getting wasted.

17 08 2010

for me, busy pretty much always equals lazy. i tend only to the most pressing items on my checklist, and everything else just falls away into the land of half-assed-ness (a woefully untidy land filled with frozen pizzas and unpaid bills). as most of you already know, this last week was fucking nutsuo for me. well, one of the big things that i’ve been copping out on is grocery shopping. i haven’t even been glancing at the deals, and i vaguely remember something called a “grocery list”, but i couldn’t tell you what it is or why people use them (maybe i should google it?). anyway, whenever i go to the grocery store sans planning, things fall apart in a huge way. i somehow managed to get all the way to the checkout line before i realized that i had not thrown any dinner food in the cart.  i had however grabbed a weirdly disproportionate amount of cheese.

every week, i clean out my fridge when i put my new food in, and i’ve noticed over the last few weeks of freestyle grocery shopping, that i’ve been throwing a lot away. basically, not planning ahead, not sticking to my budget, and not being more aggressive about my couponing= refrigerator disaster! DISASTERRRRRRR! we’re talking expired food in sealed containers- never to be touched by human hands (wasteful!), or 1/8 consumed and then swiftly forgotten, only to grow a topography of mold so vast that would impress the national institute of health (wasteful AND unsanitary!). let’s just say that in this household, i make a lot of jokes about how i’m growing a new boyfriend in old containers of sour cream.

but it made me think. there are so many things that i repeatedly buy, and repeatedly waste. the prices may be low, or they may be wrapped up in good intentions for my health, but i’ve decided that in the interest of the health of my bank account, i’m placing the following 8 items on the no-buy list:

1. baby carrots: whenever i’m trying to lose weight, i always buy a bag of baby carrots. they seem convenient, healthy, easy to prepare, and otherwise perfect in every way… except for one thing. I AM NEVER IN THE MOOD TO EAT BABY CARROTS. NEVER!!! thus, they are sentenced to get slimy in their protective sack while they languish in my crisper drawer. there’s probably a purgatory somewhere full of baby carrots that i’ve inadvertently killed.

2. greek yogurt: firstly, shit is expensive. at roughly $4.99 for the big tub, i have somehow yet to learn my lesson that even though i enjoy it sometimes, i don’t enjoy it enough to be harboring 17.6 ounces in my fridge every week. why am i plagued with such horrible food denial? it’s been 32 years of waking up and not wanting to eat fresh fruit and greek yogurt for breakfast (which is what i assume skinny people eat- i’m more of the eggs, cheese, and heavily buttered toast school). why would this week be any different?

3. anything “southwest” style: i really need to put together a little southwest style donation box for the food pantry. my cupboards are choked with soup and rice mixes and god knows what else… cheap isn’t really that cheap when i hate the product, and  it’s taking up valuable cabinet real estate.

4. any vegetable that i don’t have definite plans for: hell hath no fury like impulse produce. unless it belongs to a specific meal, i need to learn to back the shit away from the zucchini just because it “looks good”. instead, i need to remember that it will look much less good when it’s forgotten and turning into brown goo in the back of my fridge (behind the food that i actually do eat, mostly cheese).

5. hummus: i buy this to go with the baby carrots. clearly, it does not make them any more enticing to me, it just gives me another product to throw away.

6. fruit out of season: sometimes i’ll really be craving grapefruit or pomegranate at the wrong time of year, but i’ll buy it anyway even though it’s super expensive, a little shriveled, and has probably spent at least a week on a boat being shipped in from some tropical island. what i’m really craving is FRESH fruit, but my tiny dinosaur brain doesn’t understand that. those pathetically dried up examples of fruithood are never going to look/be appetizing enough to make it into my mouth. my house is merely a pit stop on the road to wasted fruit hell.

7. lip gloss: i have a drawer full of lip gloss (no joke, it’s like a fucking arlington national cemetery for discarded lipcolor in there), yet i still wear the same one every single day. seriously, when did i get so stupid?

