I got all those groceries above for $60. I was really pleased with myself.
I spend an outrageous percentage of my income on food. Back when we lived in a shithole, I definitely spent more on food than housing, which is really not how it’s supposed to work, but the tables have turned and I’ve traded organic unsulphured apricots for, you know, a washing machine and cable.
Now that I have normal human expenses and can’t blow all my dollars on obnoxiously overpriced things like, hello, $5 green tea soy lattes, I am tapping in to some rather useful grocery budget tools to help me along.
- Evernote for menu planning – Meal planning for the week is, I think, the best way to shop conservatively and utilize everything you buy. If you’re not using Evernote (on your computer and phone), you crazy. I guess it’s kind of like Pinterest but more private and less obnoxious. It’s like a big e-notebook where you can collect and organize anything you find on the web. It’s great for keeping track of recipes from your favorite blogs (cough, cough). They also just released a new magical Moleskine paper notebook that you write in like a real human being, but everything is transferable to your computer. Probably the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. See their blog post on how to use Evernote for menu planning.
- Grocery IQ and Ziplist for shopping lists – Two smart phone apps for creating, organizing and sharing shopping lists. I like these two because they integrate with full websites so you can plan from your laptop or desktop and then pull it up on your phone from anywhere. Everybody knows shopping with a list is the only way to keep you from buying cookie butter and that’s a fact.
- Starbucks Gold Card – I know. I know. I’m out of control. But I decided that if I can’t beat ‘em, I might as well join ‘em and get free soy and unlimited free refills and drinks on my birthday and a shiny gold card. The Starbucks gold card is not a deal if you’re not already consuming Starbucks coffee on the regular. If you’re not, maintain this habit. I applaud you. But if you are and you don’t have the gold card, you’re an idiot and you’re throwing money away. On every 15th drink you get a free ANYTHING YOU WANT. I’m talking all the shots, syrups and unicorn dust you can think of. Fo’ FREE. It’s free and all you have to do is sign up and register a gift card, any gift card. It’s actually kind of a good way to manage your expensive coffee habit, too, because you can just load your card with a limit each month and then not reload it as soon as you run out like I do.