FWF and the SS's

For the time being, due to my schedule insanity, I will not be keeping up with these features. They will, however, be back some day, so I want to leave this page up for y'all to see what the point of the features is when they come back. 

However, although I am not currently blogging this information, I am still keeping track of my spending and waste. If something significant happens with either of those two things, I will definitely suspend my hiatus on these features to mention it to y'all. 

Lastly, I managed to get through my storage space and maintain a regular, 3-4 month supply of pantry staples and whatnot now, so Sunday Storage will be permanently over unless something weird happens that changes is. 

Food Waste Friday, Saturday Spending and Sunday Storage are regular features here on my blog. So I want to take a moment to explain what the three things are, as well as why I do them.

Food Waste Friday originated on The Frugal Girl's website. She still does it on her site, but I've instituted it as a regular feature on my blog as well. The purpose behind it is to be mindful of what we're doing with our food, so we waste less. As a result, a certain amount of accountability factors in for me when I'm deciding if I'm going to throw something away or use it up. I know I have to tell y'all about all my food waste, so I'm far less likely to toss something I'm tired of in the trash. Likewise, if a food is starting to turn but isn't there yet (I'm not talking about meat here), I'm more likely to cut off the bad parts and use the good if I know I have to tattle on myself later.

There are a lot of benefits to making myself accountable for my food waste, only a few of which I want to talk about. Aside from the environmental benefits involved in not dumping more uncomposted food into the landfills, there's a great financial reward. Americans waste a tremendous amount of money on food they will never eat. More than 40% of the food produced in America is never eaten; table scraps total 17% of landfill dumpings and the average American family wastes 25% of the food they purchase.* By being cognizant of what I'm throwing away, I save hundreds of dollars every year. The other benefit is that often I simply make more than I can reasonably eat. I know when that happens that food might get thrown away. Instead of tossing it, I share it with people I know which helps foster my sense of community and connectedness to those people who're in my life.

Saturday Spending is another accountability exercise. Basically how it works is this: I do my grocery shopping throughout the week, because I'm not a meal planner. As the week progresses, I save all my receipts (sadly, including my excessive junk food habit) and then I write them up for you on Saturday.

I do this for two reasons:

1) Writing it up keeps me from losing my mind at the olive bar or cheese counter and spending a billion dollars
2) Writing it up helps you see that it's possible to eat healthy, home-cooked meals much, much more cheaply than the media leads us to believe we're able to.

My weekly budget for groceries is $20 for just me. Over the summer 2010, it was $10/week. Over the summer 2008 or 2009 (I forget which), it was $9/week. I haven't yet decided what my budget will be for summer 2011, but I might just leave it at $20/week. My budget week extends from Saturday to Friday, instead of using a more traditional calendar week. Using these highly limited budgets, I am able to consistently eat very healthful, diverse meals with no trouble. In fact, I am nearly always under budget.

Sunday Storage is a new weekly feature I'm doing. I have what is now referred to as Aladdin's Cave, which is a substantial amount of staples I've stored. I've managed to acquire all these staples while staying on budget, simply by paying attention to sales and stocking up on things when they're easy to get cheaply. However, now that I live in a small apartment and am not sure what state I'll be living in after I graduate (December 2011), I'm trying to use up all that storage. The basic premise of this feature is that I tell you guys what I've used up in the Cave. At some point I'll put up a separate page detailing what's in there.

Also during Sunday Storage, I'd like to hear from you guys. I'm really interested in knowing what kinds of recipes you all would like to see posted here, so if there's a food you're interested in seeing me post about, please comment in the Sunday post telling me so. If I've already made it and you haven't wanted to sift through the hundreds of recipes to find it, I'll respond with the link. If I haven't made it yet, I will, and it'll be a separate post mentioning you as the inspiration for what I come up with.