Being done with logistics

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I'm now left to think about the below exercise in "frugality". I know that the main purpose of the article was to show that ANYONE could feed a family reasonably with $100 (albeit boring with lots of rice, potatoes and beans lol).

I still can't help thinking on how I could've done it better and cheaper. Especially since that allows for more fruit and veggies. I deliberate chose certain cuts of meat. I didn't want someone's bias against certain parts of the chicken to go against me. So instead of getting $.99/lb thighs which are much moister then breasts in most situations. I opted for the breast which most people see as superior. The one place I didn't do that was in the canned tuna. I just don't care for albacore and you're only going to splaster it with mayo anyways (hmmm forgot to add that to my shopping list...oops!)

The 3lb bag of chicken could've easily made 3 chicken breast meals. Afterall a reasonable serving of meat for an adult is only 4oz. So a family with 2 adults would use 8oz, a 4yo and toddler maybe another 4oz but I'll even give them 6oz. That's only 14oz for a meal! So in reality they only needed a pound of meat per meal, not the 1.5 pounds I gave them. They could make it go even further by using the chicken in a casserole or as an ingredient instead of the main portion.

Buying in bulk really does save. My theoretical $300/wk for my family will buy a lot more food per dollar then their $100/wk. I had to decline the use of some meat in the ad because the cheap price was for 3lbs or more. Fine for my family for a week...not so much for a family of 4. Unless variety isn't something they're striving for...Are they ok eating Italian sausage 4 days a week? lol If they did the experiment for a month and allowed the family to buy things one week to save for a different week, it would've been even easier to do.

The same goes to say for shopping the sales and having a stocked pantry/freezer and shopping at a discount store (or multiple stores) which of course weren't allowed in this project. I still couldn't help but think...Man! $2.00 for a dozen eggs! I can get them for $1.25 at the convenience store! That's a whole nother dozen of eggs with change to spare.

The problem is, even with all the right knowledge at your fingertips. Unless you have a desire or drive to do is a hardship. Not to mention it's all perspective. What's my easily doable and yummy menu is someone else's impossible time constraint inferior menu. To some countries it's a banquet fit for a king.

Dusting off the cobwebs!

Friday, July 25, 2008

And what brings me out? Well for one thing I need to get back on track with my food planning, especially now that my kitchen is nice and clean and I can work in it! The main motivator though was this article over at MSN...Can a family eat on $100/wk

I had to laugh at the stereotypes in this article...sick of beans, rice and puffed rice. I'd LOVE to have $300/wk to spend on groceries. (my family=3x family of 4 so 3x the budget) I'd even love to have $300 every 2wks to spend. Things are so tight here that on paper I have ZERO food money. Granted I always seem to find enough to get us by with. Usually it's pocket money, overtime and robbing Peter to feed Paul. So I can't complain. Still I decided to try my hand at this gimmick.

I decided I'd use a store fairly close to NYC so it couldn't be said that prices were too low where I lived. (plus I don't advertise the location other then Central NY). I picked a Price Chopper in Middletown, NY. I also decided I would try to have some meat in almost each meal. I did fairly well. I even managed to do a no cook/take out dinner of pizza! For the things that weren't in the ad I OVER estimated according to what prices I pay at the Wal-mart near me. I think I was generous with serving sizes since the article featured 2 adults, a 4yo and a toddler. There'd be leftovers with my menu but I only counted on one lunch with them. The milk amount might be weird as we don't drink it with meals. I tried to compensate for that. So here's my menu, food cost and shopping list...

Scrambled Eggs with ham steak/Toast
Egg sandwiches with ham slices
PB toast/Cantelope

Tuna sandwiches
Ham sandwiches
Ham sandwiches
Baked potatoes

Pizza/baby carrots
Raviolis with sauce/bread/spinach salad
Baked chicken breast/frozen corn/rice pilaf
Shrimp Alfredo/spaghetti/sauteed veggies
Ham steaks/parmesean egg noodles/frozen green beans
BBQ chicken breast/spinach salad/cornbread
Pork chops/sauteed veggies/mashed potatoes

1.50 - raviolis
1.50 - spaghetti sauce (know I can get it for $1)
6.80 - 6 loaves Friehoffer's split top bread B1G2F - $3.40/3 22oz loaves
2.00 - 2 bagged spinach B1G1F - $1.99
1.00 - margarine
2.00 - 2 european cukes B1G1F - $1.99
1.50 - Italian salad dressing
4.00 - parmesean cheese
1.50 - egg noodles
6.00 - 3lb bag individually frozen chicken breast
2.00 - 2 bags frozen veggies (corn & green beans)
2.40 - 1/2 lb cooked shrimp - $4.80/lb 71-90ct
9.00 - 3 gallons milk
1.20 - 1 lb spaghetti/linguine
5.00 - 12 slice deli take out pizza
1.00 - 1lb baby carrots
2.00 - 2 lb summer squash - $.99/lb
4.00 - 2 pkgs ham steaks - B1G1F - 12oz each (estimate original pkg price)
4.00 - 2 pkgs sliced deli ham - B1G1F - 12oz (same as above)
1.00 - rice
1.00 - boullion
1.00 - 2 pkgs cornbread mix
3.00 - 5lb bag of potatoes
3.00 - gallon OJ (loss leader...Great price!)
3.00 - 3lb red grapes - $.99/lb
2.00 - 1lb pork chops
4.00 - 2dz eggs
1.50 - 2 cans chunk light tuna
2.00 - skippy peanut butter
2.40 - yoplait yogurt $6/10
1.50 - oatmeal
2.00 - flour
3.00 - sugar
1.50 - jelly
4.00 - instant coffee
3.00 - cantelope

With the remaining (and surplus I know I'll have from estimating) I'd add one or some of these....

bag of popcorn kernels
Brownie mix $10/10
Pretzels $1.00
tea bags (to make sweet tea)
bottle lemon juice (to make lemonade)

Funny...I don't see any puffed rice, no beans and only one yummy side of rice. So I have NO idea what this article is talking about!