Saturday, July 2, 2011

I Can Only Spend What??

As many of you know, I have once again become a college student.  Third time's the charm!  I'm in classes full-time for the next two years, and my current term began in May.  I'm in one online psychology class, which is just plain weird.  But I'm also taking a sociology class in an honest-to-goodness classroom.  I love this class!  Most of the other students don't, but that's their problem.  How is this relevant, you may ask?  Well, I'll tell you how it's relevant.  Our last assignment is one for which we have to create a budget.  Sounds easy, right?  Not exactly.  We're allotted a monthly income of $674, with $17 in food stamps. 

With our $674, we have to pay rent and utilities, plus buy a bus pass and $9 worth of medication each month.  (I wish my medication bill were so low!)  We also have to do laundry, buy toilet paper, and eat 90 balanced meals.  We also must buy one "other" item.  I'm taking Orson with me to my crappy imaginary apartment, so my "other" item is dog food.  One guy in the class asked if he could buy weed with his.  I suppose we all have our priorities.  I haven't finished my budget to find out how much I'm allowed to spend on food, but I know it can't be much.  The instructor stipulated that we have to eat balanced meals to ensure that most of the 19-year old guys in my class (including the pot-smoker mentioned above) don't just live on ramen.  I think I may have a slight advantage.

Yesterday LA and I scoped out the local Dollar Tree.  I love me some Dollar Tree.  I know what will become my primary grocery source on my imaginary budget.  I found eggs, flour, country ham, frozen vegetables, crackers, baguettes, and popsicles, all for $1 each!  Yesterday I bought mustard, pickles, tater tots, and John Wayne toilet paper.  I'm sure you are all familiar with John Wayne toilet paper.  It's rough, it's tough, and it doesn't take shit off anyone!  But it's four rolls for $1, so it went in the basket. 

After the Dollar Tree, we headed over to the farmer's market.  I promised to make LA fried green tomatoes for the 4th.  I picked up two green tomatoes, a head of romaine lettuce, and an onion for $3.14.  I would've liked to also pick up the number of the guy who rang it all up, but that wasn't happening.  The farmer's market will be involved in the produce aspect of my fake menu/budget.

So far, my menu is sounding pretty tasty.  Roast chicken with mashed sweet potatoes and peas.  Roasted garlic and potato soup with chicken salad on a baguette.  Lentil salad with tomatoes and hard-boiled egg.  Country ham, potato, and green pea Spanish tortilla with a Caesar salad.  Who knew that being on a budget could taste so good? 

Once I figure out the actual budget, a few things may change, but I have a feeling I'll still be eating better than most of the class.  Maybe I should tell the instructor that I have a slight advantage and not to judge me too harshly for my menu.  I can just imagine him asking how I managed to eat so well on so little money.  I may have to incorporate this menu into my current budget!  It sounds better than how I'm eating now.

Once I finish the entire menu and budget, I plan on posting it for all to see.  Wish me luck and keep your fingers crossed that I get an A!