Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sometimes it helps to do the math (again)

This was one of those not-so-frugal weeks that pop up every once in awhile.  My husband was on jury duty (as well as trying to get work done, kids, Christmas cards and shopping, holiday party).  I had a really bad couple of nights of sleep where the 17 month old woke up and was awake for 2-3 hours.  (He was gassy.  I'm thinking it's the hummus.)

So Monday was one of those days where I had no lunches packed and nothing ready in the freezer.  Because of the lack of sleep (I crawled back into bed at 4:52 am after being up with the toddler for a few hours), I missed the gym and ended up waking up about 15 minutes before I needed to get to work.  I grabbed a couple of muffins and headed off.  As I walked out the door I yelled "There's no lunches packed, you are all on your own!"  So the big boy got school lunch, Daddy ate out, and I went to the cafeteria at the company down the street and got myself a wrap and a drink.

$9.  For a wrap and a drink.  That night after dinner, I went into the kitchen and made 12 bean and cheese burritos (I had at least made the crockpot refried beans over the weekend).  I packed up the last little bit of beans and threw them into a container with some leftover rice from the weekend, salsa, and leftover vegetables.

Total cost for my leftover rice and beans and vegetable lunch?  $1.06.  And $0.82 of that is the salsa and vegetables).  It's good for me to do that math once in awhile as a reminder of why I don't just "pick food up while I'm out" (though I still do that, and did so a few more times this week).  I spent $9 on lunch out on Friday meeting friends for lunch, one of whom was passing through, and $21 on lunch while out shopping yesterday).

On Wednesday, I was sorely tempted to pick something up at the store for dinner, but resisted yet again (it's easy to resist when you have to shop with a toddler).  Instead of spending $30 on takeout or $15 on a pre-made meal at the store, I went home and made 1-pot spaghetti with pasta, meatballs, jarred marinara, and some vegetables.  Served with a simple salad with homemade dressing (I made a big batch a couple of weeks ago).

The cost of the one pot of pasta was $10.95, which is about $3.65 per meal - one 12 oz box of pasta makes about 3 meals for us.  When you add the vegetable servings, the cost per meal goes up to about $4.32.  That's for 3.5 people and is a far cry from $30 or even $15.

**cute toddler alert** He's right now spinning in a circle until he gets dizzy and falls down, and then says "uh oh".

So let's summarize:
1.  Monday: $9 for lunch instead of $1.06 - wasted $8
2.  Friday: $9 for lunch instead of $1.06 - wasted $8 (I even only drank water that day)
3.  Saturday: $21 for lunch instead of $4.32 - wasted about $17
4.  W-Th-Sat dinner: $12.96 instead of $60, saved $47.

I sort of came out ahead, but since the norm is to NOT eat out, really, I didn't come out ahead.  I wasted about $33 on eating out this week.

I am on vacation this week, so here is the rough dinner plan for the week:

Sunday: Turkey and rice casserole with vegetables (leftover turkey from Thanksgiving), carrot/turnip/ginger soup
Monday: Leftover casserole and leftover soup
Tuesday: Beef roast, mashed potatoes, rolls, vegetable (having friends over for Christmas Eve)
Wednesday: Chicken fingers and broccoli
Thursday: Leftover beef and broccoli
Friday: Pizza

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