On Disloyal Grocery Shopping

I also live in New York and definitely do this. I have a mental list of what, of the things I tend to buy, is cheapest at Trader Joes, Target, and my local grocery store (in my case its Met Foods and occasionally Mi Tierra). Sometimes I'll buy bulk stuff (usually soda) through amazon prime but not often. I try and plan it around my commute, like for example I work in Morningside Heights and take the 1 to either 59th or Times Square to transfer so that's a good chance to stop at the 72nd st Trader Joes (I carry a big grocery bag to work on those days to put my groceries in so it's easier to carry). The Elmhurst Target is only about 10-15 minutes from where I live in Jackson Heights so I do that on Sundays, and that's also where I get cleaning products and house stuff. I buy produce at the stand across the street from me or at Met Foods so I usually get that as I need it during the week while walking home, that way it stays pretty fresh. I save a lot more money doing this than when I used to just buy everything at the grocery store in my neighborhood, but it does take more planning.

Posted on May 14, 2015 at 12:13 pm 0

On Examining My Grocery Spending

@sea ermine Also I find basic malleable recipes helps cut down on recipe planning time and makes it easier to make substitutions based on sale prices. A common dinner formula for me is 1 grain + 1 meat + one green. For vegetarians just swap the 1 meat for 1 protein or for something that isn't a green or a grain (tofu?). So like last night I made a bow of cous cous, a baked chicken breast, and a quarter of a bag of kale (roasted for 10 minutes at 400 with olive oil and balsamic vinegar). But that can be switched constantly, you could do pasta + cannelini beans + spinach or kashi + sauteed tofu + roasted carrots and swiss chard or bread + cheese + tomatoes and basil. Each week I basically pick 2 proteins, make sure I have enough of 2 kinds of grain, and buy two kinds of dark greens and an optional vegetable that can be roasted. I just change up the spices and seasonings each day cook a double or 1.5x portion and put the extra straight into a tupperware to add on top of my salad base (I buy lettuce, carrots, and cucumbers and chop them up on Sunday) for lunch the next day. Each time I grocery shop I look around my kitchen and replace 1-2 staples (in this case by staple I either mean bulk dry good or spice or oil or condiment) of whatever seems the lowest or that I use often to keep from running out. I allot $5 of my budget each week for this and spend $25-50 weekly total depending on what I'm cooking and what I'm low on. But again, the prices for these things at my local stores are affordable so I don't need to plan as much as others might. When you can buy a 5 pound bag of flour for $2 and a 5 lb bag of rice for $3 shopping is so much easier.

Posted on May 6, 2015 at 11:39 am 0

On Examining My Grocery Spending

@alannarichelle 99% of it has to do with grocery store prices. I mean, meal planning is a big part of it too but all the meal planning in the world wont make prices cheaper. I do all of my non produce shopping at trader joes and target (chicken, grains, pasta, beans, condiments), spices at a really cheap spice place near my home, and produce at my local grocery store where the veggies are fresh and prices are low. I eat mostly veggies and then a mix of grains and chicken or fish, I don't really packaged foods but I don't eat organic either. My meal planning basically consists of picking out 2-4 dinner recipes (I switch up the spices each time so it feels different) that I rotate throughout the week, and then a giant salad base that I add my leftovers to (I intentionally make 2x the dinner portion) for a salad for lunch. Breakfast is usually homemade muffins or an avocado or soy yogurt. But the reason I am able to do this is because groceries are affordable, most fresh veggies I buy aren't more than 99cents a pound, pasta is 99cents for a one pound bag, canned beans and veggies are 89cents a can at most, even meats and fish (and I tend to buy nicer hormone free stuff for that) aren't usually more than ~$5 a pound. I usually write up my recipe plan first and then make my shopping list after (adjusting or making a substitution if something is on sale or if I have a coupon) which helps make sure I have everything I need and don't have to head back to the store mid week. I would imagine for you your biggest hurdle is the prices in your area which is sadly not something you can do much about. The one thing I would look into is see about buying bulk dry goods online? If you can get it from somewhere like amazon prime, or a canadian store that does free shipping to your area you can save on stuff like rice and dried beans and even stuff like mustard and spices. With that out of the way you only have to buy veggies and fish (if you eat fish). Something like amazon pantry might help you cut down your costs a lot, just make sure you have a small space (I use the floor of a closet) to stack bulk goods if your kitchen is too small for them.

