groceries 2




The only thing I had to buy extra last week was this 75 cent tomato.





Here is a photo of lunch leftovers, potato and black bean enchiladas with a salad.





This Saturday's haul.







What I spent - $20.95.  This week we will be having split pea soup.  A batch of white bistro chili. Sauted mushrooms with spaghetti.  I've been craving crunchy vegetables like radishes, cucumbers and celery for lunchtime veggie wraps.  As usual oatmeal and smoothies for breakfasts. Basic, that is for sure but again healthy, filling and we like eating like this.  My menus are not fancy so I won't bore you to death posting this every week...you get the picture right? Make a big batch of something and have it for 2 or 3 nights or mix it up with lunches.  We are fine having soup and a sandwich for dinner too.  I'm really glad I decided to share this with you because it is really making me think about what I purchase instead of just walking through the market filling my cart without a thought. So I must thank you and the blog itself for keeping me accountable.  x

81 comments

  1. Look very healthy but tasty too.

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  2. This makes me want to rethink how we spend on our groceries. We spend way too much and we need to make some changes. Your lunch salad looks good with a freshly cut tomato! Yum! Thanks for sharing ox

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  3. Dear Janet, I love these posts as they are helping me learn to cook more vegan recipes. You have an amazing talent for staying healthy on the cheap and it is definitely not boring to me. I'm on board for ideas for a more healthy and budget conscious lifestyle, so please keep them coming ;)

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  4. Your groceries and recipes are not boring at all, Janet! I look forward to them, as you keep me motivated and in check with living a more simple lifestyle! :-)

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  5. I find myself checking in every morning to see if you have blogged. I totally enjoy your no nonsense approach to spending and food buying...keep it up I look forward to it.

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  6. I've not seen any soft drinks or tea so I was curious to ask, do you only drink water?

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    1. i never buys soft drinks. larry drinks coffee and i drink tea. right now in my pantry i have a full box of english breakfast tea, another full box of hawaiinan natural teas from my friend M, a full box of chai spice tea (another gift), a full box of peppermint tea, green tea and chamomile. i don't need to buy tea for a long while.:)
      we drink water all day long. i love to put a slice of lemon or orange in mine. sometimes fresh mint...whatever i've got laying around.

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    2. Is your municipal water tasty, or do you have a filter. I'm trying to wean myself from bottled water. Our city water tastes awful due to it being hard (a lot of mineral deposits) well water.

      There were some amazing chai spice tea recipes on the web yesterday, using chai spice mix (you can mix it yourself...one of the spices in chai is cardamom I think). Chai tea loaves (a tea bread, actually using a chai tea bag), a chai fruit cobbler, chai-choco pots de creme; YUM; I copied them all down. I used to like milk in my chai tea; probably soy or almond milk is just as soothing.

      Tea in general has such a long shelf life, so many varieties, doesn't take up a lot of room, drink it hot or cold, decaf or herb, strong or diluted; I think tea is a terrific pantry investment. I drink unsweetened tea all day long, cold. Actually, it's like, here, have some tea for your water, because it's mostly tea-flavored water. It's the only way I know to get myself to actually drink water because I am NOT a water-drinker and staying hydrated is so important. Tea or coffee all day on their own have a reverse effect of DEhydrating. (What am I, wikipedia or something? Sorry, got off on a tangent...)

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  7. I am fascinated by your post after just spending over $150 this morning on groceries for for my family of four. Thank you for making me more aware of the Dollar Store. Hope to visit one soon.

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  8. Janet, I'd go vegan tomorrow if you could cook for me!

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  9. Do you think the Enchiladas would turn out ok if not dipping them in the oil first!?

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    1. yes they are good prepped that way. i make them like that all the time. a little trick i use is when the tortillas are stuffed i will lightly brush the tops with oil so they brown nicely.

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    2. Good idea! I'm going to try to soften them up using a tortilla warmer in the micro to make them more pliable to roll. Thx for the recipe.

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  10. Janet,
    My sister sent me a text today. She said, "I LOVE Janet's blog. This is not the first time this has happened mind you.
    I keep telling her, I wish I were more like you and how, how does Janet do it. I am almost thinking of quitting my blog because I feel inferior. Ha ha. I guess I need to learn from you, to laugh, to live simply, to be more accountable and well to just laugh at myself.
    I think that tomato loves you too.
    pve

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    1. so sweet patricia. tell your sis hi from me and i'll trade lives with you anytime....:)

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  11. omg. are those potato chips. this means you must be human.
    pve

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    Replies
    1. Ha! I noticed that, too! They look out of place with the rest of the haul!

