Tuesday Day ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-ONE

Monday was a day of how fast can I make all my money for the week disappear. I paid bills, bought groceries, and drove to Palmdale to look for fabric for my Halloween costume. In short, I made $375 vanish in a few hours. My day started off on a sour note though as I tried to renew my car registration online and kept getting an “invalid info” error. I drove to the DMV, and got in line. I got a number, and then saw they had a kiosk in the corner to pay your registration. I went to the kiosk, scanned my paperwork, slid my debit card, and was given an error message saying my “financial institution” forbade the transaction. I tried my card as both debit and credit with the same result. The guy standing nearby to help people informed me it won’t work with cards from my bank for some reason. Yay. After an hour of waiting I was able to pay my registration at the counter. The woman who took care of me also commented that their kiosk won’t accept cards from my bank when I paid.

I had already paid my Amazon bill and car insurance for the month before I left the house so now I went to fill up my gas tank. As I pulled into the pump, I saw a woman drive away while still attached to the pump. I’ve never seen someone look so horrified as she did when she realized what she had done. Before I left, she had gone in, ratted herself out, and was helping to fill out a report of the incident. I went to the bank and deposited a check for survey earnings.

Winco was a quick trip. I got a lot of good things and not much questionable stuff. I love when I can feel good about what I bought while grocery shopping and I did feel good about it, save for the donuts I bought myself as a treat. I got laundry detergent, cottage cheese, pasta sauce, Mattie’s lunches, fruit cups, ground turkey, Polish sausage, breakfast sausage, ham steak, salad mixes, pineapple, fresh beets, eggs, onion, salad dressing, bell pepper, green onions, string cheese, avocados, zucchinis, celery, broccoli, olives, and some other veggies. When I went to check out, the cashier accidentally hit the cash button, so she had to call over a manager to help her with actually charging my debit card and making sure her drawer would balance out.

After Winco, I brought my groceries home to be put away. I rechecked my bank balances and drove to Joann’s to look at fabrics. I had my pattern picked out for Halloween already, but with a slight change in the theme of Tracy and David’s party, I needed to rethink my fabric choices. I ended up finding what I needed, but it far exceeded my original spending plan of $60 for fabrics. I ended up spending quite a bit more. I ended up with three different fabrics- some darkish red satin for the skirt of my dress, a ton of black poly cotton broadcloth for the petticoat, blouse, and jacket lining, and some crazy reptile textured silver pleather for the jacket. Crazy is not a strong enough word for this stuff! The cashier had to double check with me on the amounts as she entered them into the computer because she wasn’t sure that 12 yards of the broadcloth was correct. ;) I’m actually really excited about the jacket. I saved $37 between one fabric being on sale and having a coupon to use on the broadcloth, but I really wish I had had a second coupon to use on the satin as well. It would have been nice to save another $10 or so. Still, Halloween is the one day a year I can go a little crazy, make a crazy outfit, and just have fun with it. :) I budgeted for $60 for fabric, but most of the extra $35 was covered by my survey check. Tracy said I didn’t need to go all out, but when else do I get to make and wear something insane? :D

I was hoping to get to pick up some crazy hair color this week as well but that doesn’t look like its going to happen. $5 doesn’t really give me that many options. Maybe next week I will have some extra. I’d like to go a bright pinkish purple or maybe just purple. I’m slightly undecided.

Monday night we went to pool and I shot better than I ever have. I ended the night with 3 7’s, and a 10, for a total of 31. My previous best was a 26, so I felt really good about that. I really should have won three of my games last night but barely missed the 8 and left it perfect for my opponent. Whoops! We went out for froyo afterwards, and they had a new flavor- banana. I mixed the strawberry and banana and added coconut to it. It tasted really good but I was burping banana all night after that.

I think part of why I shot so well was because for the first time in years, my hands were not shaking. Its only been a few days since the dosage of the Wellbutrin was cut in half, but I feel stronger, I’m not shaky, and the weirdest thing is I am falling asleep almost immediately after going to bed and I’m sleeping better. Its good, but it kind of sucks too because I’m so used to having a few hours after crawling into bed to read or play games on my Nook and now that time is gone. Hopefully I see more improvement and when I go back to see the doctor he will take me completely off of it, barring anything happening in between.

