Happy Monday everyone!
As I do every Monday I am sitting here writing my to-do lists, planning my weekly workouts, balancing my bank account and budget, and putting together my grocery list.
Since I have pretty much spent all of my grocery money on a microbrew collection I am currently hoarding in my fridge this week’s challenge is to buy as few groceries as possible so as to stay within budget. Thankfully I have a decent selection of items in my freezer, a freshly boiled bowl of eggs, and lots of odds and sodds to turn into quickie breakfasts and lunches this week.
But what about those bigass salads I’ve been known for? The big silver bowl is back in the rotation and I love to fill it chock-o-block with lots of healthy vegetables. What I’ve learned though is this is the place it is easy to bust my budget and have started to pay close attention to how I’m getting what I want and need.
Where I’m willing to spend: Those convenient tubs of pre-washed baby lettuces and/or spinach. It’s faster, easier, and tastier than some boring but cheap head of green leaf lettuce. I am far more likely to make my salads if I can reach into the tub instead of having to clean, dry and prep the greens.
Keeping on budget with the rest of the fillings is the ticket to making that tub o’ greens worth it. I look for veggies on sale or reasonably priced when bought in smaller, as-needed quantities. It’s easy to get a few carrots, radishes, celery, and red onion for a couple of bucks. One avocado can last for four salads. Last week broccoli was on sale…this week it’s tomatoes. Shopping the sales not only saves money but creates variety without even really thinking about it.
To keep the salads even more interesting I reach into my baking cupboard. A sprinkle of some kind of nut, seed, or dried fruit makes the bowl seem fancier than it is. If the salad is intended to be a meal I top it with whatever protein I’ve decided on for the week…whether it’s roast chicken breast from the deli, beans from my pantry, last night’s leftovers, or one of those boiled eggs I remembered to cook up this morning. Combine all of that with a quick squirt of dressing, or drizzle of oil and vinegar and it’s a complete bowl for a reasonable price and a fast preparation.
So this week I’m aiming to spend less than $30 on groceries for myself, but will still manage at least five bigass lunch salads and a batch of homemade granola bars. And no, that doesn’t mean I’m eating Mr. Noodles for dinner! :)
Do you have any budget tricks to keep your grocery bills from skyrocketing?