I'm Avoiding Grocery Shopping – Day 65: Eating Well On $1 A Day


I really should do another decent sized shopping trip to get needed basics again, and I have been avoiding doing so like the plague. I have absolutely no desire to do so (probably not the best feeling to have on a blog that is about grocery shopping). I know that I am going to be traveling in a few days and I know what a pain it is to take all the food I have along with me, so I think that subconsciously I made the decision not to shop so I wouldn't have so much to take with me.

I'm not sure if this is a good thing. On the one hand, it shows that I have built up a big enough base of food that I can feed myself for a week or more without shopping which is great, but it also is setting myself up for having to spend more because when I do run out of food, I will have to buy what is available and not what is currently the best price. I hope that this doesn't come back to bite me later on.

What this all indicates is that I have started to get lazy and complacent on spending because of the $25 cushion I have managed to create (in relative terms to how closely I had to watch my budget when I first began this challenge). I have even been skipping some deals that I would have definitely done in the past because I don't have to do them. I think I have even reached the point where I feel comfortable enough to start getting myself some things I would have considered splurges in the early days of this challenge and I am hoping that by doing so I can expand on the types of meals I have been making.

I did pick up another 4 loquats on my morning walk, but have reached the point where I now have taken all the “low lying hanging fruit” and will have to figure out a way to reach the fruit that is higher up in the tree:

loquats out of reach

Anyone have a good suggestion for this?

Kashi Cheerios Cereal

I have been hurting a bit in the morning because I haven't purchased bananas for awhile which I need for my morning smoothies and thus I have been relying on cereal. I will no longer be able to do that. I am completely out of both the Honey Nut and regular Cheerios and only have a small bit of the Kashi cereal left (just enough to add to a cup of yogurt). I'm not sure what I will do in the next couple of days before I begin the new house sitting job, but I guess i will have to improvise.

day 65 cereal

Roasted Veggies & Spinach Salad

In my attempt to reduce the amount of food I have to take with me, I have been using up as much as I can of the leftovers. I decided to finish off the roasted veggies and I also made a lettuce and spinach salad topped with tomatoes for lunch:

roasted veggies lunch

spinach salad with tomato

In the late afternoon I had a double peanut butter sandwich (two slices of bread, but peanut butter spread on each one) and also finished off the last of the plums I had foraged.

Fresh Spinach Pasta Salad with Ranch Dressing

I decide to put together a pasta salad using tomatoes, onions, spinach and ranch dressing. I made the mistake of putting in a bit too much onion (I had to take some of them out because they were so strong), but otherwise it was a tasty meal that didn't take a lot of time.

spinach pasta salad ingredients

spinach pasta salad

This is the current list of food I still have
This is the current list of what I have purchased:

Goal: 100 days eating on $1 a day
Current Money Spent: $39.89
Money Left to Spend: $60.11 ($5.54 must be spent at CVS)
Retail Value of Everything Purchased: $1194.18

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The Beginning ::: Poll Results ::: Step By Step Safeway ecoupon MoneyMaker Example ::: Day 66: Wild Turkey (not the drinking kind)

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23 Responses to I'm Avoiding Grocery Shopping – Day 65: Eating Well On $1 A Day

  1. J says:

    I think you’re looking for the phrase: “low hanging fruit.”

  2. Christina says:

    Just an FYI, Safeway has recently updated their coupon policy. While this is still YMMV depending on your local store, the new policy now states that coupons may be adjusted to the sales price to avoid giving overage, and that they will no longer allow transactions to go negative/pay the customer after coupon use. You may want to keep this in mind and not rely too heavily on any overage since you’re avoiding shopping at the moment…it might be that the days of overage are gone at Safeway :(

    Almost coupon fraud on Safeway’s part when you think about it. The clearinghouse will reimburse them for the full face value of the coupon PLUS the handling fee, regardless of the amount they actually gave the consumer off the item. Alas, they are free to set their own policies, just as we are free to choose to shop there or not; free is still better than retail :)

  3. Christina says:

    Oh, here’s the link to the new policy:

    http://www.safeway.com/IFL/Grocery/Coupons-Policy

  4. jeffrey says:

    @Christina

    I actually don’t think that it will affect the possibility of getting overages much for the following reasons:

    1. A single coupon that was worth more than the item was rare and this will be other only place where this new policy will affect.

    2. When stacking coupon to get overages (which is the most common way to create them), it will still work. That is because each coupon itself is lower than the retail price so none of the coupons will be adjusted down by the cashier.

