Dollars and Cents

A Social Experiment for One Continued

As you look at my food budget so far, it doesn’t look so bad. In the first 11 days I have spent only $32.62 and have $93.38 remaining. But, click on my food budget to take a closer look.

Food Budget

What don’t you see? You don’t see any meat. Meat can be expensive, and because I’ve been living out of my pantry and fridge for now I haven’t had to buy any. I’ll be going to the store tonight and I have a decision to make. This week is St. Patrick’s Day, which means I really want to make a corned beef brisket with cabbage. I’ve been pricing them at Krogers – currently they are $4.49 a pound which prices a brisket at between $17.00 and $27.00. Granted, I can get a lot of meals out of a brisket for one person. But, will it crunch my budget too much before the end of the month? Will I get sick of corned beef before it’s gone? Do I have freezer space for the extras? If I buy meat should I maybe buy lunch meat or hamburger instead? What will I have to give up – fresh fruits and vegetables? Basic pantry items? Will I have to give up anything?

Something else I need to consider. The recipe I want to use calls for allspice berries. I know I don’t have any. I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen them at Krogers. If Krogers has them, how much will they cost? Not a lot of recipes call for this spice – at least not in it’s berry form. Will I only use them this time? A quick google search prices them from $5.00-$10.00. Is it worth spending 3% – 7% of my budget on a spice I may only use once a year?Another search reveals one of my favorite places to find hard to find spices has them at $3.99.

And this brings to light, again, why I truly have an advantage over those in extreme poverty. I have a car with a full gas tank. I have the luxury of driving miles out of my way to buy one jar of spice. I have the privilege of going to several stores if necessary and searching out the best prices. If I had to walk or bus it this would not really be an option and I would have to do without.

With all the ingredients I would need and assuming I find a brisket closer to $17.00 than $27.00 the cost for this dish will be between $26.00 and $30.00, not including the allspice berries.If you were me, what would you do? Bite the budget bullet mid-month and risk running short by the end of the month?  Play it safe and pick up lunch meat or hamburger instead? Play it safer and skip buying meat all together?


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