I did it! I got enough groceries for the next thirteen days and I was under budget! I went to the grocery store with a rough idea of what I was going to get and only $20 in my pocket. I left with $0.80, which will act as my reserve for next week. I wonder how many mushrooms or how much bok choy I can buy in Chinatown for $0.80…
Here’s what I was able to buy:
One dozen eggs, forty tea bags, eight stock cubes, one can of pizza sauce, one jar of baby pickles, one bag of baby bok choy, one package of chow mein, six English muffins, six whole wheat pitas, a bunch of cilantro, a bunch of green onions, four tomatoes, four apples, and four mushrooms. Holy produce!
Here’s what I’ll be preparing for meals for the week:
For breakfast: half an English muffin with a few tomato slices and a hard-boiled egg.
For lunch: a pita pizza! Half of a whole wheat pita topped with some pizza sauce, chopped mushroom and cilantro. I originally wanted to do a vegan margherita pizza, but I couldn’t find basil at either of the two grocery stores I went to today. I LOVE basil, so I was excited about this, but I was able to make do with what I could find.
For dinner: my own version of Mr. Noodles — beef stock with noodles, bok choy and green onions. This is actually quite delicious!
For snacks: some baby dill pickles and apple slices. I had a realization which led to me picking up the pickles (they were sort of an impulse buy at the store, but the whole jar was only $1.67).
Before I started the Live Below the Line challenge I had gotten into the lazy, bad habit of getting Subway at least twice a week. On the Friday before the challenge started I “treated” myself to what would be my final sub and even got a combo. That final treat cost me $8.75, the same amount that I would soon be spending on groceries for the following week. It was a real eye-opener.
One of the toppings that I ALWAYS get on my sub is pickles. I sometimes even ask for “extra” if I’m in the mood. Thanks to my dad and sister, I effing love pickles. We used to get a jar during our grocery shop and split it three ways once we were home. Thankfully I’m not nearing Snooki pickle obsession levels, but, if my sub doesn’t have pickles on it, then I won’t eat it.
This made me think of something: was I just getting the subs for the pickles?! It’s a crazy thought, but a legit thing to question. I know it’s convenient to grab a sub on the way home after work, and the sub is tasty, but is the only reason why I actually crave Subway the pickles I always get on my sandwich? Hmmm…
So, I bought a jar of pickles. Problem solved.
I’m still a bit iffy about two of the items I bought, but in this situation I don’t have the luxury of being picky. The first item is the beef soup stock cubes. I was originally going to pick up vegetable stock cubes, but I found out from Ennis Esmer that the dollar store has eight cubes for $1.00. At the grocery store, six veggie cubes are about $1.20, if I can even find them. So, overall value of the item won out over my preference to not eat animal products; I got the beef cubes.
The second item is the carton of eggs, and again, this is related to my preference to avoid animal products. Don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoy eggs. It’s the treatment of the hens laying the eggs that I strongly disagree with. I needed protein though, and twelve eggs was only $2.73. I had no choice. Call me a hypocrite, call me what you want. I feel guilty about it, and now looking back I could have gotten some beans to eat instead, but it’s done.
After I was done getting all my groceries I walked home with my head held up high. I felt proud that I was able to stick to the budget. I also felt proud that I decided to extend my challenge. I usually make lofty goals and never follow through with them, but this is something I don’t want to fail at. The sun was shining, it’s an absolutely gorgeous day in Toronto, and I felt good.
My meals are now prepped for the week, and I’m enjoying the weather with some iced tea (those forty bags are going to help A LOT). Overall I’m really happy with what I was able to prepare, and I’m thankful I no longer have to eat that nasty ass oatmeal.
Now, I have to finish working on my Ennis Esmer interview. Maybe I’ll pull out the patio furniture for the first time this year and go enjoy some iced tea while I do it. I think that sounds like a good plan indeed.