Monday Day ONE HUNDRED THIRTY

On Friday I left you with a post on how to shop for a month’s worth of groceries for one person on about $90.00. I spent hours on that post, but in the end, I was pretty pleased with the shopping list I put together and what was on it. Its heavy on carbs, but I tried to add as much protein as possible to the list and make it as healthy as possible. Was it actually healthy? No, not really. But I’m sure at one time or another, a lot of us have eaten a lot worse over an extended period of time. There are a few small changes I would make in hindsight (below) but overall I’m pretty happy with it after looking at meal options.

Today I’m going to leave you with a few recipe ideas for that shopping list. I’ve gone off of the list with the fresh veggies on it as I’m pretty sure you can find something marked down to make up the difference of the $2.00. I recommend that the condensed soups you buy are the “cream of” variety- cream of chicken, cream of celery, cream of mushroom, cream of whatever tickles your fancy. Actually those three right there are a great base for a lot of options.

  • Breakfasts
    • Oatmeal. Add a little cinnamon. A little sugar too if you have some on hand. (make 24 times)
      • 2.5 oz dry oatmeal
    • Zucchini Fritters You need flour, salt, and pepper for these as well, but its a small amount of flour. Green onions in the recipe are nice but not required. (make 2 times)
      • 1/2 zucchini
      • 1 egg
    • Cheese & broccoli omelet. Pretty self explanatory. A couple eggs, some cheese, dice up some of that remaining broccoli really small and add it in too. (make 4 times)
      • 2 eggs
      • 1.5 oz cheese
      • 1 tbl butter
      • 1/4 floret broccoli
  • Lunches
    • Yogurt, cheese, & fruit. (make 11 times)
      • 8 oz yogurt
      • 1 apple
      • 1 banana
      • 2 oz cheese
    • Mix up one of those cans of condensed soup, cook your last 5 oz of pasta, and cook and dice up three of those chicken thighs. (eat for 3 days)
      • 1 can condensed soup
      • 5 oz dry pasta
      • 3 chicken thighs
    • Chicken thigh and veggies – self explanatory. Don’t forget to season your chicken! (make 10 times)
      • 1 chicken thigh
      • 1 bag frozen veggies
    • Condensed soup. You’ll have to make it with water instead of milk though but it should still be decent. I’ve done it before. (make 6 times)
      • 1 can condensed soup
      • 1/2 bag frozen veggies
  • Dinners
    • Do a veggie stir fry. Add a few of your chicken thighs to it. Carrots, broccoli, bell pepper, or even some of those frozen veggies you picked up will go great in here. I’m going to assume you have some soy sauce in your fridge somewhere. Toss some in. Add a scrambled egg or two. Make it easy and make a few servings at once. (eat for 3 days)
      • 3 chicken thighs
      • 2 tbl butter
      • 1/2 lb carrots
      • 1 floret broccoli
      • 1 bag frozen mixed veggies
      • 2 eggs
      • 4 oz dry rice
      • bell pepper
    • Make chicken soup. You’ve got chicken, and you hopefully took your bones from the chicken the few nights before and made stock. Carrots, celery, green beans, frozen veggies, salt, pepper, and a little rice and you’re set. Make a couple days worth, bag up the leftovers and freeze it. You’ve got a few “extra” pieces of chicken so use a couple and make a big pot. (eat for 3 days)
      • 3 chicken thighs
      • 1/2 lb carrots
      • 1 bunch celery
      • 2 bags frozen veggies
      • 1/2 lb green beans
      • 4 oz dry rice
    • I’m no good when it comes to beans, but you’ve got beans, meat, stewed tomatoes, cheese, and onion. Do you have chili powder? Can you make some sort of chicken chili? Make enough for a few days. Leftover chili is good! (eat for 3 days)
      • 3 chicken thighs
      • a can stew tomatoes
      • 1.5 oz. grated cheese
      • 1/4th onion
      • 8 oz dry beans
    • Cabbage soup. I use this recipe and it calls for beef (or ground turkey) but you can probably modify it into something you can do with what you have on hand. The white vinegar really gives it its flavor. (eat for 5 days)
      • 1 can stewed tomatoes
      • 3 chicken thighs, diced
      • 1 head green cabbage
      • 3/4 onion
    • You’ve got stewed tomatoes. Run them thru the blender and puree them to make sauce. Add some Italian seasoning if they aren’t already seasoned. Julienne half a zucchini and dice some chicken. Cook two handfuls of pasta. Mix it all up and top with a little grated cheese. You’ve got a healthier pasta option with plenty of veggies. (eat for 2 days)
      • 1 can stewed tomatoes
      • 1 zucchini
      • 2 chicken thighs
      • 3 oz dry pasta
      • 2 oz grated cheese
    • Take that chicken thigh and season it with garlic powder, salt, and pepper and pop it in the oven for a half hour at 375°. Add a serving of rice with some butter and cinnamon and cook up a serving of veggies. (make 5 times)
      • 1 chicken thigh
      • 3 oz dry rice
      • 1 tbl butter
      • 1 bag frozen veggies
    • Chop up a couple of chicken thighs and toss them in a skillet. Boil some rice (say 3 servings worth) and when you’re chicken and rice  is cooked, add them together, dump in a can of condensed soup (cream of chicken works good here). Mix it up til its hot all the way through. It looks like barf but it tastes good. (eat for 3 days – repeat 3 times)
      • 3 chicken thighs
      • 4 oz dry rice (or pasta)
      • 1 can condensed soup
      • 1 bag frozen veggies

