Thursday, June 6, 2019

Eating On A Budget

So, if you're like me and you find that one of your largest expenses is food but you need to be allocating scarce resources to much more critical things like album covers and book editing, you can cut corners by eating on a budget. This doesn't have to mean skipping meals or doing the Retsuko thing of having bread crusts dipped in mayo for lunch; there are other options that are more satisfying and probably healthier while still being cost-conscious.
Here are some of the ideas I employ (note: I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist, so I don't endorse these ideas as ways to lose weight or anything like that. This is coming purely from a financial perspective. Remember: don't take health advice from authors, musicians, or especially author/musicians. It will not turn out well.)

The Stardew Valley Diet
I named this idea as such because when I tried - unsuccessfully - to play the open-ended role-playing game called Stardew Valley a while back, the only thing my character would eat for dinner was spaghetti, day in, day out. This was done partially out of laziness but also for budget reasons. Being lazy and cheap in real life as well, I thought, "hey, why not apply that idea to my actual diet?" So I did, and the results were great. For about two or three dollars worth of ingredients, I can make three huge servings of pasta in just a few minutes with no cooking knowledge whatsoever other than how to boil water (by the way, if you want my recipe for Spicy Asian Fusion Garlic Spam-ghetti, just let me know.)

Choppin' Broccoli
I've always liked broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, but it was only recently that I started consuming it in bulk. While it's fairly cheap if you buy it whole from the produce section, I tend to go for the bags of pre-cut florets, which are a bit more expensive by volume but saves you some time. The cost savings comes from the fact that broccoli is very filling, so if I eat a bunch of it along with some other small stuff (like bread crusts dipped in mayo) it ends up feeling like a meal, tiding me over to the next one quite nicely. I now literally eat broccoli at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and as a late-night snack.

Tea and Water
In addition to doing the above, I also drink copious amounts of water and hot green tea. I mean, I guess it's supposed to be healthy, but I mainly do it for the same reasons that I eat broccoli: it's filling and I like it. For those of you who don't like plain water, seltzer can be a good alternative if you buy the cheap store-brand variety.

Other obvious ideas: don't waste food (you can always make a decent toast out of the loaf-ends) and eat cheap stuff (in my twenties I used to have a cup o' noodle and a PBJ for lunch every day). I'm sure there are many more ways to effectively eat on a budget, but these are just some of the things that have worked for me that I'm sharing with you today. Employing them has, in part, allowed me to not only invest in my various artistic endeavors but also to enjoy a nice pizza every once in a while.


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