons and finding great deals but I think there are tons of great blogs out there, so I am going to leave the coupon deals to them.

What instigated me to finally start writing was the Hunger Challenge. I don't remember the first time I heard about the Hunger Challenge (eating for $4 a day, the amount the average California resident on food stamps gets to spend each day). I first learned about the Hunger Challenge while watching a news story highlighting the Hunger Challenge and following Oregon governor Ted Kulongoski shopping for groceries to eat on $4 a day. My first thought was, "$4! That's a lot of money. I do that without trying" and that was it. Lately, I have been reading more articles and posts about eating on a budget. One thing that keeps coming up is people's opinion that people on food stamps or small budgets eat and purchase more processed food (crap) because it is cheaper. I disagree! Z and I are certainly not angels when it comes to food. We enjoy indulging in a little junk food, occasionally, but try to keep it healthy, overall. I think we do a pretty good job of eating reasonably healthy on a budget. To get started, I decided to start keep track of what I was eating in a day without trying, just to see what how much it cost.