Single and Settling In

Single life has its own unique challenges, personally and financially. Hear how these bloggers are making the single life work for them.

Table for 1

  • Comments 4

snadwichI enjoyed going out for lunch and getting away from the office for a breath of fresh air.  The thought of packing my lunch every day and being stuck eating at my desk was not appealing.  I work in a part of town that has some great restaurants – unique, and wonderful food, terrific atmosphere… not so unique, wonderful and terrific prices!  Lunch or dinner – it was easier to grab something then stop, shop and prepare.  After really looking at my budget I was amazed at how much I spent on both groceries and eating out.  Didn’t make sense.  Lunch alone can run you at least $30.00 a week, $120 a month and $1500 a year!  You have to admit though, as a single person it is really difficult to grocery shop for just one person.  Everything is geared toward families or large meals – you end up spending more on groceries to make a meal than you would running to the corner for a sandwich.   What was the point?  It was time to get creative.  I had to sit down and truly plan my dinners and lunches for the week so I would avoid buying things that I did not need.  It started off to be an annoyance, but once again, I found a way to adjust and make it enjoyable.  Sundays became my day to cook.  I come from an Italian family, so mom has great recipes, but always in BIG portions.  I will make a huge pot of sauce, or a homemade soup, or a pot roast -  something that I could enjoy for dinner that night and look forward to eating for lunch a couple of days that week…..or, something that I never thought about “pre-debt” – freeze it!  By freezing in small containers – I can take them out for individual servings as needed. 

Packing a lunch doesn’t mean that you get peanut butter and jelly every day.  There are some great frozen meals out there now that are tasty, healthy and, when on special, quite inexpensive.  If you have to make a lunch meat sandwich throw in some lettuce (forget the bag lettuce – a head of lettuce is cheaper and lasts longer) and tomato to make it more appealing.  Add a piece of fruit, some chips, pack your own drink and you are good to go.  If I don’t have a lot of things for lunch, I pack “all day snacks” to avoid the vending machines!  Crackers (saltines and peanut butter – very cheap and tasty), cut up veggies, homemade chex mix – these are all things that I can keep at my desk and munch on instead of going to the vending machine and spending $1.00 for a candy bar.  When you do pack, don’t stay at your desk - get out for some air.  Everyone needs a break to keep motivated.  Find a park and sit outside and eat.  Pack a magazine or a book to enjoy.  Run errands that you can’t normally do before or after work.  Take a walk.  I have even found a small local gym that allowed me to use their equipment on my lunch break for about $5.00 a week.  Get creative!

Don’t forget about Farmer’s Markets.  Chances are you have a couple within a 10 to 20 mile radius of you and don’t even know.  They have wonderful produce for half the cost and double the quantity of the grocery stores, and they are fun!  Don’t forget your discount grocery stores like Super Target (love it!). Generic brands – they taste the exact same as name brand and sometimes half the cost. Think about the things you can make yourself – instead of ordering a pizza for $10.00 or more, or even buying a frozen one for $7.00, grab some English muffins, pizza sauce and cheese and your have personal pizzas for less than $5.00.

It is an adjustment (yet another one) when you have to cut your eating habits, but in the long run if our previous lifestyles worked, we wouldn’t have to make the change, but they didn’t, so now make the best of it and get creative with your meals.  It isn’t always a table for 1, but when it is – look forward to it and enjoy the time you have.  Enjoy the meal that you prepared for yourself - Bon Appetite!

  • Katie,

       I often times find it hard to shop for one. Thanks for all your input on here! Good stuff. That last part about english muffin's, sauce and cheese has got me thinking!

    Mike

  • Yes, the English Muffin Pizzas are wonderful!  

  • Commin from a large family, I always found it difficult to adjust to having only my husband and I to feed.  I have had to change my habits of "buying in bulk" and watching it go to waste.  With practice and time we have found a happy medium.

  • This is good for Married and in debt people also. I do cook but unfortunately for me, my husband and daughter "HATE" leftovers. So, I learned how to reinvent them for later. I will put left over spaghetti in the freezer and in 2 weeks; thaw, top with cheese and bake in oven,add french bread and a salad and they do not even realize that they are eating leftover. I do the same for sloppy joe if I have any leftover I freeze and add the spahetti sauce. I also like to buy rotissaire chicken and use the leftover for BBQ chicken sandwiches .I also do the same if I buy KFC or Popeyes and have leftover. Just debone and decard the skin, shredd the chicken and place in a pot with bbq sauce, add canned sweet corn and cucumber slices for a quick meal.

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