What I was planning to talk about today


Nearly everyone has been binging on money. I was lucky enough, or cautious enough, not to go head over heels in debt during my binge. But it’s still time to cut back.

So, since I like experimenting with food, I’m going to experiment with whether I can trim back to eat well on the USDA “thrifty” food budget. The USDA comes out monthly with an estimate of how much it costs for households of various sizes and ages to eat at a “liberal”, “moderate”, “low-cost”, or “thrifty” level – unfortunately, it seems to take them a couple of months to work out the numbers. Now that it’s October, they’ve released the figures for August.

Well, you work with what you have. And two month old numbers are only the first problem. I could use their costs for a two-person household, ages 51-70; except that my husband is almost never home to eat lunch, and works late two nights a week, and a couple of times a week our son comes over for dinner. And I’m trying to lose weight, like pretty much every adult woman in the country.

Anyhow, the official “thrifty” July estimate for us was $350. (August wasn’t out yet last week when I started thinking about this project.) I massaged the numbers and decided that my goal is to spend not more than $300 on food this month. That doesn’t come near some of the more heroic mommy bloggers or extreme couponers; but we’re in our sixties, and my husband has had one heart attack, which was plenty. Thrift has to make room for nutrition.

Dinner tonight (for three) was chicken enchiladas, approximately. A closer description would be chicken burritos (homemade flour tortillas instead of corn tortillas) enjitomatas (the sauce was heavy on tomato and contained no chiles; I put a roasted slivered poblano in the filling instead). We’ll see how things go over the next month.

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