Learning to Grocery Shop On A Budget (Or How To Grocery Shop As A Man)

Grocery Cart clipart courtesy of classroomclipart.com

Grocery Cart clipart courtesy of classroomclipart.com

By Chongchen Saelee

I have no shame in the learning process. As I’ve said before, just by mere observation, men don’t know how to grocery shop. As for myself, having relied most of my entire life on my mother’s grocery shopping decisions, I hadn’t released how difficult it is to balance a good diet and budget. My target is to spend around $50 and eat for at least a week or two. Anyway, here’s yet another one of my receipts from today’s grocery shopping experience at Walmart:

Tampico Mango Punch                1.50
Tampico Island Punch               1.50
Nabisco Premium Saltines           2.48
Great Value 2% Milk                3.09
Honey Buns 9 pk                    3.50
Apple Cider gallon                 4.68
Tang Orange Mix                    2.50
Yoplait Straw/Ban 1 liter          2.78
Rib Eye Steak Thin Cut            14.08
Ice Mountain 24pk Water            3.98
Eggs Large 12 pc                   2.67
Generic Flavor Water Cherry        0.68
Great Value Black Beans            0.72
Great Value Black Beans            0.72
Pepperoni Cheese Bread Loaf        2.98
Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme        3.50
Spring Mix Salad                   5.98
Amish Potato Salad                 2.98

SubTotal                          60.32
Tax                                0.18
Total                            $60.50

Alright, the play-by-play. Today, I bought mostly fluids. It’s vital. Of course, in pure survival mode, you’d only get drinking water. So that Ice Mountain is REQUIRED on grocery shopping trips. But because I can only shop however many weeks (my budget is literally not sustainable, but it’s better than zero) I have to stock up on some good stuff. You find yourself craving a little sweet nectar when you’re scratching your butt and staring out the window every now and then. But I also bought milk this time. I’ve never bought milk before on these basic grocery trips. Well, actually, Mom doesn’t buy milk on a regular basis either. It’s just not part of the “Asian diet”.

I realized that I personally had to get milk so I had a source of calcium. Just by observation, when your teeth look translucent or your joints hurt, that’s a good damn sign you need to increase your calcium intake. OR, you’re eating too much junk food and your body isn’t absorbing enough calcium. I know it’s not the junk food because I don’t eat too much junk anymore. Mostly has to do with not being able to afford junk food, so I need to focus only on the vitals. Anyway, I’ve been noticing that on those grocery runs when I get yogurt or milk, my teeth looks way stronger and whiter. So that’s going to be a focus in my next trips.

The juices are fortified with Vitamin C (and sugar, duh) so that adds to the nutritional value. I would have gotten the “good” orange juice, but damn, that shit expensive. So I’ve settled for cheap vitamin C sources: Tampico and Tang. We’ll see, though. Too much vitamin C prevents calcium intake, but at the same time, it can help. Mind boggling. Just require it in your diet. I would normally get my vitamin C from fruits, but no fruit this round.

I got 2 cans of generic black beans, never eaten those before, but I read they are a good source of protein. The main reason is that these can sit on the shelf for a while in case there’s already a meal on the counter. I know that’s taking Mom’s cooking for granted, but that’s part of my strategy. I also got that box of Nabisco Saltines for those emergency occasions when I can’t afford to go grocery shopping and have to work (I currently freelance out of my room) so that I have something to munch on at the least.

Another big addition to my grocery shopping strategy was the purchase of eggs. That’s some big shit I took for granted. My mom buys eggs exclusively only for my dad and I tend not to touch them because he works those long hours and deserves them the most. But at the same time, I need protein myself, so I think it’s probably a good idea to buy my own eggs now. I don’t eat eggs on a regular basis, but I think it just somehow makes a lot of sense. It’s so easy to cook and you get your protein. You don’t have to think too hard.

But to counter eating boring ass eggs, I splurged a bit and got some ribeye steak. It was a costly nearly $15 and most likely won’t get it on my next grocery run, but it has to be done. The beef is a good source of protein, but it also gives me appreciation for how hard I have to work just to get the damn thing. And then the rest of the week, at least I’ve got eggs. Feel me?

And of course, you can’t just have meats without greens. So instead of spending too long in the produce aisle picking and choosing variety of veggies and fruits, I’ve come to settle on prepackaged, pre-washed salad mixes. Costs a lot, nearly $6, but it does last a good week or week and half. Trust me. Every meal, grab a big handful. It will still last a good week. That’s good value. If you’re a grown ass man and don’t think you need leafy greens in your diet, you’ll be wishing for some spinach or lettuce when that constipation kicks in. The more leafy greens you eat, the more smoother your shitting experience goes. Also, it helps flush some fats out of your system before you absorb it. So it’s kinda like dietary requirement if you want to maintain your weight. Remember, the fatter you get, the more sluggish you get, the less productive you are and can’t work. Can’t work? Can’t support yourself. Common sense right?

As for everything else, it’s junk food. But notice a big difference. I didn’t get shit ton of candy. Just two simple snack cakes. That’s it. Proud of myself. Nothing is worse than feeling sluggish when your have to draw 8 to 12 hours a day at your desk, let alone from your bedroom, which makes it incredibly easy to slack off. This is where your can prove your maturity and discipline. But you have to make sure you’re physiologically fit first and that comes from diet. Everything else falls into place.

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