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    2. i do love my potato chips. plus it's playoff time...can't be without them!

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  12. I need to take inspiration from you - was supposed to be going grocery shopping with Mr TNMA this evening & we ended up in a local wine bar, eating chips/fries.

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  13. An artichoke for a dollar. Paradise! I am not too silly to actually take a look at the bill. But why do you buy toilet paper for 1 dollar? We buy 10 rolls for less than 3 dollars. 1 dollar is pricey, there has to be cheaper soft toilet paper available in the Redlands.

    Happy crunching!

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    Replies
    1. My experience:
      Scott - 1 roll lasts 1 week
      other - 1 roll lasts 1 day
      10 rolls other = 10 days@$3
      2 rolls Scott = 14 days@$2

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  14. Dear Janet, You are demonstrating how inexpensive it can be to eat healthfully. The deep red of that tomato makes me want to take a huge bite out of it just as it is!

    You've convinced me to visit my local 99cent store, since I easily spend at least $100 each week at Trader Joe's. Food is our second highest expense - our mortgage being the most.

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  15. Oh I want to live where things are only a $1! That same bunch of celery would be $3 or $4 here sadly. Having sad that, this is an inspiring post for me. Barry and I spent $20,000 on food last year! Isn't that madness? And we eat healthy. So we have committed to planning much more carefully and for a family of four, get that down to less than $300 a week, which is still a lot. We are really committed and mostly what it will take is careful meal planning and watching some sales!!!

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    1. Wow! That food total of $20,000 absolutely blew me away! Does this include a lot of restaurant meals?

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    2. Yeah, that number is mind-blowing...but mind-blowingly honest. I know people who spend that because they're ultra-busy, use a lot of packaged/boxed helps in the kitchen/frig/freezer, do take-out and/or delivery and, true, with restaurant meals dining in or out. I have a friend who is constantly challenged with just getting home from work on time to get any kind of dinner on the table so she has to take a lot of shortcuts. But shortcuts are expensive. In my local grocery store, the price of an Amy's or other thoughtful frozen dinner is 'way more in cost than a Budget Gourmet or Swanson's. Also, as some of us have discussed in the past, different parts of the USA pay an awful lot of money for, say, fruits and veggies which aren't local to their area and have to travel a long way. I always am aware that FOOD is the biggest budget drainer in our house, which is why Janet's posts on Dollar Store food shopping along with recipe ideas are SO VALUABLE; I'm always looking for sensible tips. Ideally, I want to be home every day and have the time to cook in, eat mindfully and do the slow food as opposed to the fast food but it's a transition and a commitment, and you do have to take the time, find the right and do-able "quick" recipes, change-up the repetoire...but tell that to some of my exhausted working-mom/wife friends.

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  16. I love these glimpses into your home keeping. Bring it on!

    Isabella

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  17. I still couldn't bring myself to buy non-organic or GMO produce... And that keeps the price of a weekly shop high.

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    1. I feel the same way. Monsanto is evil.

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  18. Wow, this is so inspirational. My husband and I have traditionally wasted tons of money on food by eating out and just not paying attention to how much we spend. For the new year we've vowed to eat out only once or twice a month a spend no more than $100 weekly on groceries. I'm now thinking we can probably reduce that grocery budget in the future after seeing this post.

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  19. Thanks Janet for doing the on-the-table-spread. I so appreciate your perspective on simplifying. Funny how we grow accustomed to things like wine and treats everyday. They cease being treats and quietly become expectations! Yours and DaniBP's inspiration reminds me to keep it simple and fresh.

    BTW your gray tshirt, jeans and boots outfit looked super cute the other day--I liked the rolled jeans!!

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    1. I liked the rolled jeans, too!

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  20. You are not boring me whatsoever with the menu plans or recipes. Want more! Want it all! Big help. Are you mostly buying yellow corn tortillas?

    Got a great paperback this week which is a cookbook written for teenagers about how to go vegetarian and/or vegan. Actually, even more geared to the college student trying to eat conscientiously with their little dorm frig in their room. SO HELPFUL to me because I need basic, basic, basic. I cannot STAND complicated recipes or else I just won't make them. Easy recipes, not a whole lot of ingredients; this is what I seek! Thanks for another super-assist on the grocery dilemma.

