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Forks, Portland, Lyon - France, Paris - France, Portland and ending up in Bellingham.... the adventures of my life!

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Monday, September 6, 2010

French Food: Budget, Benefit and Eat Well

Eating is expensive, even in a country where the produce/organic products are 50% less expensive than in United States.  I have some little things I do in order to keep my costs below €75 a week for two people, aka around €35 euro a week for myself.  This is about €300 a month or $380.

It may still seem expensive if you are budgeting (like us students) but according to the 2009 USDA cost of food analysis, the "thrifty plan" for budgeting for a family of two in our age group is $360.00. Meaning we fall into the thrifty plan.  They state that the food plan they refer to is available on their website.  What I find strange is in their food plan though is the misbalance between the products.  There's a high level of dairy and grain products to be purchased, and a lower level of fruits/vegetables.

I find this to be opposite here, we eat a ton of vegetables and fruits, less meats and of course our daily baguette.

The way that I keep my budget so low is by these simple steps:
  1. Plan the meals a week in advance, figure out the recipes I'll use, the products I'll need.
  2. Purchase the food in one go, sticking to the list of things that we need.  I purchase lean pork instead of veal, in season vegetables instead of out of season, frozen if it ends up being cheaper.  It's like a "day of shopping" and I keep track of all my receipts, ensuring I am below my maximum.
  3. Prepare the necessities in cooking, which means I chop and cut and wash all my fresh produce after I buy it, place it in different containers (kinda like prep in a restaurant) and stick to my recipes.
  4. I don't buy junk food.
Therefore I keep myself low on the budget, and by doing the same you don't have to live off of pasta and rice.  A tomato onion salad is by far just as cheap as a plate of pasta, and way healthier.

Plus, the way we eat has made us lose kilos, not gain.. so.. consider it.


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