You’ve got 30 breakfasts, lunches, and dinners right there. If you make enough for 3 or more meals at a time, you won’t need to cook at all most days. How much food have you used? I only counted the ingredients that are on the shopping list, but the use of any condiments you probably already had on hand. Those included flour, soy sauce, salt, pepper, white vinegar, and assorted herbs and spices.

Keep in mind for most of these you could easily swap out pasta for rice and vice versa- I just prefer rice most of the time. I added beans to the shopping list initially because they are high in protein but I honestly have no idea what to actually do with beans- I don’t like them and I don’t buy them. In hindsight I would trade in 1 lb of beans for 1 lb of extra rice. I did look up making refried beans though and its super simple! You could easily make up a batch with a pound of those beans you have leftover and use that as an additional protein source. If you bought only 1.5 lbs of beans, you could take the $0.50 you saved and buy an additional smaller onion to season the refried beans with.

Items Used

  • 4 lbs of oatmeal
  • 88 oz of yogurt
  • 5 lbs apples
  • 5 lbs bananas
  • 10 can condensed soup
  • 7 tbl butter
  • 16 oz dry pasta
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 head cabbage
  • 8 oz dry beans
  • 1 onion
  • 31.5 oz cheese
  • 3 cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 bunch celery
  • 16 oz dry rice
  • 12 eggs
  • 20 bags frozen veggies
  • 2 floret broccoli
  • 1 lb carrots
  • 37 chicken thighs
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 lb green beans

Items Left

  • 25 tbl butter
  • 24 oz dry beans
  • 0.5 oz cheese
  • 1 lb carrots
  • 3 chicken thighs
  • 8 oz yogurt

 

Guess what? You’ve got some leftover, and one thing is certain, you are not going to starve. If you liked the zucchini fritters for breakfast, maybe pick up a few more zucchini next month so you can have it more than once. Have some carrots for a snack on occasion. Lisa also suggested a few sweet potatoes to liven things up a bit. Maybe you can pick some up next week.

This pair of posts have been really eye-opening for me. There’s actually quite a bit we can do with very little and its nowhere near as daunting as I thought it would be. I really am shocked by what can apparently be squeezed out of this, and how much variety is actually possible. I’m sure there are other options that would work as well, but these are just things I would make myself if I was eating from this list.

Friday Day ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-SEVEN

Bif Naked to Live off of $21 a Week

I saw this article posted on Facebook by a friend of a friend. It got me thinking. Can you, a single person, feed yourself off of $90 a month? I spend about $75 a week for Mattie and I but I buy mostly fresh, healthy foods and while some produce can be had on the cheap, some things aren’t going to fly for someone on a really tight budget.

So, assuming a $90 a month food budget, here’s what I could actually buy. I tried to make this as well-balanced as I could, but you’re still going to be eating a lot of the same things day after day. My prices are based off of what I pay at Winco (many items out of the bulk foods section), and a few things what prices were online because some of these foods I don’t buy so wasn’t sure on pricing.

Breakfast $4.00

  •  4 lbs. oatmeal
  •  $4.00

Lunch $14.00

  • 3 large tubs yogurt
  • 5lbs. apples at $0.75 a lb. (aprox. 15 small apples)
  • 5 lbs. bananas at $0.55 a lb. (aprox. 15 bananas)
  • $7.50
  • $3.75
  • $2.75

Dinner $48.40

  • 1 lbs dry pasta
  • 1 lb dry rice
  • 2 lbs dried beans
  • 30 bags frozen veggies
  • 4 large packages (10 per pack) chicken thighs w skin and bone
  • $1.00
  • $1.20
  • $2.20
  • $24.00
  • $20.00

Use These to Fill Out Meals/Flavor Them $22.55

  • 10 canned condensed soups
  • 2 1lb blocks of cheese
  • 3 cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 lb. butter
  • 1 dz eggs
  • 1 onion
  • $7.50
  • $8.00
  • $1.80
  • $3.00
  • $1.50
  • $0.75

Total Spending $88.95

 

You’re right at the edge of your budget but maybe something will be on sale and you’ll be able to pick up something extra.

