Money Saving

Money Saving Ideas: Farmers’ Markets

farmers markets cheap living entry level

I don’t know how to stay happy and shop for food on a budget. I hate coupons and the circulars give me a headache. I also require variety in my meals or else I’ll waste money by ordering in. These are my truths.

I’ve tried to save money by buying only one type of meat each week and creating new meals around, say, 7 days worth of tilapia. But by day three I’d always rather move back home than cram one more fistful of lemon soaked fish into my mouth. Unfortunately, I also can’t swallow spending more money just to give myself a variety of pork, chicken, and beef each week.

As a compromise to satisfy my thin wallet and irritable taste buds, I continued to buy one package of meat a week (along with tuna fish for lunches) while splurging a bit on a large variety of produce. Tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, onions, garlic, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, string beans, mushrooms and zucchinis were used each week to liven up my dinners, lunches and morning eggs. At first it seemed like a great solution, but eventually I was spending just as much each week as I would have had I just bought the meats I wanted.

Fortunately, life handed me an easy solution. My company paired with a local farmer’s market, Stony Hill Gardens, in order to help reduce everyone’s weekly shopping bill. For $115.50, I receive a delivery of fresh produce to my office every week for 14 weeks. This equals $8.25 a week for produce. What I most like, other than the overall savings, is that you never know what you’re going to receive until the day before. Since the veggies and herbs change every Thursday, I’ll have the opportunity to test out meals and taste new veggies that I would have never otherwise tried. This week we received string beans, cantaloupe, peaches, garlic, bell peppers, sweet purple bell peppers and eggplant. Since I split my share with 3 other coworkers (each paying the initial $115.50 fee), we have to divvy everything up and compromise on some products. For instance, I didn’t take home any of the eggplant today because I think I hate eggplant, and I left the garlic to another because I have too much garlic at home as it is.

I didn’t get enough to last me an entire week like I had originally hoped, mostly because I eat veggies like a monster, so I’m going to curb the amount I’m eating and try to stretch what I do have as far as possible. My weekly requirements are simply lettuce, onions and garlic, so if I only buy those and leave the rest of my greens to my weekly delivery, I’ll still be saving at least $20 a week.

Farmers’ Markets are a great way to support local farmers while also supporting your bottom line. I’ve always been a huge fan, but found it impossible to make the time to visit the one twenty minutes from my house. Having the market deliver to me for so cheap is beyond reality, but I bet a lot of local growers would jump at the opportunity to make money off of a big office filled with lazy shoppers, so long as you had enough buyers to make it worth their time.

I suggest looking into your local farmers and seeing if any are interested in dropping their weekly crops off to your business. It’ll put more money in their pockets while preserving your own.

Cabinet Cooks · Ché's Guide

Che’s Guide To Domesticity: Cooking!

Hey ladies! Ready to take that plunge and become a woman? Well, don’t worry. I did that already. I have bright red lipstick on, curlers and a silky negligee draped over my soft shoulders because a real woman always looks good. I’m also drinking a Cosmo! How scandalous! 😉
The first step to being a domesticated woman is to get a house. Either marry the first man you kiss or be “independent”, stop shaving your legs and get a place of your own. Have you done that? Great! Now let’s move forward.
Everyone knows that a woman has to cook. Luckily for you, I’ve broken down what you need to know to save face and to make sure you stretch that 5% less you’re making than your male counterpart.

  1. Plan Ahead!

    So before you go shopping, look up what recipes you want to make that week. For instance, decide if you’re going to eat sandwiches. If you’re only eating sandwiches, buy a 1/2 pound of meat and cheese. If you’re only eating sandwiches a few times that week, buy a 1/4 pound! Also, invest in some tuna. That won’t go bad and it’ll keep you skinny. After you think about your sandwich consumption, choose another lunch option. Like a healthy salad. We are so prone to changing our minds, so two options are necessary. What do you want in your salad? Write it down! Now you won’t forget anything when you go to the store. Now, Google some dinner recipes. Lemon chicken? What do you want on the side? Don’t go crazy and buy lots of vegetables. Just choose two or three vegetables and use them in your salad and in your dinner. Wow, now you’re really being smart.

  2. Splurge Where It Counts!

    Are you cooking for one? Wow, you are? You do know you’re only getting uglier, right? Well, while you’re looking for a husband, be smart. Instead of buying potatoes and using one potato to make mashed potatoes every night, just get Country Crock potatoes! Now you have delicious mashed potatoes whenever you want them and you don’t have to feel silly smashing a single one. Plus, that never works. Also, buy the more expensive boneless, skinless chicken breast. You’ll get more and it’ll be tastier. Remember it’s lasting you ALL week.

  3. Portion, Portion, Portion!

    You’re only one person. And you’re probably also lazy. So, while the chicken is still soft, wrap it up in plastic wrap! Now you have the perfect size of frozen chicken to thaw out instead of having to thaw it all out and eat it super-fast. No one likes a lady who eats fast! This goes for veggies as well. You don’t need 2 onions and three cloves of garlic. You only need of each silly!

  4. Practice Makes Perfect!

    If you make a steak and it comes out leathery, you’re going to eat it and be kind of sad and probably call your mom and cry about how lonely you are. But, you can’t do that when you bring a suitor home. So, practice until you perfect it, and then move forward. No one will hang out with you if you’re serving wilted broccoli and overdone chicken. Yuck!

  5. Lastly, Never Stop Cooking!

    Are you frustrated? Just want to run to Taco Bell and eat your feelings away? Well don’t!

    Remember, you’re not making a lot of money as a switch operator and you’re spending the rest of your cash on clothes, probably. So skip the Taco Bell, go home, and cook some more. To make it easier, buy a few luxury items like refried beans and Uncle Ben’s Ready Made Rice. Now you’re hungry AND excited.

There are your rules. If you follow these you’ll be on your way to domesticity and one step closer to having a fulfilling relationship, because everything boils down to starting a family.