January 10, 2012

Budget Antipasto

I got an email this morning from a girl in California asking about one of my favorite subjects: Food. There are not many thing I miss about sticks and bricks living, but I do miss being able whip up a creamy white pasta sauce and crack open a bottle of wine when the mood strikes. Maybe if I lived in an RV and not a car I would have more culinary options, but that’s not in the cards; so what’s a girl to do?

I’ll tell you, food is my biggest expense. I can’t buy in bulk and there can’t be any leftovers. I’ve talked about this a bit in past blogs but here’s what I’m eating for dinner as we speak.

  • French Bread for $1.99 – It’s cheap and grocery stores tend to make it often so it’s always fresh
  • Green Olives Stuffed with Provolone for $1.75 – Available on most salad or Mediterranean bars. The one at my grocery costs $7.50 a pound, but I just get about seven olives and a good amount of oil to dip my bread in.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon for $1.50 – Most liquor stores sell tiny individual wine bottles (a glass each) for about $1.50. Every once in a while I like to make a nice little picnic and some wine always helps.
The total for this meal was about $5.25, not bad for a nice dinner. Check out your local grocery for deals and also look at smaller grocery stores that might have better olive and salad bars. There are a tom of options out there, but remember these rules:

  • Give yourself a price limit per meal. This will keep you from overbuying
  • Remember that you can’t save most things for later so get only enough for one meal and nothing that needs refrigerating
  • DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT fall into the fast food trap. It’s easy, I get that, but you’ll feel gross when you could get something better for about the same price.
  • Accept the fact that food is an expense. You’ve cut out rent so stop complaining about the per week cost.

For more on food see the food section of this blog (look under Get Specific! up and to the left)

Good luck folks!


  1. That sounds tasty! I've been reading your blog for the past few months and enjoy seeing how you've been successful at car living. Last fall my husband and I drove from Atlantic Canada to California and slept in our Honda Fit - in State Forests, paid campgrounds, and Wal-Mart parking lots. I liked the challenge of figuring out efficient systems for sleeping, storage, and eating. On the trip I also realized how many people do live in their cars; on my early morning walks around different towns I'd notice lone cars in parking lots, with curtains, with pets, with sun visors. It was eye-opening.

  2. I love salad bars and try to visit them a couple of times per week. I like to use them for pizza vegetables and meats... I can pad a take-n-bake pizza with five or six extra toppings for a couple of dollars. The olive bars are so yummy. I didn't even think of using the oil, too!

    Some might say that "pay by the pound" salad bars are expensive but if you need a lot of ingredients for something, it's actually cheaper.

    I like what you said about not having leftovers. I'm trying to do that, too.

    Have a good one! I really enjoy reading your work.

  3. Protip. Never mix pasto with antipasto. You'll rip a huge hole in the space time continuum. I'm just saying.


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