    You take the most mouth-watering photographs of food, just making the reader CRAVE fresh/healthy...

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    1. corn tortillas and whole wheat are our favorite..

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    2. What is the name of the paperback book

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  21. I guess my brain is really 'going,' but I think I missed your white chili recipe and I'm always looking for a way to sort of hide garbanzos to my eyesight because I tend to shy away from them (I know, huumuss...however you spell that, wrong how I have it...a staple for a lot of people). Again, heavily influenced by Mom growing up, why she hated them I have no idea, but she did...although she was a big advocate for any other kind of bean and we had big pots of pinto beans with cornbread, limas on the stovetop cooking all day with big chunks of ham in with the beans, etc. Yum, I'm missing those meals; good on the family budget and very filling to the tummy, not to mention pretty healthy eating along the way...

    I feel like I'm brand-new to the blog. Two things I've either missed or it flew right out of my memory...that you went to culinary school and also did catering. Janet, you've worn a few hats in your adult career! NO WONDER your recipes are so delish. And beautifully presented on the plate.

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    1. I guess the limas could be healthier with fake bacon (tempeh?) or, I bet if they're seasoned right, just the right combination of spices.

      Do you make your split pea soup with a combination of peas or all dried peas? I've lost a nice recipe I had which used a combo of frozen peas and dried ones. Had some carrot in it, too. Please share your recipe. I have to admit, I love the taste of canned peas, too.

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    2. Vicki, Vicki, Vicki.............................

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    3. I get the hint; sorry. Too many responses again.

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    4. Thanx for the support but I'll try to limit/edit myself to one comment per post from now on. I get a little carried away sometimes...Janet's blog is just so...like somebody else said...on fire! Hot topics!

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    5. Vicki, you are in good company :-)

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  22. You are certainly making me rethink my grocery shopping. Your vegan, fresh healthy foods look wonderful.
    Betty

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  23. I completely agree with the others. Janet, your posts are always inspirational and never boring. I'm especially enjoying these weekly shop/menu posts! Please keep them coming! I'd love to see pics and recipes during the week just to keep myself going. Our grocery bill is out of control for just the two of us and your 2014 goals have me wishing 'I want to be more like Janet, living simply towards our financial goals.' These posts help so much! I can't thank YOU enough!! Sometimes even if I get the idea, I cannot make it happen with the grocery/meal planning/cooking. You rock, Janet!

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  24. Hi Janet, yours is one of the few blogs that I read regularly. I find it fascinating. I love your cottage - interior and exterior, your food, your fashion shoots, your musings. I am very interested to read your grocery receipts. I live in Auckland, New Zealand, and there is no way we could buy a bell pepper for 59c. In the supermarket at the moment (NZ summer) they are NZ$2.90 each, which is about US$2.40!

    Your posts are always so interesting and inspiring (even though you may think they are not!) so I do hope that you will continue with them. All the best from Julie in NZ (I don't have a blog so I think I have to post this as anonymous, though I do not mean to be mysterious!)

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  25. Hi Janet,

    I took a trip to the 99 cent store last week after a stop at Sprouts since it was only a mile away... I didn't need a lot and went mostly to scope it out and see if it would be worth while. I figured I saved around $8 (spent $12) which isn't bad! And now I know what items that I would buy I could shop a lot quicker next time. Some of the produce looked good and some of it did not, maybe your store is a little better. However, I picked up a bag of fingerling potatoes for .99 cents, they would have been $3 anywhere else, I was impressed with the mushroom selection too. (portabella and creminis, not just the white ones)

    Thanks again for posting about this!

    Linda
    xo

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  26. I think I could eat artichokes all week long. baked, sautéed, stuffed

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  27. even though we don't get food that cheap in Aus, I could spend a lot less money on food. my new years resolution is to take my lunch to work every day, and i have achieved it every day this year so far! have already saved money.
    Janey

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  28. What I did last week after your posts, I shopped 'reverse'.

    Especially since going vegan I would find a new recipe I wanted to try and go out and buy the ingredients, sometimes a lot of things I would normally not buy. Then I would often end up not making the dish after all.

