Monday, June 4, 2012

$144; Summer grocery spending

The summer grocery spending has begun in earnest.  Our 14-week average bumped back up to $144/week (144 is a perfect square because 144 = 12x12; 144 is also the 12th Fibonacci number.  If we had been born with 15 fingers, we would write that number as "99").

How did we get to this point?  In part, because my husband did some necessary pantry restocking:  coffee, bananas, more bananas, eggs, mayonnaise, and peanut butter, not to mention many other 'essentials' I forgot to list.  The "He Spends" part of our grocery bill ran to $155 this week.

But the "She Spends" part of the grocery bill should not be ignored.  $77 of our money -- spent entirely by yours truly -- went to sweet stuff and impulse buys: things I've barely justified to myself under the name of efficiency, even under the name of "spending-to-save".  The early part of this week saw a trip to strawberry fields with my former-student-turned-friend, where we picked $21 worth (about 16 lbs) of this beautiful fruit.   (I followed this up with $9 for sugar and tortillas, the latter completely unrelated to jam-making)\.   We spent the afternoon turning strawberries into jam (about eighteen 1.5-pint jars worth) and into dried strawberries to add to future granola batches.

$21 worth of fresh picked strawberries, and $25 worth of play tools.
The impulse buy was more expensive than the strawberries themselves.  I gave into temptation and spent $25 to buy three items:  a strawberry stem remover with moveable parts, a scoop version of a stem remover, and (showing a complete lack of willpower on my part) a plastic strawberry slicer.  Honestly, I am not sure that either of the first two items actually saved us time over a standard kitchen knife, but they were darned fun to use.  For the record, K-daughter loved the strawberry slicer, and it allowed us to prepare strawberries for the dehydrator more easily than ever before.  Ironically, that might have been the most useful of the three purchases.

At any rate, having three sets of tools allowed three of us -- my friend Steph, my K-daughter, and me -- to work harmoniously side-by-side to put up all 16 pounds of strawberries in just a few hours.   Based on past experience, this ought to be enough strawberry jam for an entire year -- even with the one-time, admittedly frivolous purchase of play-tools, this ran us to less than $4/jar of jam.  I'm okay with that.

Next week will see even more spending.  Our beef supplies are running low, and our local dairy is obligingly doing a butchering.  With summer here and the boys home for breakfast, lunch, and snacks, we'll have to start rethinking our pantry supplies.  So expect to see a surge in spending. 

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