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[icon] Eating cheaply, etc. - Patti
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Subject:Eating cheaply, etc.
Time:12:42 am
Remember my eating well on a budget challenge? Well, that ended today. My goal was to keep it under $40 for the whole week. My total? $22.47. With the $5 staples and condiment tax that I imposed on myself, the total was $27.47.

The most important thing that I learned is that where you shop is everything. I paid something less than fifty cents for some Chinese long beans at a Chinatown produce market. An equivalent bundle was $1.38 at Berkeley Bowl and $2.99 at a "normal" supermarket. Yikes! The supermarket ones were also kinda dried out and icky.

In any case, it can certainly be done... at least around here, and probably in most places in the US if you're willing to work at it and adapt to local conditions.




I found another Hasselblad. It's more expensive, a little less decked out, and has a 50mm lens rather than an 80mm, but it's not unreasonable. Plus, I think I like the idea of a wide-angle lens. I'm going to look at it Tuesday night, and won't be heartbroken if it sells before then.
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rmd
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Time:2010-10-18 11:05 am (UTC)
Also, being willing to buy things and cook them quickly -- a lot of the cheaper supermarkets (particularly the ones aimed at immigrant populations like asian supermarkets, at least around here) can sell stuff more cheaply because they get riper stuff that won't sell to the more upscale markets. (which is to say, 'closer to spoiling'.) Since they're selling to a community that tends to shop more often, they can sell stuff that's riper for cheaper and everyone's happy.
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crayonbeam
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Time:2010-10-18 01:15 pm (UTC)
I think it would be interesting to try and add to the money spent on food a transportation cost and a time amount.
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omahas
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Time:2010-10-18 02:42 pm (UTC)
Why?
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crayonbeam
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Time:2010-10-18 03:18 pm (UTC)
Because spending $25/week on food if it involves 10 hours of driving and toll roads and parking is different than spending $25/week on food by walking to stores within half a mile of your kitchen. I'm a big picture person. More data = more interesting.
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omahas
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Time:2010-10-18 04:17 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, this is a myth perpetuated by the food industry that you have to travel fare and wide and spend time to get good quality, organic food. You can find said food in your own back yard (both literally and figuratively).

Meanwhile, folks will drive 10-20 miles and spend 1-2 hours eating at expensive non-sustainable restaurants, but not include that into their calculations on food expense. :/
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whipartist
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Time:2010-10-18 04:26 pm (UTC)
I quite literally don't have a back yard, and I'm sure that's true for many people who are trying to eat on a shoestring budget.

crayonbeam's point is a good one. If I'd spent twenty bucks on transportation expenses in order to save money then it's really a false economy-- my bottom line wouldn't have improved.

I'm also aware that my personal socioeconomic circumstances and geographic location contribute significantly to my ability to shop. If I was truly poor and living in a bad inner city neighborhood I might not have easy access to *any* grocery store, just convenience stores. In doing this I've talked to people who have said that their only shopping options are one small store with high prices and crappy produce, or driving 75 miles each way for something a little bit better.
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crayonbeam
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Time:2010-10-18 05:14 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't have replied if I had seen this - sum it up.

And as an aside I do believe one can dig too deep and go right past interesting into tedious, generally speaking.

I've definitely chosen money and transit-ease over time and talent. I go to Real Food co weekly and stock up on their premade salads. I'm eating the food I want while spending no time in the kitchen. I can't get there easily via bicycle though so I scoot.
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whipartist
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Time:2010-10-18 05:23 pm (UTC)
Sorry. LJ is getting the short summary of something I wrote elsewhere.
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bldrnrpdx
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Time:2010-10-19 01:42 am (UTC)
It's not just the money spent on transportation - it's time and carrying capacity. I don't live far from decent grocery shopping, but I take the bus. I spend more time going to and from, and I can carry less at a time than if I had a car. When I'm with M, we can go get larger sizes/quantities and we can take advantage of discounts we noticed in the store. When I'm on the bus, it's harder for me to get laundry soap plus the bag of kitty kibble (for the cats, not me!) plus the 10-pack of whatever because it's cheaper than getting 3-packs when I know I'll be back for a couple more packs anyway. As a result, I make more trips to the grocery store. Which takes up more time. Which means I'm later getting home than if I'd gone home straight from work. Which means I'm even less interested in cooking by the time I get home. And I don't have kids with afterschool activities or evening classes of my own or a second (or third!) job or a bad neighborhood I'm navigating.

I'm not saying it's insurmountable - I'm saying transportaton expenses are not insignificant, and they often involve more than dollars.
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crayonbeam
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Time:2010-10-18 05:03 pm (UTC)
It's not a myth that having access to transit, a backyard, and/or good climate helps. I could eat organic vegan gluten-free fare in a Fairbanks Alaska in February in a studio apartment, but it makes the experiment more interesting to me if the infrastructure is noted, not invisible. Even if I can afford 100 decorative pumpkins, there is a cost paid by more than me to ship them to Alaska.

I realize there is a limiting factor. Whipartist included a staples amount but not an equipment amount. It's not my experiment, and I didn't think either extreme fit Whipartist's, but it's interesting to dig deeper in all we do.
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whipartist
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Time:2010-10-18 04:10 pm (UTC)
I took one trip to a store six miles away, and one trip to two markets that are walking distance away and half a block from each other. For reference, the closest traditional supermarket to my house is about a mile and a half away.

I happened to drive to Chinatown and spend fifty cents on parking, but that's because I was on my way home from somewhere else at the time. Normally I would have walked and spent nothing on parking.
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rnrdaddy
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Time:2010-10-20 01:29 am (UTC)
For the camera, have you checked out http://www.keh.com/?
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whipartist
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Time:2010-10-20 03:12 am (UTC)
Extensively, but I can do better pricewise buying privately.

In fact, I just bought one. Whee!
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[icon] Eating cheaply, etc. - Patti
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