First off I need to apologize for not updating in a while. Things have taken a bit of a step backwards in my life recently and I needed a few days to refocus and figure out where to go from here. The very same day of my last post, I got a call from my boss while I was out at a school doing training. He asked me to drop everything and come into the office within the next 15 minutes. When I arrived, I was told I was being laid off and that would be my last day. It had nothing to do with my performance and therefore I’m trying really hard not to feel ashamed by it. It’s just that he ran out of money.
The frustrating part is this is the 3rd job within two years where I’ve been laid off: first from teaching (I was one of 11 teachers cut at my school), then at an internet start-up (where the company moved to Denver) and now this. I’d like to say that every time it happens it gets easier, and a lot of my friends have told me that I’m handling it surprising well. But the truth is, I’m terrified of this happening again, bouncing from job to job, never really knowing what path my life is taking.
Anyway, didn’t mean to get so melodramatic with this post. Just thought I’d share since I know there are probably a lot of you out there that are going through something similar, or have had family and friends experiencing it.
And because of that, I thought I might take my blog in a bit of a different turn. The good news is that I am receiving unemployment until I can find a new position. The not so good news is that the amount I’m getting is going to make things a little tight. If we subtract my rent, my cell phone bill and my internet (my only 3 monthly expenses), I have exactly $68.25 left per week for everything else. And while there are obvious cutbacks like not going out to eat and not buying any new clothes, there are some expenses that are harder to cut. Like groceries.
Now my immediate thought when I was in college and ran out of money was just to buy ramin. Not only is it delicious, you can normally find it for 10 cents a packet. 10 cents for a meal! That’s a great way to save money, right? Sure, except when I did this in college, I also gained 10lbs. Did you know that ramin noodles are terrible for you?
So the question is, can I still eat clean and more or less paleo on $50 a week or less?
Jewel-Osco Haul Week #1:
- Six cans of Starkiss Tuna in water – $.89 each (normally 1.19 each)
– Tuna is one of the easiest things to keep in your pantry. You can stalk up on it since it will take a while for it to go bad. And depending on how you prepare it, can be both filling and healthy. Most sales I’ve seen tuna go on are for about $1 each, so at .89 I decided to buy a few. Also stay away from tuna in oil. Not only is tuna in water better for you, but the oil just looks gross.
–Update: Tuna is on sale for $.77 cents at CVS starting this Sunday (5/6). Lesson learned is to not rule out drugstores as places to look for groceries. Might pick up a few more cans.
- 10 Fage 2% Greek Yogurt – $1 each (normally 1.65 each)
– My favorite Greek yogurt hands down. I’ve tried Chobani and Oikos but nothing compares. I used to buy the 0% yogurts, which are more on the bitter side but I did enjoy them. Until I tried the 2%. Oh man what a difference. Suddenly my greek yogurt tastes like ice cream (Ok not really…but you understand). Then I did some research. By buying the 2%, you gain about 50 calories. But you also gain 4% more protein. And it’s delicious. Worth it.
– Now Fage also comes in 35 oz buckets, which depending on the store go for about $7-$10. The individual containers are 6oz. The bucket seems like the better deal, but when I did the math, I found that the buckets were about .28 cents per oz while the individual containers on sale for $1 are .16 per oz. And this is the second time I’ve seen this size go on sale for a $1 a piece, so keep your eyes open.
– Greek yogurt has an awesome shelf life, which is why I bought 10. According to the package, they don’t expire until the end of May. One yogurt per day for breakfast and you can easily go through 10 of them before they go bad.
- 2 ears of corn – $.40 cents each (normally $.60 cents each)
– For $.40 cents, why not? Jake and I fell in love with grilling corn last summer. And since it is currently 79 degrees and sunny, they are definitely going on the grill tonight.
- 3 large Granny Smith apples – $2.38 ($1.33 per pound. Three apples = 1.79lbs)
-I’m a little obsessed with Granny Smith Apples. They’re great for that afternoon snack, especially if you’re about to head to the gym after work. And just sour enough to take care of my sugar candy cravings. Although not exactly sure about what price is right. A few days ago I bought two of the same apples at The Market, the local grocery store here, for $.79 cents a pop. Thought it would be cheaper at Jewel but I guess not.
- Romaine Hearts – $2.49
– Pretty basic salad material. And I have a number of different salad recipes that I could use it for. I think a pack typically makes me about 5 salads, depending on how much other stuff you put in it. Although I’m sure you noticed that I didn’t buy other veggies for salads. That’s the only downside to my haul. Tomatos were too expensive.
-Next time I might buy spinach instead. It’s about the same price and not only can be used for salads, but can also be sautéed to make a recipe I tried a while ago and promise I will post soon. The reason I went with romaine instead is that you get more meals out of it than the package of spinach.
- 2.68lbs of lean ground beef – $8.01 ($2.99/lb)
– Ground beef is pretty versatile and is typically a staple in my fridge. I can use it to keep going on my chili cook-off series (I have a new one to share with you!), or use it for the Lettuce Wrap Tacos.
-As far as the price goes, I’ve noticed that meat seems to always be on “sale.” They just increase or decrease the discount from week to week. Chicken breast was $4.89/lb, ground turkey was about $3.20/lb, salmon was $4.99 for 6oz. Beef this week was clearly the winner. But keep your eyes open and compare before buying a protein. There are tons of recipes for all of them, so each week you can pick the cheapest.
Week One Total Spending = $29.67