Saturday, February 18, 2012

Fruits and Veg...Thrifty?

OK, running a bit of an experiment here. Partly because I am a fat lard and partly to see if it really is cheaper in the mid-run to eat healthy.

We know it's cheaper in the short run to eat crap...the dollar menu is ...well.. a dollar. So if you can get one or 2 or 3 items and pack in 1000 calories you're going to feel more full and make it through the next several hours. However, by the end of day 2 of eating the dollar menu, you're going to feel like crap and realize that you'll ultimately spend more. BUT if you live somewhere without easy access to fruit and veg, without space and ability to store them (e.g. roach infested inner city apartment complexes are rarely near a good produce market and you can't store things without them getting ruined), then the savings of shopping for fresh fruit and veg may indeed NOT be there.

In the long run, when you consider health care costs it's always better to eat as healthily as possible.

But what about the mid-range. Weeks or months?

I'm trying to eat a minimum of 4 servings of veg and 3 servings of fruit per day. In the short run, I'm too stuffed with salad to eat much more at lunch so that is good. But, organic salad is not available in my home town and I'm only in the big city once every two weeks or so. That means that I run out of organic salad in one week and have another week staring me in the eyes. Organic salad is also expensive. Hence more root veggies. They are healthy, store well and taste good and are fairly cheap. I've also been buying...industrial fruit and veg at the local store. I could probably get over the pesticides but I really resent all the plastic packaging.

After 1 week in, I've spent more on groceries than before. But that is partly due to coming to the end of most of my winter stock of veggies other than the squash. Still have quite a bit of lovely squash. And partly due to not having enough stored whole or frozen fruit and being largely out of dried fruit. It was a bad year for fruit last year and it's showing. I have some slightly soft apples left but those need to be in a salad or cooked or they are pretty unappetizing even though perfectly consumable. A few dried pears left. And quite a bit of plum sauce...must find more uses for plum sauce.

I think when more fruit and veg is in season and if I can get the sprouter going again full steam, it will be thriftier in the mid range to eat lots of fresh fruit and veg.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Household Expense Book 1978 Pt. 2

Another installment in this ongoing series:

Reminder: I was thrifting (shopping at thrift stores) last fall and found a budget book. One that you record expenses in each day and total up for the week/month/year. I knew it was old but thought it was blank. It was 25 cents. So I got it. I like to do a money flow check up once or twice a year so figured the 25 cent budget book would get me through about 6 years. Seemed like a good deal.

When I got home and was putting my purchases away (the budget book and a puzzle of a Cezanne still life, 25 cents) I flipped through the book a bit more thoroughly and found that a few pages were filled out.

It was done in September and October 1978. Quite interesting. I noted that I pay less in rent now than the book's owners (we'll call them "they") paid on their rent/mortgage in 1978. So, I thought I'd put the expenses in the blog and think them through in writing rather than just in my head.

Here goes:

Totals for the week beginning 9.18:
Meats 0
Groceries 26.50
Dairy Products 1.50
School Expenses 2.00
Drugs-Medical Care
Beauty Care
Household Help
Entertainment 31.50
Beverages 5.00
Cigarettes-Tobacco 10.50
Household Purchases 15.00
Wearing Apparel 5.00
Gifts 7.00
Gas 43.00
Rent Or Mortgage
Auto Expense 0.50

Total for the Week: 147.00

It appears that the "Gas" is being used to record "gasoline" rather than furnace fuel as it has a daily entry.

They did better on groceries this week! Looks like the main shopping was done last week with supplemental shopping this week. Another 1.50 in dairy. Either that's milk or this family eats insane amounts of butter.

Once Again, I'm a bit taken aback by the Entertainment cost of 31.50. That's more than 20% of the entire week's expenses.

The Cigarettes-Tobacco is 1.50 per day. Must still be smoking a pack a day. Is the current price of a pack of cigarettes still the same as the price of a gallon of milk? I don't buy either.

Their budget was lower this week but there still seem to be cash leaks for cigarettes and entertainment.

Friday, February 3, 2012

So today I was learning to pressure can. I'm pretty sure I've got it now because I doubt there are ANY more things I could have done wrong. I'm also pretty sure that I need to buy someone a new pressure cooker. It's not good.

There were three of us and we were under the impression that one person knew how to do this. BUT what we ended up without was a canner. So we borrowed a pressure cooker...without the canning insert. It was determined through unclear means that that didn't matter. It also seems the seal wasn't good and the thing boiled dry...long before we opened it so the bottom is warped.

The jars of meat didn't crack or anything, but I don't think they got up to pressure and therefore not up to temperature. Sigh.

It wasn't very frugal though I suppose gaining skills that are supposedly simple is ultimately frugal. However, ending up owing someone a pressure cooker is definitely NOT frugal. Though perhaps the lesson was ultimately cheap as I will trust my own instincts above committee choices from here on out and it's always good to be reminded to do that.

I did get to spend the afternoon, at work, in the company of two very amusing people and that is always worth it.