• Personally speaking….

    Finals are done. School is done. Blogs are getting dusted off. I hope to post at least once a week about some of the things that matter to me -- a young vegetarian woman in Virginia.
  • Previously spoken….

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    How to get to Amici's from the hotel

    My first food truck experience.

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Saving by menu planning


Image: Daniel Y. Go

I tried The Grocery Game for a $1 trial. Pretty neat idea. If I actually visited the site and did what she said to do, I can definitely see how I’d save in the long run. But I tend to shop at one store, with maybe a quick stop at a couple on the way home if they have a really good deal on meat or produce.

I have a subscription to E-mealz but haven’t really been keeping up with that either. The Walmart menu has prices on it and they say they make up menus based on sales. I get a generic points one.

Finding the circulars online
I usually visit the stores’ sites directly. Also, there’s: Sunday Saver. Unfortunately, some stores don’t list grocery sales in their online ads. For example, Walmart.

Update the price sheet
I have a price sheet in Google docs’ spreadsheet. I input prices that look low to me and keep them categorically.

Date Store Category Item Total weight Units Price Price per Weight unit Price a pound Notes
4/22/2008 Food Lion Meat Chicken breast, frozen 2.5 pound 6.99 2.80 pound

I also have a notes column and an extra column for pound. Like when cans of green beans are on sale, they are X per ounce. I then take the X and multiply it by 16 so I can see price per pound. I do this on frozen meals and canned vegetables mostly.

Before I started this, I thought that those big bags of flash frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts were always a better deal. Nope. Especially now that I’ve learned how to freeze stuff better.

Highlight the good deals
If there’s a great meat deal based on the previous prices, then I stock up a bit. Not too much since I am cooking for one or two max. If there’s a great produce deal, I use that as inspiration.

Farmers’ Markets
I had previous plans Saturday so missed out on the local market but hopefully I can hit it up next weekend. I bought less veggies this last grocery shopping trip because I knew we’ve got lots of local seasonal produce to purchase and use!

Coupons
This is a major weakness of mine that I hope to improve upon. I clip coupons from the paper when I get it, file them and forget them. I haven’t utilized the plethora of online coupon sites but should. It’s a really kick in the pants when I get home to find that there was a $1 (or more!) coupon for something I just bought. Here’s some great tips on coupons (that I hope to do m’self!): So where can you find the coupons?

Goals that score

DSCN2415 We all have goals. I have goals. I have no time to think about them between the rush of work, school and life. I have so many that I have lost track of them. When I find my tattered lists here and there when cleaning, I think, “Oh yeah. So. That goal. Man, that’s a great goal. I’m nowhere nearer to that goal now than when I wrote it 5 years ago.” Then there’s that wash of disappointment. Feeling me? Right.

What to do!

According to all the Einsteins of the task management world, there are certain things we must do to get that goal good. Well, better than what I’ve done before, obviously.

One way is the SMART way. Told you that Einstein was involved.

  • Specific. Using the question words of journalism might help: who, what, where, why, when, how.
  • Measurable. How else can I check it off if there’s no unit of measurement?
  • Attainable. Can I even do it? It should be broken down into things I can accomplish to spur me on.
  • Realistic. I’m not going to build a skyscraper by myself. I can change one thing though. That’s not so scary with everything else going on, right?
  • Timely.
    My memory bank says that 3-4 weeks is the amount of time it takes a habit to stick. 30 days (some months). That’s not long, right? Forever to me. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s a nugget of time. 30 days.

I have so many options for goals. Let’s narrow it down to “greening.” I still use plastic bags at the grocery store. I still use plastic bags to put my vegetables in at the grocery store. I am better about checking the air in my tires. I’ve bought items on sale at the store and packaged them up for the freezer (this helps by giving me more money for buying organic and locally). I buy my breakfast and lunch at work and get them in non-reusable to-go containers. Did I hear a gasp? Yes. I do. Horrible, I know. Oh!

June’s Goal
I will bring my own breakfast in a reusable container or eat breakfast at home 4 out of 5 days of the week. I will bring my own lunch in a reusable container 1 out of 5 days of the week. I will accomplish both of these by planning ahead. I can cook up a large batch of oatmeal and section it out the night before. I can bring in cinnamon for sprinkling after I warm it in the microwave. I will plan ahead when cooking dinner and make up a container of food for lunch. I will bring with these meals silverware that will be taken home with the containers and washed.

Sound good? Very long. But it’s very specific, attainable, realistic, and timely. I know it’ll be easier to do oatmeal at breakfast and that would save lots of trash (and maybe money). The lunch will be a bit more difficult and that’s why I set it to one day a week for now. More is great. Less is not acceptable. Whip snap.

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