8. underpants: in one of the true hallmarks of extreme laziness (if there was an olympics of laziness, i think i could win. although, i bet everyone would be too lazy to show up to the competition.), i have occasionally (i mean often) been known buy new underwear rather than do laundry. this isn’t exactly a grocery item (although i have on an emergency basis bought some extremely ill fitting hanes her ways at the grocery store), but it is ridiculous, and i should really still knock it off.

writing this list has filled me with great shame. please tell me i’m not alone! maybe it would help if i slapped brightly colored price tags on all of my food, so that when i’m reaching for something more desirable (like butter or cheese- 2 things that never get wasted in my house), i know how much money i’m wasting in neglected produce? ooh, or better yet, i can draw sad faces on all my healthy food, and give them little speech bubbles that say things that make me feel guilty for not eating them…





double your pleasure.

7 06 2010

i’ve heard many tales of stop & shop and their magical coupon doublers, but i never thought i would have the opportunity experience the greatness in this barren stop & shopless territory.  well, it looks like everything these days is going all crazy-town, because not only is rite aid doing their own take on extrabucks with their +up program (what!?), but my shaw’s circular this weekend (the junkmail version- NOT the one you can pick up in the store) had 4 very special dollar doubler coupons attached. i am SO feeling the magic this weekend. shaw’s doubles most manufacturer’s coupons up to $.99, which is great and all… but these four babies let me double $1.00 value coupons, for awesome and totally unheard of savings. coupled with a couple of sweet weekly sales, i felt a little like i won the coupon olympics today. my best scores:

cheerios & lucky charms @ 2/$4 coupons.com has a bunch of killer $.55/1 coupons right now, doubling to make each box cost exactly $.90. 6 boxes= $5.40

hood frozen tangy frozen yogurt @ $2.99 with yet another dollar doubler was only $.99.

arm & hammer detergent @ $5.29/1 was on bogo. i used one of my dollar doublers to get 2 bottles for $3.29 (or $1.65 each).

i also used my remaining 2 doublers to score a few products that never really go on sale:

paul newman frozen pizza @ $5.99/1 became almost reasonable at $3.99.

morningstar chicken fingers $4.29 became walmart cheap at $2.29.

of course then i splurged a little on 1.5 lbs. of cherries @ $3.99/lb. but they are stunningly fresh, and much like fiddleheads, one of the more transient pleasures of summer. (why save if you can’t eventually spend on the things that make life worth living?)

i wrapped up the whole grocery adventure in a $5/$50 that i got in the mail a few weeks ago, and got the whole lot (roughly $60+ worth of food) for $28. not free, but i was able to get what i wanted, and stock up on some things that i needed for $2 under my weekly grocery budget. in my world (as a girl who used to spend $80 a week on foodstuffs), it feels like definite progress.

however, a lingering question still remains: WHERE IS THE FUCKING WACKY MAC?! please stop advertising it in my local circular (especially if there are coupons available to make it FREE you teasing whore!), if it doesn’t actually exist in the state of maine. i have looked up and down every aisle in at least 3 different stores in southern maine. if anyone out there in the universe knows where i can find it, please give me a holler. and soon. before i start wrecking up the joint.





stripping.

19 04 2010

so i read this really excellent article the other day about how to be a better photographer, which is weird because i don’t have any particular aspiration to be a photographer. yeah, i know that my blurry and poorly lit iphone photos totally blow, and i’m at peace with that. but what was great about the article was that it actually wasn’t about photography at all. it was about simplifying. the basic message being that all the high-tech gear in the world won’t make you a better photographer. her advice was to put everything away except your most basic camera, and just take as many pictures as you possibly can. strip away the distractions and reconnect with your craft.

well, i think it’s finally time for me to reconnect with my financial crap, i mean craft. lately i’ve been doing nothing. actually wait, i’ve been spending like a crazy person (i went to swap out a pair of shoes in the wrong size this weekend and accidentally ended up with yet another new pair. that’s 5 in the last 2 weeks for those of you who haven’t been paying attention), have more than an entire month of unclipped coupons,  skipped the last two baking days, and haven’t balanced my checkbook since 2009. SERIOUSLY NOT GOOD.

