Well Within My Means

Jul 13, 09 Well Within My Means
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Like many Americans forced to confront new economic realities after the near collapse of our financial system, I have been learning to live within my means.  While most economists are lamenting the fact that most Americans have picked the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression to learn fiscal responsibility, it is hard to argue against learning to moderate spending habits.  The future always seems like a mile away, even when you are barreling through life at 95mph.  Eventually you overtake one mile marker after another until you are near empty and the next gas station is miles away.  Learning to responsibly save and budget now may save us from much larger problems in the foreseeable future.

With this in mind, I took $10 dollars to the store, determined to buy enough food to last me the entire week.  While this was predicated by a severe lack of funds, I welcomed this challenge and hoped to learn from it.  What you quickly learn is that 99% of the grocery store is off limits.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are quite expensive considering their relative ease and abundance.  Thus, I made a beeline for the rice and beans aisle.  The grocery store I went to had an awesome sale on Zatarain’s rice, four boxes for five dollars.  After getting a few different varieties, I went to the frozen foods section.  After some perusing, I found a bag of chicken leg quarters for $3.99.  My total was approximately 9$.

I am going to continue this experiment for a week.  After the first week, I will create a budget that encompasses a more balanced diet.  The important lesson is that I can eat relatively well, albeit blandly, for as little as $10.  When I ate out last week, I spent an average of $15 on each purchase.  Today, I made roast chicken with herb and butter flavored sauce.  It was actually quite tasty.  It is pretty exciting to try to creatively work around life’s curve balls.  This is what surviving the recession is all about.

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