The Real Cost of NYC: Groceries

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As a twenty-one year old living in New York, I always get asked how I manage to pack my lunch and cook dinners most nights out of the week. After all, most of my friends and co-workers are so busy they barely have time to hit the grocery store. For me, groceries and knowing what’s in my food is a necessity. I don’t like the idea of eating out every day or abusing Seamless as it’s the easiest way to watch all my money disappear. Additionally, I’m never quite satisfied as well and I feel a little post-food coma guilt, knowing that it was just my ravenous nature and the need to funnel food into my belly asap that caused me to reach for my Seamless app. But no more! I’m trying to cook 80% of all meals in addition to juicing at home.

My tenacity that is borderline OCD came from my mother. I grew up in New Jersey and my mom stayed at home to raise her three kids. She cooked us meals every night and we sat around the dinner table. Going out to dinner was a treat – we’d go out to eat maybe 2-3 times a month, if not at all. When I was little, I hated the fact that I would bring cold dumplings or noodles for lunch (just like Eddie Huang from Fresh Off The Boat). I hated that my mother seemed cheap to me because she lectured me about budgeting every time I would ask for money to buy a bagel-egg-cheese from our local deli.

Now that I’m grown up and financially on my own (eep!!!), those very things she lectured me on that annoyed me at a young age have stuck by me. I hate ordering $12 cocktails at nice dinners and when I do enjoy dinner out with A, I tend to overanalyze whatever I order and try to recreate it in my head much to his humor and sometimes, dismay.

I still enjoy that Indian or Chinese take-out every once in a while and there’s nothing I love more than a romantic dinner at Gemma with A. However, I love to cook and pack lunch to be smart money wise and heath wise.

I live in Williamsburg and though I love a good Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s trip, the L train has been fucked and that has rendered us useless on weekends. We’ve experimented with shopping at local grocery stores but it just was so expensive that we’d rather Fresh Direct, know exactly what we’re getting and have it conveniently delivered to our apartment. At least for the time being until the L train decides to not be a fuckboy again.

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Because I’m a severe control freak as stated previously, I love to plan out our meals. I tend to plan out 3-4 recipes to cook and pick the recipes that serve at least 4-6 so we always have leftovers for lunch the next day. Here is a preview of next week’s grocery haul:

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This haul will last both of us breakfast, lunch + dinner at least 5 days, so if you do the math, it’ll probably be around $11-12 bucks a person a day, which is literally a loaded Chipotle bowl. When we’re running low on ingredients, we’ll pick up a few things from our local grocery store but it never will go over $30-50 bucks extra a week. This week’s haul is also cheaper because I bought a monstrous amount of chicken last week so we have a week’s worth of meat already in the freezer. It also helps our finances immensely that I’m not a huge drinker (and if I do, one drink is more than enough to make me happy) and A will have a beer or a glass of wine or two a few nights a week at most.

MENU NEXT WEEK (all pictures courtesy of their respective websites):

Cantonese Poached Chicken with Ginger Scallion Oil (via The Wok of Life)

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Sprouted Kitchen’s Grilled Chicken with Tzatziki and Tomato Mint Salad (via Not Without Salt)

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Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches (via Big Girls Small Kitchen)

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Dessert (though I’m not a huge baker at heart, I have had a craving for chocolate so this looked like an amazing option to replicate)

Espresso Chocolate Coffee Cake (via Pastry Affair)

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Happy Friday!

xo Angel

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