Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Recessionista on Food


I LOVE this word, recessionista.  I bet by next year this term will be in the dictionary- especially if the economy doesn't improve.  I have mostly heard is referred to ladies who are able to keep up with fashion during this time of financial woes. I think it represents more.  The word says that you can still be fabulous (that's another one of my favorite words) even if no one really has any money to spend.  In the case of this blog, you can still eat fabulous.

Eating fabulous means that although you don't have much money to spend on food, you do not have to eat off dollar menus, or buy only the preservative filled crap that comes in the Sunday newspaper coupon section.

So, as defined by internet sources, a recessionista is defined by four things: being 
Crafty, Careful, Charismatic, and Cash Conscious

Crafty: So, the biggest and most bestest way of saving money is to stop eating out so much, and stop buying pre-made food.  This means that you must know how to cook! And really, all cooking is is following directions.  If this is as far as you can get, then so be it, but let me push you even farther....  Think of food items that are healthy and don't cost so much- my two favorites are lentils and rolled oats since they can also multitask.  The next step is to think of things that pack a lot of flavor, but you don't need to use to much of- such as bacon (like in this previous blog), maple syrup, or spices.  Use these as the inspiration for your meals.

Careful: In clothes shopping, this refers to two things. 1. No impulse buying! This is almost easier to apply with groceries, because you can just make a list of what you need and stick to it.  Don't throw things into your cart just because they look like fun.  Don't buy something that you don't eat just because it's on sale.  2. Don't buy something that's poor quality and will damage your health just because it's cheaper! Lastly, I think another part of this is to be careful not to waste your food.  If veggies are getting a little soft, make soup!  If bread is getting stale make French toast!

Charismatic: If all you have to eat for dinner is bean soup...again....then make the most of it by serving it up on the prettiest dishes you own.  Set your table, put on music, and light a candle, even if you're eating alone!  Go out and buy the best baguette that money can buy- because you know it's never going to be more than $4- to "kick it up a notch."  (I hope I don't get sued for copyrights for that one.

Cash Conscious: This means...

finding the best quality product for the best price

Need I emphasize that more?  Buying the cheapest possible item out there is not always the best thing!  Now is the time to research.  You may spend $2 more a pound on salmon at one store, but will that salmon last 5 days rather than 2? Some ice cream brands may be more expensive, but is that because they lack fillers (such as sawdust) that other brands put in to make you THINK you're getting more?  A cereal may be on sale, but is that because you are sending your kids off to school full of processed corn and sugar?

One last thing from me: You need to reward yourself.  Go out to your favorite restaurant- just do it once a month.  Buy your favorite brand of coffee or real vanilla extract, even if it's more expensive!  A true RECESSIONISTA knows that a total cutoff of niceties leads to binging, and that is the worst thing you can do for your budget!  Just make sure whatever it is you indulge in is so totally worth it that your heart palpitates and you must close your eyes to enjoy it!

1 comment:

Joe & Brook said...

Great tips...and I love the way you divided them into three fashionable categories. As a fellow recessionista, I offer another tip: If you can diligently pay off your credit card each month, get a card that gives you cash back. Then, when you're feeling a yen for a truly great meal, request the distribution of funds and take those $$ out on a date.