Groceries & Saving Money

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Playing a silly game of The Price Is Right with baked goods at a wedding shower this weekend, I realized that I really do pay a lot of attention to the dollars and cents of grocery items I purchase. I thought in this economic time, I might share a bit of my border-line obsessive-compulsive, Type-A, obnoxiously organized, weekly grocery shopping ritual. Perhaps it will serve to give ideas about how to conserve when grocery shopping or, at the very least, amuse you in how ridiculous my procedure is. So, for better or worse and those in between, here's the ritual.

1. Planning at least 1 week in advance, I write down days and meals in a row like:
M L (Monday Lunch)
D (Tuesday Dinner)

2. Thinking through any items that I might have in my fridge/freezer and favorite recipes, and I fill in the meals accordingly. I usually have notes about things like-- potluck breakfast at work.

3. I go through my most recent copies of Real Simple, Cooking Light, or my favorite- to fill in the gaps. Sticking to one culture of cooking keeps your ingredient list down-- like Mexican, Oriental, Italian, etc. Make 1 batch of meat sauce that'll get you through the week or stretch 1 can of black beans over a couple days. No wasted food!

4. As I write down recipes, I'm writing down what ingredients I know I need, listed by aisles at the local grocery store to make shopping a bit easier.

What I end up with is this (this week is boring b/c we're working off a bunch of bulk from our Costco and Trader Joe's trips in Nashville last weekend-- whoohoo!)

M L chicken caesar salad and hummus (leftovers from Sunday D)
D chicken ravioli & salad

T L leftovers (or lunch at the House) only $2!
D chicken parmesan pasta

W L chicken parmesan pasta
D tilapia, wild rice, green beans (frozen, Trader Joe's)

T L frozen mini tacos (Trader Joe's strikes again)

You get the idea. Doing it this way, we only spent $20 on groceries for the week granted we did have chicken, fish and tacos in the freezer. But on a weekly basis we spend around $75 for 2 of us. I hope that helps!

I would love to know your top grocery money saving tip!!

Cube Favorites

Monday, March 23, 2009

Since I'm on a blog-recommending streak, I thought I'd introduce you to my top 7 Cubicle Life Enhancement sites.  Looking for an, "oh wow!" or "that's what I've been needing!" or "haha" or "well, I'll be" added to your day?  Stuck in a cubicle?  These just might make your day.

  1. Add Gmail Shortcuts to your Outlook email, c/o Lifehacker.
  2. Spend much time typing up other people's pre-printed forms?  Again, c/o Lifehacker, this download will enable you to convert scanned images or PDF's to functioning documents.
  3. Dream of another place you'd rather be.  My favorite- Barcelona.  A do/don't guide to Barcelona c/o NotesfromSpain.
  4. If only your supervisor would approve... redesign your cube space in your mind. c/o Wired
  5. Use Amazon's Wish List feature to create a birthday list for anybody to see what you'd like on any website!  Amazon will host the list.  I suggest adding lots from etsy to your list!
  6. Another c/o Lifehacker: Top 10 Outlook Boosters.  The xobni makes my life a lot easier!
  7. See how much exercise you get from walking from your cube across the office with Google's Maps.  When you click "Get Directions" change the drop down from "by car" to "walking."  Zoom in on your office address and create a starting point at your cube and a destination point at the other end of the office.  Now stop emailing and start working on getting swimsuit ready! (this is not my office, just an example)

    View Larger Map
Any suggestions you'd like to make?

$40 Eating out in a week-- Keeping it Local

For those of you local to Chattanooga, I suggest checking out the only local blog I know of covering specifically Chatty events, local news and politics* in Chattanooga, Chattari.  They hosted a very amusing and interesting challenge inspired by Rachael Ray's $40 days.  They took it one step further and spent $40 in one Monday-Friday period, eating out every meal.  They've self-defined a day's worth of meals as 1 caffeinated beverage, lunch, dinner and a cocktail.  Check it out!  They may have discovered a new favorite location for a cheap meal!

*in the spirit of full disclosure, they're quite bias

A Piece from a Pod

Thursday, March 19, 2009

For those of you who didn't know me before 3 years ago, let me introduce you to my maiden name:

P as in Paul
D as in dog
T as in table
Z as in zebra

All Podawiltz's spell it exactly this way.  I'm not sad to have left this one behind (sorry, Dad). Plenty of debatably clever things have come as a result of this name: most popular, my name,Poddy; most cheesy, my dad's riddles-- say it, "Podawiltz, like a Pod on Stilts."  I have heard that more times than I can count.  Now my sister has taken up the torch with a brilliantly clever blog title: A Piece from a Pod.  She's a very inspired and creative writer.  Her first piece is about which came first: the chicken or the egg, from which she concludes that the correct question is "the chicken or the eggs" and why chickens are dumb.  Enjoy.

Mr. Manhattan v. God, Cell Phone Carriers

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I wanted to introduce you all to some quality blogging. Larry's taken up blogging, and can be viewed here:  

I would never have made it through the movie, but he has some very interesting things to say about Watchmen and the main character (the blue guy) in comparison with God. 

Also, hear him rant a bit about cell phone carriers with statistics to back him up.  He has some really great and inventive things to say (like why his blog is named trichoplax).  I hope you'll visit and enjoy.

Spreading Joy

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I *may* have cried.  But it's SO fun!!  Enjoy a happy for the day.

Independent Women

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Caveat: I do not pretend to think that by writing about this I am some sort of expert or have considered the sociological influences of this matter from multiple angles. This is not meant to be eloquent but just a gut reaction.

BBC today featured today a story about an exclusively female hotel that has just opened in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This is a hotel run by women, for women with female IT personnel, housekeeping, front staff and bellhops.

Gut reaction: Great!
That's so great to provide women with a place where they can relax, not have to wear the full abaya, and feel safe from the perusal of men.

Following reaction: Feminist
Why should a woman have to feel threatened by the perusal of men because they're not completely covered head to toe in stifling black fabric?

Final reaction: Sadness
This is just not how Jesus intended it. My friend Jason spoke very thoughtfully last night to what changed after Creation that set man and God apart. Creation was very good when God was walking with man and woman in the cool of the garden. Man worked and tended to the garden and the woman helped the man. When we ate from the tree of good and evil, it wasn't that the fruit in itself contained the knowledge of good and evil and that is what separated us from God...

Woman and man ate the fruit in direct opposition to the will of God which had man's good in mind (Gen 2:17- in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die). When we went in the opposite direction of God's will, our eyes were open to a new measure of whether what Adam and Eve were doing was very good and in God's will or not. This new measure is the measure of good and evil. Where did they fall in the spectrum? Well Adam believed himself more good than Eve, and Eve saw herself more good than the serpent. From that point forward, we've been judging ourselves and the healthiness of our lives against the good-ness of others' lives.

This situation brings that contrast into a startling light. Extreme Islamic cultures continue to be the Adam, blaming the Eve for their failings. This sends women under covers, hiding in hotels where they can be safe, dangerously submitting to paths they've been ordered to follow. One of the Saudi IT specialists said, "It's not easy to work in a company, male and female together, so I feel really lucky." This is just not the natural order of things! God saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone and made Eve. Not good to be alone! We are meant to be complementary, men and women and to work together.

Jesus, reconcile our world to you, your will, and your order.

First Album

Monday, March 2, 2009

Random for a Monday, but fun. I hope to see yours!


To Do This 1 - Go to Wikipedia. Hit “random”or click first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to Quotations Page and select "random quotations"or click last four or five words of the very last quote on the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Go to Flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”or click picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use Photoshop (I used picasa) or similar to put it all together.