Gimme $20

This month I challenged myself to eat only $20 of groceries a week. Last week, I missed my mark by over $20, tonight I only missed it by .65 cents! Granted, I have some leftover items at home: black beans, lentils, oatmeal, rice, an orange, olive oil, garlic, tea, half a jar of peanut butter, a box of green tea, some slices of cheese, salsa, a bag of carrots, and spices. However, I think this may workout. I’m going to push it forward and see what next month brings.


How many meals am I able to get out of this?

Believe it or not, I am able to get three meals plus snacks and many servings of tea a day from the printed list and the items I have left at home.

How do I do it? 

When I wake up in the morning, I start my day with a glass of hot water to cleanse my system. From there I usually have some hot green tea, to save on the tea cost, I re-heat the same bag about two times throughout the day and it still gives me that green tea flavor that I like. Typically, I’ll have oatmeal for breakfast. I purchase a large box of plain oats which usually lasts a couple of weeks. Around 10AM or so, I eat a piece of fruit, usually a banana or an apple. Last week, I purchased a large box of eggs so that added variety to my breakfast.

When it comes to lunch, I alternate between a hefty salad which includes kale, broccoli, mushroom, onions, garlic, jalapeno, carrots or whatever other vegetables I decide to purchase for that week. Sometimes I’ll have wheat pita with avocado, cheese and veggies.

Dinner is small, loaded vegetable soup or rice and bean sauce.

Things I snack on throughout the day: celery and peanut butter, carrots, cucumber, crackers (if I buy that week), and Cheetos (my current junk feel good food obsession).

What am I missing on my grocery list?

Meat. Meat. Meat. I’ve been on a vegetarian-pescatarian-but I only eat meat like three times a month journey since January… In the last couple of months, I’ve been eating strictly vegetarian with the exception of a grasshopper and a piece of jerky from Farm & Wilderness Camps.

Organic. This whole $20 grocery thing is new. Before that I was buying organic, vegetarian which was costly. I think I spent about $80-100 a week on average. I can’t sustain that on my current salary if I want to save. BUT! Don’t just buy your groceries anywhere. All of us have been to those grocery stores that smell like a meat market partying inside of rotting fruit–don’t shop in those places, ever, but not eating organic for a couple of months or years won’t kill you, hopefully.

Eating out. I don’t do it although sometimes I really want to. If I want to treat myself, I do, because that’s important but eating out is no longer a habit.

Drinking. I don’t buy liquor. Before this month’s challenge, I did the occasional bottle of wine which I may maintain because–come on, I’m a community organizer, I need wine.

Coffee. I just don’t buy or drink it anymore.

Flose, you’re insane, I don’t know if I can do this

Yes, I am insane, but yes you can do this. Your limit doesn’t have to be $20, make it thirty or fifty–do what works best for you, your family and your diet. The important thing about this challenge is that I am making conscious food decisions and so can you. We are quite wasteful in this country, and we take abundance for granted. Join me… Imagine my soft voice pulling you in like some cult leader, join me in becoming a less frivolous you!

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