NBI – Day 4

Sunday is our traditional day for the food shopping. Because of accounting issues (i.e., concerns of checbook balances), we had $100 cash to use. After a lot of head-scratching and calculations, I managed to spend less than $80. We typically spend about twice that much for a family of three, which I think is ridiculous. But I always chop carefully, looking for bargains and clipping coupons, taking a special pride in seeing how much of the original cost I can knock off.

A breakdown for the weekly staples:

2 gallons of milk, $4
1- 1 1/2 gallons of OJ, $6-9
Turkey, $5
Cheese, $2
Yogurt, $5
Eggs, $4
Pasta, $2
Sauce, $1
Produce, $20-25
Bread / rolls, $6
Cereal, $3-5
Paper goods, $5
Non-food items (detergent, wraps, etc.), $6-10
Cookies, $3-6
Water, $2-5
Canned vegetables / soup, $4
Health aisle (Toothpaste, shamppo, etc.), $6

There’s also the occasional trip to the kosher butcher, every 4-5 weeks or so, good for anywhere between $25-50, depending on our needs. If we have a few people over, or I have to bake something special, it adds on.

Are these figuers outlandish? At first blush, it seems not. But we’re also big impulse buyers, always looking to try new things or figuring, “I can use that,” without deep planning.

I tried to outfox the appetizing aspect. We usually buy turkey and cheese, often too much, and end up throwing a lot out. So I thought to buy sloces, rather than by weight. I figure four slices of turkey per three sandwichs. So the 12 slices ended up weight more than I usually buy.

I debated a lot of products, putting some back, taking a few more to get it down to the proper prices.

But it’s not just the money that Levine considers. It’s to social and environmental impacts. Not to get into a philosophical discussion about vegetarianism, but we rarely eat meat, so couldn;t we just eliminate it altogether?

Our diet consists of a lot of pasta / grain, vegetables, cheese. And crap. Cookies, chips, cakes. Not oly is it expensive, but one has to wonder about the way the food is prepared, not to mention the packaging. I’ve always tried to instill in my daughter a skepticism about marketing and advertsing. Somewhere along the way, that’s fallen by the wayside.

I keep having this fantasy about not buying anything one week (well perhaps just milk and juice), and just making do with the items in our pantry, which is always well-stocked. Our group of cereal looks like something out of Jerry Seinfield’s shelf.


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