    For example, if you have a product for $1.50 and a $2.00 off coupon, the $2.00 coupon will be adjusted down to $1.50 and you get the item for free (no overage). However, if you have a $1.50 product and a $1.00 off 1 store coupon and a $1.00 off 1 manufacturer coupon, each will go through and won’t be adjusted down (because the price of the product is more than each coupon) meaning that the $0.50 overage can be used toward other things.

  5. Joan.of.the.Arch says:

    How to get the out of reach fruit is an age old problem. If you Google apple picker or fruit picker you should be able to find many home-grown solutions. Here’s one. http://marcsala.blogspot.com/2009/07/diy-fruit-picker-made-from-recycled.html I have no idea how easily loquats detach from the tree. If they come off very easily when ripe, maybe all you need is the can, bottle, basket, or jar attached to the end of the pole. With apples one generally needs the “claws” pictured in that link.

  6. Eric says:

    Where’s the beef? Another meal without protein.

  7. jeffrey says:

    @Eric

    I’ve been eating a couple of peanut butter sandwiches daily – that doesn’t count as protein?

  8. beth says:

    You can eat foods that are not traditionally considered “breakfast” foods for your first meal(s) of the day.

    I like the fruit-gleaning contraption that Joan linked to in her comment. But you could also get one of these if you’re not a diy person: http://pick-up-tool.com/html/grabber_tool_comparison.html

  9. Saryn says:

    The spinich pasta salad look great!

    Any chance you have a lacrosse stick to grab and catch the fruit? Sounds silly but it reminds me of the apple pickers we get when we go to the orchard…

    Saryn

  10. Donk says:

    Have been enjoying reading your food adventures, though I think you are nuts for putting yourself through it!

    I’m from the UK and here these kind of coupon shenanigans are practically impossible – practically all coupons are labeled “not to be used in conjunction with any other offer”, presumably to stop people getting almost-free shopping as you have been doing!

    Great work on all the stuff you donate to the food banks too. Do any of them have websites? While I can’t really help from here I’d be interested to read more about them.

  11. Jim says:

    What about hunting?

    You could wait for the squirrel to pick the loquats, then trap them as they come down the tree. Two birds with one stone! :D

  12. Shannon says:

    Sounds like you need what I got in the mail today – three “Get a free Kelloggs product – up to $5 value” coupons – from the recalled cereals. I am going to try and get the best deal possible – these are good until 2/2011!

  13. Joanna says:

    I often use cooking tongs to get things out of reach since I’m rather short. I don’t know how delicate loquats are, but if you don’t mind carrying them around with you, tongs will give you and extra 1-1.5 feet or so.

  14. Beth says:

    The local CVS has a “buy 3 boxes of cereal @ $10 and get $5 back in extra bucks” deal going on.

    I’m not in your league, but I had $1 off coupons for three of the cereals in the deal. Three boxes of cereal for $2 is plenty cheap enough to make me happy. :)

  15. jeffrey says:

    @Shannon

    Definitely wait for a Kelloggs catalina coupon deal – you’ll do great on it with those coupons :)

  16. adam says:

    when you’re chopping onions to eat raw, cut them very finely, they go much further and distribute more evenly.

  17. Lostinbrave says:

    For a picker. duck tape a can(large enough to hold the fruit) to the end of a pole and just put the fruit you want in the can and push up or shake. you might also be able to put it on the working end of a garden rake with enough space and pull down.
    First started doing this to pick apricots, and have since had success with many variety of fruits.

  18. Susan says:

    To get at fruit higher up in the trees – I’ve seen in Toronto Dollarama stores (and originally on TV infomercials years ago) a long plastic stick (guesstimate 3 ft long) with a claw/hand at the end of the stick that you can manipulate with the handle to grab at things really low or really high. It was only a $1 at the dollar store.

  19. Melanie says:

    I had one of those grabber things. the Gopher is what’s it’s called. We use to to grab things out of the dumpster; usually pop cans. but it would probably work on fruit too.

  20. Kelly says:

    One contraption my grandparents use is a metal rod with a metal can attached to the end. They reach avocados high in the tree but for smaller fruit try a regular sized canned good, remove the top, eat the contents obviously, cut a small notch in the edge to form a V. Then attach it to a rod like a broom handle and push the can up. Capture the fruit in the can, use the V notch to cut the connection to the tree and the fruit is easily caught in the can.

  21. Mitch says:

    Personally, I just climb the trees to get the out of reach fruit and gently shake branches if necessary.

  22. Helen says:

    I think if you’d fried the onions (to mellow the flavour) and wilted (fry for just a minute) the spinach before adding to the salad it would have been awesome and still really quick and easy.

  23. Again, I realize this is over. But I assume you still cook for yourself. Instead of using raw onion, try microwaving it for a bit to soften it and take the edge off the raw flavor. Just a minute will make it taste a lot better.