I was intrigued to discover the blog 30 Bucks a Week, fellow Brooklynites who spend less than 30 bucks a week on food - that's $15 each. I spend $20 a week, and people are usually horrified when they find out, so part of why I started this blog was to document my cooking, even though I didn't want to talk about the exact amount I spend.
Twenty dollars was the minimum I felt comfortable spending, and I will admit it has not been easy. Like 30 Bucks a Week, my $20 doesn't include liquor, eating out or entertaining. But I am a grown single female who doesn't need to eat a lot or stick to a certain diet to stay healthy. All bets are off if you have a teenage boy in the house! Every situation is different, but everyone benefits from being mindful of ways to eat well while saving money.
Also, 30 Bucks a Week belong to the famous Park Slope Co-op, which I've inwardly debated joining for years. Mostly I notice it allows them to buy very small amounts of food that stores only sell as pre-packaged sizes. This may be the deciding factor to get me to join the Co-op, because I've long known that my friends who are members get pretty good prices on high-quality fruits and vegetables. Other frugal bloggers talk about farmer's markets, but the ones in NYC are pretty expensive; coupons are usually for things I don't want in the first place, and the grocery store scene in the big city is not good. I make a weekly trek to Atlantic and Court Street to shop at Trader Joe's, Sahadis, and a couple of good fruit and vegetable stands nearby, which is about a thirty minute walk each way. Taking the bus or subway there and back would add $4 (soon to be $4.50) and isn't worth it.
In addition to finding cheaper places to buy your food, one of the biggest things anyone can do to save money is to learn how to waste less in the kitchen. It's no joke to throw out food that was perfectly good when you bought it, but you forgot about it for six months while it rotted in the back of your refrigerator.
I don't want to feel deprived (eh, who does), but I don't mind being disciplined, mindful, and spending more time in the kitchen. To think that 3 years ago I could go for days without setting foot in my kitchen! Seriously!