Tag Archives: grocery

COFFEE!

23 Oct

coffeeOkay, I love coffee.  I love coffee so much. Coffee is my best friend.  But sometimes coffee is way to expensive.  When I was in high school I used to love Starbucks because it made me feel like one of the “cool kids,” when I was a freshman in college, my dorm was less than 50 feet away from a Starbucks.  Now I work on campus less than 100 feet from a different one!  On campus alone there are 4!

I started spending way to much money at Starbucks just to get a regular coffee without anything special.  I finally reached a breaking point when I ordered a grande white chocolate mocha frappuccino, which somehow cost me over $5.00!!  That was when I said enough is enough.

white castle coffeeI had been given a coffee maker when I graduated high school but never really used it much, well that all changed.  I bought myself a $4 reusable travel mug from Kroger (less than that one cup of sugary, whipped, milk stuff that they should just call a milkshake), and a bag of White Castle Coffee.  If you have never had White Castle Coffee, I would suggest it.  For a 3 pound bag it is right around $5 (about the same price as 1 Starbucks drink!).

If it is the sugar, milk and whipped cream that you crave then you should invest in some of that too.  You can buy cool-whip for $1 a tub and it keeps forever in the freezer.  I really like coffeemate in my coffee so I have some Sugar Free French Vanilla powder, it is about $2.

Now that we have all our ingredients let’s add it up.  Coffee is around $.10 (if a 3lbs bag of coffee is 5 dollars and there are 48 servings in each bag 48 divided by 5 is .10), the coffeemate is around $.10 and then the mug is $4 but the more that you use it the less it costs.

kahlua

If I can make a cup of coffee for less than a quarter, why am I buying Starbucks???!!! Is it because I love their coffee?  No.  Kahlua coffee is by far the best that I have ever tasted, White Castle comes in a close second, then Maxwell House, Folgers, and 8 o’clock.  Is it because it is convenient?  Well sometimes that might be the case but if your coffee maker has a timer on it.  You can get it all ready before you even go to bed and then it can automatically make itself so that once you are ready in the morning so is your coffee.  Do I buy Starbucks because I am forced?  No.  The only reason that I can think of for buying it is that all my friends do it and I still want to be the “cool kid.”  Well that has all changed.  Starbucks will never again steal my money!

Now I challenge you to make your own coffee for a week and do not buy it from anywhere else.  If you feel like you like strong coffee do not put in 3 or 4 scoops of coffee, instead buy a darker roast that will be stronger flavored and you will not have to use as much saving you money.

Although this might not sound appetizingyou some of you my favorite drink that I make myself is Cuban roasted coffee, with 1 packet of sweet ‘n low and some lemon juice with a slice of lemon in it!  What are some of the speciality drinks that you like to make yourself?

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Meal Plan

16 Oct

First off I want to give a disclaimer that I am a terrible cook, I burn everything, experiment without measuring and try to take as many shortcuts as possible in order to save time and energy.  I think in the end it costs me more than it helps me out.

Something that I have found when trying to save money (or at least have enough to make it through the month – see my last post on budgeting) is to always eat a home.  This is easier to do if you live close to where you work and go to school but if not it requires a bit more planning.

The Night – before you go to bed, prepare the coffee and set the timer if it has one, if not get it all ready so that you only have to turn it on in the morning.  Then pack your lunch, this could include a lunch meat sandwich or leftovers from dinner.  Every once in a while when frozen meals are on sale for under $1 I buy them and stick them in the freezer at work in case I forget a lunch one day.  Also, decide what you wan for breakfast, cut up the fruit or precook any meats (bacon, sausage, goetta etc.) and set all the ingredients together in the fridge.  This will save time tomorrow.

The Morning – If you are always rushing around like me, it helps to have all the ingredients put together and ready to go.  I usually have greek yogurt with homemade blackberry jelly (my parents have blackberry bushes) and coffee, but every once in a while I have a fruit smoothie in which I cut the fruit up and put it in a Magic Bullet cup the night before. If all else fails I always have my backup granola bars.

The Afternoon – Eat the lunch that you packed the night before.   This is the most affordable and quickest way to get lunch.  If you forget or have a lunch meeting, suggest places that have sandwiches or soups that you can get relatively cheap.  Another thing to do if you do not have enough food in you house for lunch is to pack what you do have an then buy part of a meal, such as bringing carrots and a pudding cup and buying a sandwich.

apples

Snack Time – This always hits me the second I walk in the door to my apartment.  I used to go for the ice cream and other junk food but recently I have been setting a bowl of apples (or other fruit) on my counter so that it is the first thing that I see as I walk into the door.  Normally I will eat an apple and satisfy that before dinner hunger craze.

The Evening – Of course supper!  This is the hardest meal for me because as I mentioned I am a horrible cook.  I usually try to make something that I can freeze and microwave later or make enough that I can eat it all throughout the whole week without having to think about cooking again for myself until a few days from then.  Something that I have learned to do however, is to keep a can of black beans, an onion, a bag of frozen corn and salsa on hand at all times.  Whenever dinner becomes a disaster (as it did last night)  I mix all those things together and have a meal that is both nutritious and flavorful.   Sometimes if I am on the sugar craze I just balsamic vinegar and honey.

The Night – This is where the whole process starts over again!

Food……the grocery store

22 Jan

As we all know that living on our own is difficult; it is hard to manage money, friends, family, school and a job.  Another things that I always find difficult is grocery shopping.  When I go grocery shopping it is usually for one of two reasons: I am completely out of all edible food or I am procrastinating from something and want candy to eat.  Neither one of these things are good things to do.  Lately, I have been going on Sundays, after I have eaten.

However, when I get to the store I always have the same routine, first it is to the fresh produce section, where I get some bell peppers (random fact: bell peppers with 4 protrusions on the bottom are better for cooking and peppers with 3 protrusions on the bottom are better for just eating), carrots and celery.  Then I pick up one or two apples and three green bananas (I don’t like the yellow ones).  After I have my standards I then decided on either beets or radishes and salad or an avocado and tomato.

Next, I move on to the deli where I get 1/4lb of turkey and look at the selection of cheeses ( especially the fresh mozzarella).  I move on to the rest of the store where I buy cheese, milk, eggs and frozen chicken breasts.  Then I get to the frozen food section.  This is where everything goes terribly wrong.  I literally have to close my eyes as I walk past the ice cream and pizza rolls, then again past the lean cuisine dinners.  Once I make it to the frozen veggies section I get at least six bags of them!

Finally, I make it past the candy and into the checkout, where I always use the self-check out.  I scan all my items and I basically know every time what my bill will be and it is almost never more than $20, which may seem shockingly low to some of you but to me that is very high.

My first summer living apart from my parents and not having a meal plan on campus, I spent less than $10 every week in groceries, but not once in the summer did I feel hungry.  The thought of spending large amounts of money on things that were going to disappear in a week, scared me.  Which is why I did not spend much.

I suggest that as a college student, always make a list of what you want or need first, so the basics, eggs, milk, cheese and chicken are mine, then write down everything else that you want.  Now, look at the list and if there is more than 15 items on it, starting with the thing you need the least and want the most (frozen pizza bites) scratch them off.  This will help you to keep your budget low and your diet slim but healthy (if you get only basics).

Every once in a while as you walk through the candy isle with your eyes closed open them for just a second and grab yourself a sweet treat to reward yourself with all the money that you have been saving.

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