FOOD. You CANNOT continue to eat crap like you did in college. I hope I don’t have to repeat myself. From ramen to those crazy amazing wings on campus, junk food will not cut it for you anymore. Your body will not forgive you for it either. Okay Okay, I know those wings were bomb, so you can keep those. But seriously, in a major city, there’s so many food options, you might just give yourself some serious heart burn. Often. Oh and the food festivals! Drool meet Floor.
So what’s the deal? Cost of living is high. Demand for food is high. Demand for food in a place like NYC? Even higher. So what do I do? Grocery shopping it is. Remember, it’s okay to eat out but starting fresh out of school, you need to consider cutting back on costs where you can. This can also be heavily impacted by friends and coworkers wanting to catch a bite with you every now and then. Speaking of friends. They won’t be around as often as they were in college. But that’s a different story for a different post.
Here’s Della with more math. Lunch in a major city (anywhere in the US) can cost about $10 a day. Eating out with friends in a major city can cost about $30 to $50 a meal (including drinks). Let’s say you do that twice a week. Two times eating out + five times eating out for lunch is about $110 to $150 a week. That is anywhere from $450 to $600 a month! That is before breakfast and dinner for the other days of the week. No, a pop tart for breakfast and ramen for the rest of the week will not suffice. (Clearly I’m not a ramen fan right?) Even if you do go down that path, I promise it won’t last.
Before I continue on, I want to talk about the elephant in the room…
For those who are of age reading this. I feel like I don’t need to touch on this but probably should. Drinking is expensive. That’s just a fact. Anywhere you go, you will be upcharged. If you feel the need to drink, pre-gaming is something that never gets old. It’ll cost you the same to purchase your own bottle at the store as a sip or two at that new lounge your squad wanted to check out. If you decide to go out and drink instead, your night might turn into this:
Bartender: “Here goes your receipt”
You: **views receipt while hitting a quick dab to the beat** “Hmm something doesn’t seem quite…. ehh whatever” **leaves 18% tip**
[Turns out…tip was already included] #suckstosuck
Funny story actual, I had an experience where the bill was hefty that I just didn’t bother to leave a tip. Let. Me. Tell. You. That bartender cursed me out so hard. AND he kept going for about 10 minutes that I had to run away from the bar.
Morale of the story? Don’t be that guy… or girl.
Back to the plan. Grocery shopping is easy enough right? Don’t overlook this! Have you ever gone to the grocery store? Okay Okay, I mean have you gone grocery shopping by yourself? Oh you have? Did you make the list? And I’m not talking about the list on random items you need for your dorm room (aka snacks and ramen). I’m talking about a grocery list that has all the fruits, veggies, meats, grains, condiments you need for a week or two. The real adulting test.
If you don’t typically go grocery shopping for yourself (which probably was the case for most of you throughout adolescence), then this is a new ball game. You need to make sure you have your list ready and know how to pick out fresh vegetables and fruits. Can’t just pick up anything, you will be very disappointed. You can easily pick up a fruit that is not anywhere near ripe or a vegetable that is spoiled and you weren’t aware until you cut it open. I’ve been there first hand. I yelled at the fruit every time. “How DARE you not be perfect.” **side eye**
If picking out fresh produce is enough to turn you off completely, then there’s some other options available for you! It’s actually a brilliant phenomenon really. I wish I thought of this before it became a thing. It’s such a cool concept, I don’t even want to share. But I made an oath to myself to keep it real and share the deets. So what is it?? Delivery!!! Sorry I had to hype it up just because. Check out sites such as Fresh Direct, Peapod, Google Express, and Amazon (a given, since they run the world AND they just acquired Whole Foods, so this may just be the future of grocery shopping).
In addition to this, there are other sites that focus on meal delivery (this being that they set different meals and portions for every day of the week). This is for those who just want to skip all of the effort all together. But this route can be pricey. Either way, check out HelloFresh and Blue Apron. I haven’t personally used this service (I’m a little cheap, if you haven’t noticed) but my roommate has and it doesn’t seem like its let her down quite yet.
For some of you, it might be good to consider cooking classes. Obviously try to find free classes (they exist). Maybe consider sites like Groupon or Living Social for deals. You don’t have a chef around anymore (aka the undervalued chefs in cafeterias in colleges and your mom). Unless you have a significant other who would love to make meals for you. Again, relationships are another blog to come.
So before we move on, let me make a quick comment about meal prepping. I usually take time out of my Sunday to prep for the entire work week so I don’t have to cook every single day. For some this works, for others it may be better to cook daily or every few days. Just have to test these methods out. Or you can be like my boyfriend who thinks meal prepping just means cooking a batch and eating “nasty leftovers” all week.
My response to him? “You’re bougie – do you boo boo”. Or, is it boujee? *Cue Migos*
Quick side note, consider couponing. Definitely a helpful way to cut back on grocery costs. So you can blow a little more money eating out. RESEARCH, so you can eat smart and spend smarter.
I followed my heart and it led me into the fridge.
Next up, let’s talk about keeping the lights on and the fridge running.