Sunday, August 03, 2014

Where DOES my money go?

Okay, the last two months weren't "normal" budget wise - June was the Ft. Lauderdale graduation trip, and July was the refinance of the house, and both came with extra out of pocket costs - but the point of a budget is creating a buffer for the not normal spending. I sat down this weekend to start facing the reality of A Budget.

Just a review of my bank account revealed something that shocked me - I spend a LOT more money at Publix/Costco (primarily food, but other incidentals too) than I'd thought. Like, really? Can that be TRUE? My bank statement must be lying! That's ridiculous!

And no, this isn't because a Whole Food Plant Based diet is "so expensive." It's the other things (wine) that fall into my cart (ingredients for things I don't get around for making) and assorted non-necessities (treats) (wine) (Oooh, that looks good) that fall into my cart and drive up my grocery bill.

I'm a foodie. I read cookbooks for fun, I plan recipes, and I cook more than a single person can consume, unless I want to eat the same thing every day like a dog. I don't want to do that. And because I read cookbooks for fun, I am too often inspired to plan recipes I won't get around to making during a busy, tiring work week. So I have a pantry with cornmeal and soy curls and various pastas and cans of just about everything, a big tub of miso and bags of frozen fruit in the fridge, and I can't even tell you which recipes they were purchased to make. I know I had a reason when I bought the ingredients, but I only know I came home from work too tired to make it, and cooked a veggie burger instead.

I'm a food stasher. The parallel to yarn stashing cannot be ignored. It's all about the dream of the new recipe/project, vs. the reality of time/energy. I have a lot of food stash on hand right now, and my food spending has been out of control for at least the last couple of months. So I hereby vow before the entire innernets that I am getting control of my pantry and freezer this month. I am going to inventory the contents, plan meals around what I HAVE on hand, and only buy the necessary fresh produce/almond milk/whatever that round out the meal.

I was restrained at Trader Joe's - frozen veggies, crackers, some boxed convenience entrees my daughter says are fabulous, and cookie butter for my daughter. I did buy two tubs of the ginger cookies for my household, because they are fabulous AND Murphy's tummy responds well to them. I will not visit TJ again until September. This isn't just an oath of frugality; this is the reality that the only time you can get an effin' parking space at that store is before 9 a.m. on Sunday morning, and I'm only willing to do that shit once a month.


Brenda B. said...

I waste allot of food because it is packaged in quantities that are ridiculous for a single person. And once I put something into my freezer, it stays in there until I go on a cleaning binge and toss it---

Caroline aka FiberTribe said...

You might try a foodie version of what I've begun doing with my stash. I tape the pattern (read, recipe) to the stash item. In the case of freezer or panty you could just use a recipe name on one of those neat post-it tabs. Living so rurally (nearest serious groceries are 4 hours away) I have to rely on pantry and box freezer. And of course, you and I are both daughters of depression era moms and I know I feel more secure with two of everything in the pantry. so yeah, one has to play to one's comfort level. Good luck with it!

Catherine said...

That's a good idea, Caroline - I'm now thinking of variations on it, like keeping a running list with my grocery list, linking the recipes with the ingredients. "Soy curls are for the chili on page whatever of whatever cookbook...." Something like that.