While living alone, I always justified my prepared food purchases by saying that it was just tough to cook for one person. Even now that I have a roommate, I find myself doing a lot of quick cooking and eating a lot of frozen meals and sandwiches, just because it’s easier.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to do a bit more cooking, even if it’s just throwing together pasta, chicken, and veggies. It’s easy, fast, and cheap. But I’ve noticed that with all this cooking at home, my grocery bill is actually going up. Why? Because good quality ingredients aren’t cheap. Plus I’m not exactly planning my meals so as to make these meals cheap. Rather than buy one chicken and cooking it and using it for multiple meals, if I need chicken to chop up and put into something, I just buy chicken breasts. Plus I don’t have a fully stocked pantry, so I find that I’m buying things that most people already have in their cupboards. But I’m just easing into the cooking. I’m trying to pick recipes that sound good and that will make good leftovers.
Over the next few months, I’m going to try to work to get better at meal planning. It’s tough, since my roommate and I aren’t really into any sort of routine. Neither of us is regularly home for home for dinner any day of the week, so we can’t even cook together.
But even if it is more expensive, it’s fun to cook from scratch. Somehow, everything always tastes better when I worked to make it. Of course, that could have to do with the fresh ingredients as well. Plus I like knowing that I’m not putting all sorts of preservatives into my body.
So for now, I’m going to work on eating healthy and trying to make cooking at home a more frugal endeavor. I’m having fun going through all the cookbooks I have. I just struggle to decide what to cook next.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.