My husband and I normally spend around $200-300 on groceries per month. Considering that our "foodstamps" provision would be $240 if we were to do this for a whole month, you would think that this would be easy. But it won't. (Or maybe it will?).
You see, we are partakers of the prepared food. Our area in NJ is resplendent when it comes to eating establishments: Vietnamese, Mexican, Peruvian, Brazilian, Cantonese, Indian, Bangladeshi, Afghan, Japanese, El Salvadoran, Ecuadorian, Korean, German, Italian, Portuguese, Jamaican, Sri Lankan, Cuban, French, Thai, Ghanaian. About twice a week, sometimes more, we go out to eat. And then we survive on the leftovers. (Yes, I do cook... but usually it's based on something previously bought, like last week when I used the leftover mulligatawny soup as a sauce for the leftover thanksgiving turkey).
Every other Monday is Cheap Chicken night: my husband and I run to the Acme to buy food for the next few weeks and grab the fried chicken special (8 pieces for $5.99). Adding a $1 frozen veggie and a $1 Knorr Side Pasta and call it dinner. During the rest of the week, we may have the chicken for dinner another night and then the rest, my hubby takes to work for lunch. It may be cheap (less than 75 cents a piece) but it's not covered by SNAP.
My husband is a bit better when it comes to lunch ("brownbagged" sandwich and snacks) but I'm more of a flybytheseatofmypants gal... grabbing a chicken and rice soup from the Chinese takeout joint, Quick Check sub, or even chicken chile relleno from Mis Amigos. Let's not forget that once-a-month sushi delivery.
SO HERE GOES DAY ONE...
BREAKFAST: Opened the 88 cent Acme Toasted Oats (on sale for $1.88 then the manager gave us $1 coupon) and Parmalat milk (from Stop and Shop for $2.19). How do I remember these prices? I'm pretty competitive when I'm looking for a bargain. It makes me feel better when we are gorging ourselves at Mister Pi in Warren.
(Hubby: Cereal, milk, orange juice and coffee).
LUNCH: Didn't really happen. I brought some snacks to my morning job, two clementines and a bag of cornchips. The boss had brought in a Cheesecake Factory pumpkin cheesecake in that someone had gave him and instructed his secretary to throw whatever remained at the end of the day in the garbage (Luckily, someone took it home). No, I was a good girl and didn't have any of it... any of the $46.95 (plus at least $20 S&H) cheesecake. At 2:30, my stomach was grumbly so I opened a box of oatmeal I had bought in bulk since it had been only a buck for 5 servings and had me a portion. Flax seed CAN taste good :)
(Hubby: leftover turkey wing, leftover grapes, a clementine, and chips)
I worked later than I planned, stopped off at home to pick up some cash and headed to ALDI. Thought I managed the shopping part pretty well but I only had $37 and the total was $46... needed to subtract some of the fun stuff. Got home, grabbed a couple of handfuls of peanuts and two cheesesticks. Now to dinner.
Thai Curried Peanut Pork with Noodles: Sliced up a pork tenderloin, salt and peppered, and seared in pan using one Tablespoon of the four sticks of butter I had to purchase (rest is in freezer). Simmered in orange juice for a few minutes. Removed half to use later in week. Add curry, dried lemongrass, two heaping tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter, low-sodium soy sauce; add more orange juice to create sauce. Serve over whole wheat egg noodles. Handful of baby carrots to much on (forgot to cook them with the pork) Drink du jour: water with lemon juice.