    Last week I went to the supermarket and bought only veggies they had on special offer - which included 2 large bags of shredded kale - 600 g in total - for a whopping 99 cent. I then went searching for recipes that included kale - so far I already made 4 different things using up only of the bags (the other one went straight to the freezer) and some other things I already had in the house - a pasta dish, a soup, a smoothie and a salad.

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  29. The enchilada and salad look really good. I enjoy your tips! But on another note, only two rolls of toilet paper...really?? That would last no time at my house.

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  30. I love your blog and am intrigued by the 2 rolls of toilet paper because that is something I buy in bulk. I must have developed a fear of running out of TP somewhere a long the way because I kind of hoard it and feel bad if we are anywhere near running out and 2 rolls would make me feel like we are running out! :). Isn't it funny how we overbuy certain things and other things underbuy? Would love to see a post about what you keep on hand and what you feel ok about letting yourself run out of. Maybe you already did it when you talked about your pantry. I will look at your prior posts. I am such a fan of your work on this blog. You are a true inspiration. I love seeing how you live a beautiful life without chaos or tons of stuff. Thank you for writing!

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  31. Janet,
    I love these posts - please continue. Your home, your personal style, and your buying habits are a true inspiration to me!
    I too am vegan, as well as my family. I wish we had a decent 99 cent store near us. One has closed, and the others do not carry healthy food items - just junk.
    I shop at Sprouts , TJ's, and Costco mainly. I like that I can get 6 heads of romaine for 2.99 at Costco, as well as baby portabella's, and banana's at 43 cents a pound.

    I think I spend around 150.00 a week for a family of four so I don't think that's too bad. We eat a lot of potatoes and brown rice, fresh veggies and fruit, grains such as oats, quinoa, bulgur wheat, and whole wheat pasta.

    Caroline

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  32. Along with the other wonderful comments -- let me BEG you to continue these postings -- SO very very important for me (and many other folks) to learn about basic good planning and ideas for food buying, inventory, storage and menus!! Many thanks for your hard work (and very good photos too!) Yes -- I would LOVE to hear ideas for storing veggies (I usually keep mine displayed in large antique wood bowls so I don't forget about them)! I's also LOVE to hear more about your party and catering menus and ideas .... any ideas for for items to take along to a Super Bowl Party?

    Cheers!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

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  33. I agree with everyone...don't stop posting this information....as a matter of fact I for one would love to see a 7-day menu plan of what you eat and how you prepare it. I have been trying to eat more wholesome, natural and fresh foods...and more vegetables and fruits, but somehow I find myself still craving some meats. This leads me to think perhaps I am not eating enough of the right things!

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  34. Looks good: What is the receipe? Thanks

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    1. There is no link for the potatoe enchilada receipe:)

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    2. oh i'm sorry i was confused. here is the recipe i use. i just substituted black beans for the mushrooms.

      http://thegardenerscottage.blogspot.com/2011/05/potato-mushroom-spinach-enchiladas-and.html

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  35. I love your recipes but you seem to eat very lightly compared to me.....I am petite, slim, exercise daily but I need more food on my plate than you, apparently....Do you snack? And, how about your husband? Does he eat lunch out or do you pack lunches for work days?

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    1. i do snack and somewhere on this blog is a link to that. i'll try to find it. We snack on nuts, mostly almonds and fruit. obv chips too. :) my husband eats exactly what i prepare for our meals....but when we go out to eat he does order a cheeseburger 99% of the time. He works from home so we don't have to pack his lunch.

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    2. Well, you look GREAT so you must be doing it right!....enjoying your posts!

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  36. I went to my local Dollar Store and sadly there wasn't any produce. Just processed and frozen. Of course there was candy and chips.... Luckily there is a local Aldis and while it's not a dollar it's much less expensive than the Big Chain stores.
    I love reading all your healthy and frugal suggestions but I do have a question for you.
    What about chocolate? I really don't think I could survive (mentally) without it. It's a source of comfort to me. I crave it when I'm stressed and lately that's all the time. What do you suggest replacing it with. (I know someone is going to tell me to go for a walk but the sidewalks are covered in ice and the snow is blowing hard right now.)
    Any suggestions are welcomed but quick! I'm about to go get some Oreo's!

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    1. my favorite is dark chocolate covered almonds! they do the trick for me. was that fast enough?!

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    2. LOL! Yes, Thank you. (I hadn't put my shoe boots on yet!)
      I will pick those up instead.
      xoxo

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  37. Yummy! Please keep posting. You are an inspiration.

