Market Budget Breakdown
July 26, 2010 § 1 Comment
As a newly unemployed person who has been living in denial of a lack of income, I thought it might be about time for me to start seriously considering this thing known as a “budget”. I never thought about it too much before because I was always pretty good about living within my means. But now that I am living strictly off of savings until I figure out my next career move, I have to be much more careful or I’ll be out on my ass with nothing more than a fabulous collection of restaurant menus.
But while I need to watch my money (like everyone), I am not willing to compromise and start eating cheap food. It would certainly be easier to throw in the towel and start eating off the dollar menu, but not only would I start to hate myself immediately but I also know that it is totally possible to eat local, sustainable food and still stay on budget. You just have to put a little more thought into food shopping and meal planning.
I’ve been told by several people lately that this seems to be their stumbling block, so I’m going to take a stab at putting my weekly budget and meal plan on paper (er, screen). I can’t say this is the most cost effective week I’ve ever had, but hopefully it will help both me and you to write it down and see what works and what doesn’t.
$10- Pork belly, EcoFriendly Foods. This is arguably the best pork belly in America. David Chang uses this belly in his famous pork buns at Momofuku in NYC. $10 is a STEAL. It was in a broken bag, so they gave us a deal at $20 for the whole belly, which was like 10 lbs. It was so big I split it in half with my friends Hae Min and James, who apparently are cooking some Korean bbq with it (I’m trying to talk them into a guest post with recipes). I plan on making pancetta with some, and cutting the rest into pieces to freeze and use in the coming months. This is a great way to save money. Buy in bulk when the price is right; your freezer is your best friend.
$15- Tree and Leaf Farm. 4 heirloom tomatoes, 3 small zucchinis, 2 red onions, basket of heirloom lettuces, 1 bunch each green and purple basil. Zac Lester is one of my favorite farmers in this area. He is the real deal. He is passionate about growing the best possible vegetables and doing it in a way that is healthy for the earth and his customers. They were giving away free basil with the purchase of tomatoes, and with other stands selling basil for $2.50 a bunch, this was a great deal.
$3.35- 3 Yellow Peaches, Toigo Orchards. This was a completely unnecessary purchase since I am still full of ripe plums, but they looked so good I just couldn’t help myself.
$9- New Morning Farm (Certified Organic). 1 bulb garlic, 1 cucumber, 1 Purple Cherokee tomato, 2 ears sweet corn, 1 bunch parsley, 2 heads romaine lettuce. I was there at the end of market and they were having a special on romaine- $1 for 2 heads! Shopping at the end of market is a great tip, often farmers will lower prices on delicate things they know won’t hold for resale (like lettuce). I’ve seen New Morning do this many weeks.
$3.50- 1 quart Creamline Milk, Clear Spring Creamery. The best milk I’ve ever had. Hands down.
TOTAL: $40.85. Not bad, since my weekly market budget is $40. I still have some food in my fridge that I didn’t finish from last week too, like eggs, yogurt, bread, beets, short ribs, and some meat in my freezer. I probably didn’t need to even buy that much, but I’ve never been good at restraint. It’s a learning process.
I’ll start posting daily meals made, but this seems like a good start. I probably could have spent less if I had bought through my CSA, but I completely forgot to put in my order. We’ll see how the week goes. I’ll try to not do random daily shopping, that adds up so quickly!