My adventure in single-girl-living-alone-on-a-budget has begun. Allow me to begin with some highlights of this new life
– I am determined to stay on a strict budget. One way I do this is by writing down everything I put in my cart and the price. Don’t believe me? Well, that’s fine I don’t currently have proof but I plan on taking a picture the next time this occurs. I do this because it is way too easy to throw this $2 item in the cart and that $1 and that $4 oh and that $3 and, oh my, that’s on sale for $7 item in the cart. By the time you get up to the register with your cart full of cheap items, you’ve gathered $150 worth of cheap items and it’s way too embarrassing to remove items and how are you supposed to know what to remove? By neurotically writing everything down I know exactly which items are pushing me over and how much my total should be at the register. Oh, and coupons. They are my new biffels.
– I’m not always here. One week I’m in Doodlehem and the next I’m off to Binghamton or Scranton or… you get the picture. I have to keep that in mind when shopping and meal planning because I don’t want things to go to waste and throw my money out the window. On the plus side, not always being home allows me to keep my grocery budget pretty low because when I’m traveling the company pays for my meals.
– I live alone for the first time so I’m learning to cook for one. At home I cooked for three or four (depending on if my brother was there) and there was more than just me to contribute to eating the leftovers. This is quite new to me and something I’m getting used to.
– I don’t currently have a boyfriend or many friends here to share my meals with so it’s a lot of lonely eating. This can mean a few things. Either I don’t feel like putting a lot of effort into cooking and end up eating bland meals or I feel the urge to create something really exciting so I can at least be excited about the taste and ignore that I’m alone (sad, I know).
– I eat out when I travel for work so when I’m home I really don’t want to eat out a lot.
– It’s hard to pack lunches for my job because I already carry so many things in my book bag that I don’t have room or strength for another item. Plus, I don’t always know if there will be a microwave for me to use to heat things up so everything has to be very elementary-school-brown-bag. I haven’t really packed my lunches yet and have ended up eating a lot of dining hall food. But don’t worry Mama, I stick to the salad bars.
– Plusses: I’ve discussed this before but it is nice to be able to eat when and what I want without having to worry about the other people in the house. I’ve ended up having weird meals that I realize now no one would have cared if I made at home (and mama would have been happy if she saw me doing). For example, my dinner tonight was a giant bowl of spinach and broccoli. Never would have done that before and I don’t know why. I can eat in my room! Haha, this was NOT permitted although frequently done in the parental’s house. I really have no choice now. My bedroom is both my sleeping and living quarters. I do have a kitchen table, and I do eat most of my meals there, but when I sit there I’m staring at a blank wall and the tv is in the other room. I really need to do something with that wall.
So, my friends, I’ve discovered some new favorites while navigating through this new life of mine and thought I’d share.
New Fave 1
The Random Fruit/Veggie Plate
This one consists of baby carrots, ranch dressing, and apples with peanut butter. This tasty number was a bedtime snack that hit the spot.
New Fave 2
You can read about my frustrations with the taco here but no matter how much it is still just a taco, I do love me some taco salads. You can throw anything on those beasts! This one consisted of tortillas, ground beef, red onion, tomato, salsa, mexi-cheese, black olives, and sour cream. So good. Must put beans on the next one. And guac or avocado. So yammers.
New Fave 3
Quinoa and Beans
Okay, this isn’t technically new but it’s the first time I made it. My Mama introduced me to this wonderful love and The Fitnessista taught me how to add it to salad beasts. Quinoa is so versatile and I must learn them all. The nice thing about quinoa and beans is it is super filling, super easy, super yummy, and super versatile. Eat it as is, throw it onto some salad, add meat, pair it with different veggies, anything you want!
New Fave 4
Indian Food (I forgot to take a picture before I chowed down!)
I know, I’m late. But you see I have a little issue with spice. I can’t handle it. Spice really hurts me and so I’m hesitant to try any new foods that are known to be spicy. But I ate this little number on my trip home from Binghamton the other week. I pulled into the area to fill my car up and saw they were having a lunch buffet. It was calling to me. I normally avoid buffets because I get full quickly but this I thought was a good opportunity to try a lot of things without committing to one meal. And let me tell you I will definitely be going back to this restaurant (good thing I grabbed a menu because I can’t remember its name!)
Soup and Sandwich
Thought I’d end this with an oldie but goodie. The soup and sandwich combo. The sick girl, cold girl, poor girl’s friend. I enjoyed this duo (trio with the veggies) during that horrible first week here when I was sick. Hit the spot as always.