beginning the grocery savings

Things are gradually getting settled into place, from furniture to wall hangings to, well, us–getting jobs in order & re-introducing ourselves to 6 a.m. I used to love getting up early, but I lost that in France. It was so easy to sleep in when I only had one room to keep clean & a class to teach in the afternoon.

I’m amazed at how happy I am to wake up early, pour a big mug of coffee & get going with the day. I’m even more impressed with how far into the night my urge to be productive stretches. I want to take advantage of this time to myself with reading or writing or watching French movies… but I keep finding things that will make the apartment more organized or the school year easier. I’ve started to realize that this is how I relax & take time for myself: I get crafty & productive.

Some of the things that have been accomplished this week include organizing my recipes collected in France, planning our next week of groceries & beginning to plant things that should help cut down on the grocery budget.

We’re sticking to a strict budget, since we want to focus on shopping at Bloomingfoods & the farmers market. Some of the natural foods get pricey, so planning out meals & groceries needed–along with building up a pantry of dry goods & staples–helps us save money. We decide which basics can be purchased at Aldi (orange juice, frozen foods, trash bags) & which we can look for sales or deals on at the markets (local produce & things to stock up).

By stocking up on things that seem expensive up front, like tahini or cilantro, means that we’ll spend less money buying things we consume a lot of & that require packaging, like hummus & salsa. (Umm, and can I just say that I haven’t baked anything yet? That has to be a record. I haven’t even splurged at the convenient store on the corner for some overpriced sugar or cocoa–or $4 cooking spray.)

I heard that Kmart had their gardening supplies on clearance, so one rainy evening, I convinced Joe to make a Kmart run for organic potting soil. We got a long planter for 60 cents, & we’ll put it to work in the spring. For now, I have a few seeds going just to see what comes of it.

Though the shot glasses don’t have drainage, I think they’ll work to get these mini-sunflowers started. I’m trying to see how quickly they sprout, because Grow Great Grub suggests using them for your indoor micro-green garden. (More on that later: we’ve converted an old, plastic donut holder into a microgreen bed. We’re on day 2, so no growth yet.)

During our first grocery trip in Bloomington (to a Marsh, whose organics we quickly discovered do not match our budget range), I stopped by the fresh herbs to pick up some basil. Did I want fresh, all-natural basil picked & packaged for $2.99? Or did I want the organic basil plant for $3.99?

We came home with a basil plant, and he looked a little droopy until my mom got here the following weekend & encouraged me to trim the poor thing back. He’s now filling out, getting new leaves & enjoying the new planter he moved into yesterday. In the spring, we’ll be busting out the Topsy Turvy. Just thinking of tomatoes & smelling our basil has me itching for mozzarella!

Hopefully, this weekend we’ll sort out the rest of the apartment & post pictures; figure out where my classes are; go to the farmers market; see some seeds start to grow & leaves start to fill out… and about a million other things. Can’t wait to share our experiences at Critical Mass & the farmers market with you! Let the greening begin!


About meganbetz

human geography PhD Student at Indiana University; wife, reader, writer, baker, gardener
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