    Shirley
    Atlanta

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  38. I hope you can tell from all the comments you're not boring us with these posts. I love seeing what you eat and getting inspiration for frugal shopping. Please keep them coming. I wonder if the 99cent store saw an uptick after your post. I know I went and spent a little money. They had organic black beans a little cheaper than TJs. I need to go early though. The place was crowded when we went and I don't like being elbow to elbow with all those people in the produce section.

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  39. Fascinating! This would costs about $95 in Australia. So interesting that food is just so cheap there.

    The 1st thing anyone comments on when they return from overseas is just how cheap stuff is and how we pay hand over fist here for everything!

    Hope you are well J xxx

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  40. Another thing, Mr Money Mustache posted his annual spending recap the other day. For kicks I added up what we spent in the categories he had and I was appalled. We spent more on eating out than we did on groceries this past year, and that's just what we put on the debit or credit card, not what we might have paid cash for. Something about seeing the yearly totals was more eye opening/alarming than just seeing a month at a time. I knew it was a lot, but didn't realize how much it added up month after month. So, your posts about what you buy and eat are very motivational! And I know the biggest bucket that we have is the "blow" category (Dave Ramsey term). I'm motivated to get spending down considerably this year.

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    1. On the other hand: isn't that what life - or lets say part of our lives is about: going out, having fun, enjoying a nice lunch or dinner in a restaurant, no?
      As long as there is no heavy debt weighing in, spending money on eating out is not bad per se.

      I do not understand the concept of early retirement + living frugal ever after. What is wrong with the concept of working, earning money and treating yourself nicely with those things only money can buy?
      We should enjoy what we can afford.
      Why do people in the US wish to bring themselves in a position where they can afford less (early retirement) when they could easily earn money?

      Sometimes it reads as a sportive competition - how low can you go.
      This said from a woman who loves nothing more but keeping the heating down at home, night after night. :-)

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    2. you know Paula, I have to agree with you about enjoying life. Just recently I thought, OK, I save all this money during my healthy years and then spend it all on old age illnesses. I love coming here to Janet's blog for inspiration on saving money and being healthy...but what I save from being frugal, I will gladly blow it all on my pets or art supplies!

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  41. Hi Janet! Here's a question... Do you ever shop at Costco? Maybe we need another "Dear Janet" with all these questions! Lol. Thanks!

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    1. hi jennifer. i don't have a costco membership. and i'm ok with that.:)

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  42. paula my goal here is to live as frugally and as beautifully as i can. this is not a burden to me. for me this is fun, challenging and rewarding. i do believe both can be achieved. often we thing of being frugal as having a "less than" mentality but i look at it as having an abundance of whatever it is you want in your life. for me it's simplicity, beauty, peace of mind. does this make sense?

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    1. Absolutely! I "know" how much you enjoy camping with your husband and you know how much I envy you for being able to enjoy those days in a tent. (I am the princess on the pea).
      Your lifestyle makes absolutely sense to me. And you have your reasons why you decide to save money.
      Also the vegan lifestyle to me is not a "less than", even though many people around me see it this way.

      I was more referring to US citizens who want to retire early. They don't make sense to me. I browsed several forums, websites etc. and those concepts lack the reality check in my opinion. 2 or 3 sick years with high costs for your health and your whole plan collapses. Maybe the US system is so different from our system (retirement, health insurance) that those concepts only make sense for people living in the US.

      I love challenges and hope for some challenges right here. Project 333, vegan, ... what else do you have in your pocket?

      PS: tonight I dined in a restaurant and it was NOT fun. Too expensive, not enough food on my plate. And this was meant to be a nice treat after a long day at work. >;-)

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  43. Totally not bored reading this type of post! I am in awe, and envious, that you have so much fresh produce available for so little money. I'm in the middle of the US, and for two of us, I spend more in a week, than you spend in a month! And fresh here looks nothing like yours, mostly wilted, and half rotted in my little town. :(

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  44. Janet, I would love a post with your menu's and meal plans. I love to see what other people serve and it gives me new ideas for my own menus! Plus, all your food looks delicious!

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  45. Janet- I have been reading you for over 2 years now and just want to say thank you for sharing your tips and life experiences with us/me. As a woman approaching my 45th birthday you make me proud of my age and look forward to the adventures I hope to continue to have. Thanks again!

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kindness is never out of style.

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