Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cheap Cheat: Dollar Sushi

One thing I need to do better if I am to succeed at this project is meal planning. It’s something I've always talked a lot about, but have never actually pulled off for more than a day or two. In fact, I'm not really good at eating regular meals at regular times and it's been a point of contention in my marriage.

It's not that I don't like to eat — anyone who's ever seen me in person can probably imagine the vigor with which I put back pulled pork — but I like to eat what I want when I want it. Sometimes it’s a bowl of Brussels sprouts and a glass of wine at 10 pm, other times it's a really late lunch followed by a few spoonfulls of peanut butter before bed. That doesn't necessarily work in in a marriage, especially when my partner is on a very regular schedule, and doesn’t feel satisfied without a big slab of meat, a side or two of something starchy, and a sweet treat at the end. (I, on the other hand, could go without dessert for the rest of my life without noticing.)

Kyle is great about planning and making those meals for us. And I am great at eating them. Sometimes I even do the dishes. But when it’s my turn to think about dinner, I think about going out. I don’t like feeling rushed when I cook, and I don’t usually have time to think about anything other than work when I’m at work. It’s just easier to go somewhere and have someone bring us food and take away the dishes when we're done. But eating out so frequently is a big part of what’s gotten me into this financial mess, and I know I need to make some serious changes to my eating habits if I ever want to pay off my student loans.

I just haven’t made them yet.

Distracted by birthday celebrations, gardening, Mother’s Day (I have a mother, a step-mother and a mother-in-law to worry about, and for a few hours on Sunday, I honestly thought my biological mother was dead) and a sick kitty, I didn't do any planning or grocery shopping over the weekend. By the time I got home and did a few things around the house after work yesterday, I was ready to eat, but there was nothing ready for me to eat, and really nothing that I could prepare quickly. We hemmed and hawed for a while, and then got into the same argument we always do, except this time I was more difficult than usual, because I wouldn't consider the option of going out for an overpriced dinner. 

I was just about to send Kyle out on his own, and turn to my trusty jar of peanut butter, when I remembered that it was Monday, therefore it was Dollar Sushi Night.

Now, calling this weekly special “Dollar Sushi” is a bit of a stretch, because only the sushi is $1.00 a piece. Rolls are $3.99 each, and the miso soup we always order is regular price. But it was much more affordable than it would have been any other night, even if our $25 bill didn't come close to the realm of extreme frugality. It was, however, exactly what we needed, and because it was nice out, we were able to walk there and back.

Tonight, I will go to the grocery store on my way home from work. I just have no idea what the hell I’m going to buy when I get there. 


  1. Unsolicited advice from someone who lives too far from grocery stores and restaurants to avoid meal planning: Buy a bag of frozen uncooked shrimp, canned and/or dried beans, and rice. You can broil the shrimp to serve with any veggies you have on hand, with just about any salad, or with rice and beans. Frozen shrimp is my go-to "I haven't been to the store in five days" meal.

    Ooh, and here's one more great, cheap scrounge meal. I serve this with kielbasa, which keeps for ages so is a good fridge staple: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/09/eggs-in-tomato-sauce-contest-winners/

  2. Eggs in Tomato Sauce will be my dinner tonight. And probably most nights for the rest of my life. Yum. Thank you.

  3. Emily, what a marvelous idea for a blog. I recognized many things in my own shopping and spending habits when reading through the posts you've written so far, and I applaud your year-long effort to make a lasting difference in your life. I'll be cheering for you, reading along and applying your wisdom to my own finances. Thank you! I wish you the best of luck.