Is this a good diet? Not particularly. But I tried to make it as well balanced as possible and get as much protein into it as I could. Portions won’t be generous, but you won’t starve, and there’s a little bit of variety. If you use a can of soup as a sauce for rice or pasta, make up a few days of dinners at once and then your can of soup will stretch over 3 meals. You might be able to use that soup flavoring every night of the month. You’ll get fresh fruit and some veggies (frozen is better than nothing) every day. There will be some meat in your diet. You’ll be drinking tap water but hopefully you have a filter of some sort at home.

I’m assuming (hoping!) that you have some condiments and spices on hand already- cinnamon is a life saver for your boring oatmeal, and garlic powder, salt, and pepper will make your chicken taste pretty damned good.

So… $90 a month is a manageable grocery budget, but you won’t eat well, and you won’t have variety. But you won’t starve either. Thoughts?

After I posted this, my friend Lisa at 100 Pounds asked what it would cost to swap out some of the frozen veggies for fresh ones. I did the math, and if you added the following things to the list in place of 12 bags of frozen veggies, your cost would go up by about $2 for a total of $91.25. This is the dig through the couch cushions for change variant.

My friend Tracy at ArtRez also suggested using the chicken bones to make stock. I’ll put out some recipe ideas over the next few days to go with this shopping list.

Breakfast $4.00

  • 4 lbs. oatmeal
  • $4.00

Lunch $14.00

  • 3 large tubs yogurt
  • 5lbs. apples at $0.75 a lb. (aprox. 15 small apples)
  • 5 lbs. bananas at $0.55 a lb. (aprox. 15 bananas)
  • $7.50
  • $3.75
  • $2.75

Dinner $50.70

  • 1 lbs dry pasta
  • 1 lb dry rice
  • 2 lbs dried beans
  • 20 bags frozen veggies
  • 4 large packages (10 per pack) chicken thighs w skin and bone
  • Fresh Broccoli (1 lb.)
  • Bell Pepper (1)
  • Zucchini (2 small)
  • Carrots (2 lbs.)
  • Celery (1 bunch)
  • Green Beans (1 lb.)
  • Green Cabbage (1 head)
  • $1.00
  • $1.20
  • $2.20
  • $16.00
  • $20.00
  • $1.20
  • $0.50
  • $1.30
  • $2.00
  • $1.00
  • $1.80
  • $2.50

Use These to Fill Out Meals/Flavor Them $22.55

  • 10 canned condensed soups
  • 2 1lb blocks of cheese
  • 3 cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 lb. butter
  • 1 dz eggs
  • 1 onion
  • $7.50
  • $8.00
  • $1.80
  • $3.00
  • $1.50
  • $0.75

Total Spending $91.25

 

So… you could eat a little better than I first figured with fresh veggies on most days but that’s if you can scrape up a few coins from your couch cushions. I keep thinking about these people spending  times what I normally spend in a week and buying all that convenience food and I kind of cringe, especially after making this list and seeing how cheaply you could be eating albeit not very well.

Thursday Day ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-SIX

I had my doctor’s appointment this afternoon and I am happy to say it went well, and that the doctor and I are on the same page. I showed up with printouts from the medications official literature with all relevant areas regarding side effects I am having clearly marked plus notes on other issues I am having that are not listed in the literature. The doctor was the same one I saw a month ago, and was surprised to see me again so soon, but when I explained why I was there today he was happy to sit down and discuss it. He also asked me why I think it is the Wellbutrin causing the problems and not the Geodon, and I explained that my research points to the Wellbutrin in about 95% of the problems.

After he asked a lot of questions about how I was before being placed on these meds, he proposed that we cut the dosage of the Wellbutrin in half until the next time he sees me. We’ll see if the issues improve, and if I am suffering any outstanding issues related to my moods. Either way, the goal is to get me off of the Wellbutrin, and to see if it should be replaced with a different medication at a later time. He found it odd I was placed on an antidepressant at all because apparently most people with my diagnosis only need a mood stabilizer, and an antidepressant can cause more issues than it solves.

I go back to see him again in 8 weeks, so hopefully I have will good things to report when I go back. I feel like I am  leaving something out, but that’s really all there is to it.