5.07.2013

Our pledge, part ii.

For the month of May, Sean and I have pledged to buy, shop and eat locally. You can read about why: here.

On the first of May, I said that I would give weekly updates and progress reports about how this trial run is going. And let me tell you -- it's harder than we originally thought, but over all it was a positive experience and people were so nice to us! From the girl at a small general store who gave me free tissue paper (easily $5 worth!) because she didn't actually sell it but had it in her possession and knew I needed it, to the butcher who came out and talked to us patiently about the meals we were making and what type of "cuts" we needed, to the man at the veggie stand who gave us a "friend" discount, to the full meal we were given for free because we knew someone. It was amazing.

There's something really satisfying about shopping at local farms and small markets. Not to say that I felt all holy, but I felt good about myself. It's not that convenient. This first week, we've found that the food we've purchased is absolutely delicious and totally affordable (read on to see the graph) but most local places are on a different time schedule than chain stores. For instance, they close at 6PM rather than the "regular" closing time of 9PM, or they close for lunch (what?) and  reopen whenever they feel like it. We've noticed some places close on random days during the week (like Wednesdays) and some places only open if they see people outside waiting. If not, they close their doors and they're done for the day. But as someone who works, and isn't able to get to the stores til after 5, sometimes 5:30 -- that doesn't really leave me much time to browse and shop. 

As a couple who often goes out for "fast" food, meaning any food you order and then sit down (opposed to a restaurant where you sit down and THEN order), going to local places is expensive. It's less convenient because there are less options but the food is generally better tasting, the service is more personalized, and the atmosphere is nicer. We actually only went out one time this past week for lunch together, and I went once on my own. But I think it's safe to say that chain buying for this type of food is definitely more affordable. I mean, that's probably why McDonald's is so popular.

And lastly, miscellaneous things (like cleaning supplies, paper goods, cat food, etc.) are definitely pricier at local stores. Our cat food is double the price, and so is our dishwasher soap and toilet paper is triple the price.

But here's the breakdown of categories. I've compared our spending in the first week in May, to what we spent during the first week in April.  
During the first week in April, the money we spent on groceries only bought us 4 meals. This week, we've purchased food for 7 meals. So -- that's pretty impressive. In all the other categories, we spent more than we did in April -- which is kind of what I expected.

The most obscure "find" was a card I needed for a bridal shower I went to on Saturday -- which I found in the same store that gave me all the tissue paper. I found the last card that was remotely related to love and marriage and scooped it up. The most expensive "find" was Zantac at $1 a pill (really crazy) and I was honestly surprised with the cost of a jug of water ($1.59) -- seems silly to me.

But all in all, it was a successful week of buying, shopping and eating locally. We didn't cheat once and I'm super proud of that. I almost had an incident at Dairy Queen but I fought through it and came out on the other side. I'll let you know how this week turns out.

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