Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Eating on a Budget: The Rewind

I really need to start thinking about this SNAP Challenge. Why? Well, Susie over at Daily Cheapskate already has her budget breakdown in mind. She's going to rock 30% on protein and 20% on fruits and veggies, with the rest going to odds and ends.

For me -- the kosher, gluten-free ovo-vegetarian -- my budget will probably look something like 50% fruits and veggies, 20% grains, and 20% protein (eggs) and other odds and ends. Of course, I haven't sat down and actually figured out what I'm planning on making, and it's already Wednesday. This could be a problem. 

The challenge for we three (Susie, Mara, and me) begins on Monday and ends on July 22. If only the challenge could have started on Sunday! I'm getting free meals for part of that day as part of an organizational retreat. D'oh. Okay, so let's get discussing.

There are certain things that I buy every week by default and end up making a few nights a week.

  • One bunch kale -- this will provide enough kale for a few meals for me. 
  • One bag brown rice -- with the right spices and veggies, this will provide many meals. 
  • One bag brown lentils -- I've got two words for you: BBQ lentils. OH YES. 
  • Two yellow onions -- this'll last me a week, easy. 
  • One bunch bananas -- should provide smoothies for me every morning.
  • One loaf gluten-free bread -- one loaf should last me the whole week.
  • One bag quinoa -- for breakfast, snacks, sides, you name it.
Then there are some things I'm not sure how to figure out price-wise. I might have to talk to the folks at Mazon and/or read the rules and regulations to see how this pans out. I know that condiments aren't considered in the $31.50 I'm allowed to spend, but ...
  • Amazing Meal plain powder -- I use a scoop in a smoothie every morning. Should I price out by scoop? No receipt!
  • Almond Nut Butter -- does this count as a condiment? 
  • Almond milk -- I already have a container, but I don't have the receipt from CostCo in which I paid something like $7.99 for three cartons earlier this month. What do I do?
  • Tomatoes -- what if my tomato plant magically turns all the tomatoes red and usable? How do I count THIS?
Okay, as I write all of this out I realize ... I need a plan. The morning smoothies might not be an option, especially with the price of the Amazing Meal powder I use. On Amazon it's $34.29 for a container that provides 15 servings. That's $2.28 a day, and I usually make the smoothie at least four days a week. That, right there, is $9.12 of my $31.50 budget. Yikes. 

And the coffee! I haven't even thought about the coffee or tea! Good sweet holy mother of ... 

See what stream-of-consciousness posting gets you? What my father would call a cluster[youknowtherest].

Stay tuned. I need to do some hardcore meal planning, folks.