Today is one of those days.
With my ice cream truck in the shop, and the hospital being temporarily overstaffed, both of my jobs have come to a standstill. Problem is, of course, my expenses have not.
With the new session of summer school starting on Monday (and 2 new classes starting with it), I am forced to buy two new textbooks. Granted I'm getting both of them at fantastic deals; one is $75 instead of the advertised $250 in the bookstore (friend is selling it to me), and the other is $74 instead of $150 (online ebook that a classmate and I are sharing), but the fact remains that an additional $149 is still being tacked onto my other bills, when my income is not allowing for it. Therefore, it is time to stretch the budget even further.
So of course, I immediately went to what seems to be my biggest drain of money in our household: groceries. And more specifically, fresh produce. With the cost of a single red pepper at $2.49, and an abyssmal selection of coupons in the produce department, I was beginning to feel slightly depressed over how my diet may have to take a hit for the sake of textbooks. Has it finally come down to this?
House Designated Cleaning Lady: "If I could say something..."
Thank god for the cleaning lady, as it seems that because of her, I have stumbled onto a nutritional/budget conscious goldmine.
If anyone has noticed, on the righthand side of my blog, under the heading "Links I Love" is a link titled, "Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op". It's available in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. If you live in one of these states, I highly recommend checking it out. It's incredible.
Basically, you pay $15 for a laundry-basket-sized basketfull of fruits and vegetables. For anyone who frequents the local produce section of their supermarket, $15 for this much produce is a steal. Okay it's more than just a steal, it's ridiculous. You pay $15 on Monday, via the website, then go Saturday morning (at one of the sites) to pick up your goods. What did I get today? For $15 I paid on Monday?
A head of romaine lettuce, a head of spinach, 4 artichokes, 6 onions, 6 apples, 3 pears, 4 tomatoes, 6 peaches, 3 red bell peppers, 3 yellow bell peppers, 3 ears of corn, 1 watermelon, 1 cantelope, 6 bananas, a bag of about 20 small peppers, and 4 packages of strawberries.
You don't get to choose what's in your basket, instead they fill it with whatever is in season. Personally, I like not knowing; it's the Christmas morning of grocery shopping. You get what you get. If you're one of those people who only wants certain items in the basket, a wise thing to do is split a basket with someone, or even have them buy their own and then swap out what you don't use. Have a friend who loves peppers but hates onions? Offer a trade. This is the first time I did it, and I traded strawberries (since I already have them in frozen form) for additional artichokes (since I almost never get to have them). My fridge and pantry is packed with fresh fruit and veggies. All for $15.