but before that, i was attempting to pull off every deal in town much to the detriment of both my wallet and my cabinet space.  i got burnt out and gave up. i got spring fever and i wanted new toys. at some point, i lost sight of the reason why i started this whole blog situation in the first place.

a quick assessment of the last 2 weeks of my checking account- i’ve spent $342.40 on eating and drinking out (oops), and i’m $413 in the hole for next month.  shit. shit. shit.

time to do the financial strip tease:

forget the pointless deals and baking days and hours spent on intricate schemes resulting in a freezer full of hotpockets (still fat FYI). remember the debt, the nest egg, and the new roof. it’s time to get back down to basics. i spent my hungover sweatpants sunday clipping and sorting my long neglected coupon stash (shamefully, many had already expired), and formulating an actual grocery list.  i decided to lay off hot pursuit of the uberdeal, and do something i haven’t done in a long time- just buy what i need. i planned five simple dinners, and some work food designed to prevent me from heading off to the coffee by design every day (after the last few weeks, my mayorship should be pretty much sealed). i used the coupons that i had, and even found an abandoned $10/$100 catalina at the register. $69 even (heh) split with the boyfriend, is only $4.50 over my weekly $30 budget, with no immediate reason to freak out and buy the whole world.

deep breath. keep going.

some pretty sweet shaw’s deals that i noticed while i was there:

pretty much all of the near east couscous & rice pilaf is $.99 right now.

tribe hummus is $1.99, and there’s (at least in falmouth) a $1/1 coupon blinker hanging out right there. i got 3 because apparently hummus lasts until july, and HELLO, $.99 hummus.

most of the kashi cereal is on sale for $2.49 this week, and if you still have any of the $1.50/1 from the vocalpoint healthy heart bonanza, $.99 fancy-pants cereal could be in your future.

mojo bars are on sale @ $.99 each, and there’s a recent mambo sprouts $1/3 coupon floating around there making them $.66 each. also, they’re fucking delicious.

there’s a tearpad (again, in falmouth) for free tomatoes when you buy 2 fresh express salad blends.

p.s. don’t look at that bag of doritos.





cleaning house.

28 12 2009

so yesterday was my last trip to the grocery store for 2009, and it was time to clean out a few more expiring coupons that i didn’t want to lose.  unfortunately the super-cheap morningstar farms deal at target didn’t pan out. my master plan was to stock up on chix patties & fake hamburger crumbles using the $2/2 coupon from the target website, and the $.75/1 coupons from the tearpad i scored months ago (ultimately getting them for like $1.50 per box)… unfortunately, all the crumbles were gone at my local target- and all i managed to get were 2 boxes of chix nuggets… boo-urns.

it’s tough to make the decision to go crazy on a deal that isn’t totally amazing, but i decided that since i needed to stock up for baking day- and because i wasn’t guaranteed any more morningstar coupons anytime soon (they are stingy with them!), that i would just go apeshit and buy 14 packages (the boyfriend and i each bought 7) @ the walmart where they generally sell for $3.39 each (which is the best price in town). $2.64 a package isn’t earth shatteringly amazing (although they’re almost $5 at shaws!)… but it is a good solid price- and i have more than enough to last me the next two months or so. i made the same concession on the kashi go lean honey almond flax cereal that i love. i had 2 $1.50/1 vocalpoint coupons left, and i was able to get 2 boxes at $1.78 each.  kind of meh, but i would rather get an ok deal now, instead of tossing my coupons to the wind and hoping something better comes down the pipeline. the good news is that food is transient. if the ultimate deal should come down the road- there is still room in my freezer to accommodate.

p.s. that big block of ice in tupperware in my freezer contains my credit cards. that way, i have to take the time to thaw them out (and think about it), if i really want to use them.