Budget Day 9: A Change in Plans and Earthfare

You know how sometimes you make a plan and then barely stick to it? I think that is going to be the case with our dinner plan this week. We did have the omelets on Sunday and quesadillas (click to see picture) made with a leftover sweet potoato and fajita ingredients on Monday as scheduled, but I am pretty sure the rest of the week is going to be up in the air (which at this point is just fine with me). You see, I accidentally spilled an entire glass of red wine on my laptop last night so I am officially in a “go with the flow” type of mood for the rest of the week!

Today started off on a much better foot than yesterday with my morning visit to Earthfare. I know I am getting a lot of comments about trying new stores (and I realize Wal-Mart was a poor choice yesterday), but my latest plan is to try a new place each week. So next week might be Trader Joe’s or Bi-Lo, and then the week after that maybe Harris Teeter. I just don’t have the funds (or time) to do more than one new store in a week. So not to worry…I will eventually take my Earthfare blinders off so I can see if there is anything else good out there!

After my frustrating experience at Wal-Mart yesterday (partly due to two tired and hungry and cold children who both had lots to complain about), when I walked into Earthfare by myself today I felt like singing…aaaaahhhhhhh!! There’s something to be said for knowing what the options are and where just about everything is located in a grocery store. So in no time at all I spent my $45 that I had budgeted for the trip…and I didn’t have to put anything back this time! I wish I could credit it to the calculator I swore I would bring, but it was actually just sheer luck. And I kind of wondered if I really am capable of leaving Earthfare only $45.70 poorer why have I been spending so much money there all these months! This is what I got...all of which was organic or “All-Natural” (click to see picture)…

  • Dried pitted dates $3.55
  • Peanut butter (with 1 ingredient) $3.17
  • Mozzarella cheese (to fuel my obsession with caprese salads) $4.00
  • Parmesan cheese $6.24
  • Cheddar cheese $4.89
  • Cream cheese $2.89
  • 2.10 lbs local chicken breasts (with a buy 1 lb get 1 lb free coupon)! $5.49
  • Frozen peas (oops they didn’t make the picture) $2.00
  • Brown rice crackers $3.49
  • Celery $1.97
  • 1 LB of grapes $2.36
  • Italian parsley $1.49
  • 2 pears $2.66

I do want to note a couple of things about my purchases. The brown rice crackers were a new item we’ve never tried before. My neighbor told me about them and they are 100% whole-grain with no junk in them (woo hoo!). And my daughters love them. I am not sure if it is because it is something “new” and exciting or if they just like them, but whatever the reason it is fine with me! Secondly, I learned that if you shop at a store as nice as Earthfare and buy something as expensive as all-natural Parmigiano Reggiano ($15.99/LB) they are willing to custom cut a small piece for you so you can afford it. I agree it might not make sense for me to buy such expensive cheese on a tight budget, but my family heritage is Italian and that is the way we roll. No green canisters of powdery cheese substances allowed in this house!

So far I’ve given up fresh berries and most desserts that we used to occasionally eat (like homemade ice cream), but if I can continue having things like our good local milk (which you are probably tired of hearing about), good cheese, and our nut-filled granola cereal I might just survive! Later in the week I will post the run down of what we end up eating for dinner every night, but with my husband gone and all that chicken on hand I am thinking chicken nuggets might be in our future (probably sautéed in non-organic canola oil – more on that later!).