April 24, 2013

"go super stores!" or "hurray for the not-so-little guy"

a few weeks back i planned an epic battle royale of the grocery options in my life. it turned into, f-it, i'll just walk to trader joe's. just about every sunday at 4pm, i grab my reusable bag, call my mom and walk 7 blocks over and 2 blocks up to my trader joe's. we chat along the way, sometimes in the store, quietly, but never while i'm checking out. if she's not available i'll put in a pod cast and laugh a little too loudly "to myself." i'm totally focused, the ultimate multi-tasker. if the other shoppers would focus more on their shopping and less on looking at me with the "she's one of those ipod people," they wouldn't run into me or the other shoppers. i'm watching where i'm going!

ok, that took a dark turn, back to my original point: to shop at a super store or a smaller grocery store. for a few months i'd been taking one evening every other week and driving out to target. my reasoning was that they had the stuff i don't usually buy at the grocery store: toilet paper, paper towels, the occasional superhero t-shirt. this week, as i made my list of what to get at target, i couldn't really justify the trip. everything i'd put in the "target" column of my excel grocery file (i'll show you in a moment) i realized could be purchased closer to my apt at tj's or albertson's, i was basically just going there b/c i needed toilet paper and it is usually a better deal. totally not worth the drive. i went to tj's instead and i gotta say, i think it's about the same price. not as plush as my cottonelle (the puppy is so cute!) but, it'll do. i'll save the target trips for when i need a prescription refilled or for when they have a really good deal, like this shiny new shelving unit i put in the kitchen.

please ignore the bags of recycling, the day got away from me

now, about that excel file. many years ago i lived with a ridiculously organized boyfriend. hand to god, he called saturdays "reset-urday," b/c that was the designated day to clean and "reset" our apartment. in addition to the cutesy names, he also came up with a dinner calendar for us. not entirely sure how he set up the random generator but the basic idea was: 14 possible food combinations spread out over 20 days (weekends were free days). some meals had leftovers and the calculator accounted for that as well. i've reverse engineered a much smaller version, by planning what to eat each week and tracking what i actually ate.

the end result, i bring my lunch to work just about every day. i used to have coffee for breakfast spend around $30 a week on lunch alone, a little more for an afternoon snack and just making spaghetti or a similar pasta when i got home. kinda of expensive and really boring! now i spend around $20 a week at the store and have yummy breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner with some variety. i do occasionally have cereal for supper, cause i'm just too tired to fix anything. sometimes i don't eat anything for breakfast, a habit i'm trying to change.

to help the process along, and since i'm only feeding one person, i've created my little sunday routine. make brown rice, quinoa, fruit bars, cook chicken, chop veggies, cut smoothie fruit and store everything in their little tupperware homes until needed. i'm living a dump & blend / dump & heat life, it's pretty awesome. it also ensures i'm never starving on a run day.

my excel file via dropbox app

as promised, the above is my worksheet. i track the cost at different stores when i'm there (usually by oz.) on the "stores" sheet, keep track of / plan for the week on the "menu" sheet and keep an ongoing list of what to buy on the "shop" sheet. i'm not married to the calendar, some days i just say f-it and buy pizza at our on lot cafe. it's a start tho.

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