Posted on May 6, 2015 at 11:32 am 0

On Examining My Grocery Spending

I just went grocery shopping this weekend! I love grocery shopping, I try and cook all my meals and I write up a meal plan every sunday with my weeks worth of lunches and dinners (breakfast I don't plan but is usually leftovers or soy yogurt, or an avocado). I've started a new thing where instead of planning and packing separate lunches (which takes up a lot of time and planning) I just make 2x the amount of dinner I normally would and then chop up the leftovers and put it either in a tortilla for a burrito or on top of a salad base (I make a big salad base of chopped lettuce, carrots, and cucumber every Sunday) for a salad. I have a 10 day budget so I shop for 10 days of food at a time and usually spend around ~$50. What I buy each time is a little different depending on what I have leftover (ex this week I replaced a bunch of oils and condiments which I wont have to do for the next few weeks so next week I'll probably replenish meats, etc).

Posted on May 5, 2015 at 3:18 pm 0

On When Do I Tell My Boss That I'm Applying to Other Jobs?

Except in special situations like the case above there is literally no reason why you'd have to tell your boss you are interviewing/looking elsewhere and in general you shouldn't do it. Even at a great workplace and even if your boss totally supports you it can end with you getting pushed out to soon. It's also not necessary, it's pretty responsible to wait to announce anything until you've signed your hiring papers elsewhere and no one will be surprised if you wait until that point as long as you give the appropriate amount of notice (which you can settle on with your new company by letting them know you can start 2 weeks from officially signing on). Until then just say you have an appointment or book a few interviews in one day and take that day off to 'take care of personal errands'.

Posted on May 5, 2015 at 10:13 am 3

On First of May, First of May, Brand-New Budget Starts Today

If you can save up enough to have one months spending money (not one months take home pay but just whatever you've budgeted as your max spending per month for things like food, cleaning supplies, fun, etc) in a savings account it may be easier to pay yourself out of that on the first of the month and then transfer your spending money as it comes in from your paychecks into that savings account to keep replenishing it. What I do (and this is probably a bit easier for me because I'm not a freelancer and my work will split my paycheck deposits into two checking accounts) is have the amount to cover my rent, bills, student loans, and recurring credit card payments (ex. hulu plus, therapy bill) + $25 (to make sure I don't overdraft) into one checking account where I've hooked up all my direct deposit payments (like for my electric bill) and automatic rent payments. I never touch this account and look at it in mint. The rest of my paycheck gets deposited into another account that has a checking and savings. The paycheck goes straight into my savings and then every month I basically transfer over my 'allowance' on the 1st, 10th, and 20th of each month (I use a 10 day budget but you can also set it up to transfer every monday or every 1st and 15th of the month or whatever works for you). The rest just stays in savings. The only works because I started my account with my spending money (for me that's about ~$400/month and covers everything that my other account doesn't, so groceries, shampoo, laundry, going out money, etc) so I had something to transfer from so it helps a lot with dealing with my annoying bi weekly paychecks that mean some months I get paid the first week and other months my first paycheck doesn't come until the second week.

Posted on May 4, 2015 at 11:22 am 0

On In Which I Try to Get HBO Now to Work on My MacBook Air

It also works on apple tv which are $69 right now. I don't know how that price compares to a used iphone or ipad but if it's cheaper you could go that route and then return the fire stick since an apple tv is probably compatible with a lot of the same apps, plus you can use hbo now on it.

Posted on April 9, 2015 at 9:18 am 0

On How Small Is Too Small, When It Comes To Charitable Gifts

Hi! I work in development and yes small donations are incredibly important. And not just in the sense of little amounts adding up to a big amount (which is important too) but because they affect our participation numbers, which is part of the data that organizations use to determine whether they want to give us a grant. If people donate regularly they see that our services are wanted (in this case I work at a University so alumnae donations show that the people close to us support our organization) and they are more likely to give us a big grant. Also I process lots of small donations and I've never felt like time was an issue at all. Also sometimes building support through regular donations can lead people to leave us in their will which is a great way to give a big donation if you don't have much cash on hand. If you're really concerned about it just donate online. But yeah, small donations are very important!

Posted on April 2, 2015 at 11:45 am 1

On Women At Work, At Home, & At Rest -- JK, At Work Again

That last article really made me think it would be fascinating to see the perspective of someone who didn't want to stay home, but had to because it was cheaper than working and acquiring child care. I think a lot of the discussion on staying at home (which is unfortunately not an option for most people that want it) is for people who on some level want the option to be a stay at home parent and I'm curious about other people who, I guess "have" (even if financial circumstances forced their hand) the option to stay at home but don't want to.

Posted on March 13, 2015 at 11:26 am 1

On Who Gets the Privilege of Paying for HBO Now?

It's only for 3 months! It's an exclusive launch with apple. Also even during the exclusive launch you can log into hbo now from your browser (to watch on any laptop you want) so you don't have to wait out the 3 months to use it, you just have to wait 3 months to get the app for other devices (like chromecast or roku or your tablet).

Posted on March 10, 2015 at 3:16 pm 0