Next Project

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Okay, here’s what I’ve come up with for my next project.

I’m going to try for a week with the highest level of nutrition I can do—3 meals, all food groups, best nutrient profile I can come up with—using the most affordable ingredients I can figure out. So basically the best combination of nutrition and economy that I can think of.

I’ll give the total amount of money spent up front, and also calculate the unit costs based on how much I used. (For instance if I pay $3 for 5 pounds of flour and use 1 cup in a recipe, I’ll charge that as $0.15, for the 4 ounces I used.)

Also I’ll calculate the total cost of each recipe and then calculate a per-serving cost. So if I make a large batch of soup and eat two bowls then freeze the rest, I’ll only charge for the portion I ate that week, not what’s been saved to be eaten later.

This will give us some idea of how much it actually costs to eat well, based on conditions that are much closer to how things work in the real world than what I was working with on the Thirty Days for Thirty Dollars project.

I’ll buy the sizes I normally buy (no 50lb bags of rice in an effort to lower unit costs), and if I have a lot of something in my pantry already, I’ll probably just check the current price and report it, but not actually purchase any.

Haven’t decided yet if I should go to different stores in an effort to get the absolute lowest prices, or to shop like I usually do, going for a combination of price, quality, and convenience. I’m going to keep thinking about that.

Also not exactly sure when I’m going to start. I need to do some research and thinking to figure out what to make and to get everything ready.

If you don’t want to keep checking back to see if I’ve started, feel free to subscribe using the “Subscribe to Less Is Enough” link over in the sidebar.

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11 Responses to “Next Project”

  1. Gail D Says:

    Your new project sounds great, and I look forward to it. Thanks for the planning you are doing now, and for the research and results you’ll be sharing with us later.

  2. Amy Says:

    I’m not nearly as scientific as you are, but I have been mulling over these issues for awhile too. My blog is:

    (Nobody reads it!) you might find something there useful, or not.:-) Anyway, thanks for all your work! These are important issues!

  3. Phil Says:


    If I pay for everything, will you make twice as much and share half with me? :-)

  4. lessisenough Says:

    I’m happy to share, and I was actually trying to figure out how to deal with the extras because I want to have a good variety of meals, not the same thing 4 days in a row, which means I’m probably not going to use up everything I make.

  5. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with. Part of my plan for my blog is to calculate the cost of all my favorite recipes, the idea being that I should be cooking the least expensive recipes more than the more expensive recipes. It’s probably a good rule of thumb that if a recipe has lots of ingredients, it’s going to cost more to make. But as you’ve shown on your blog, some foods just plain cost less than others.

  6. beiti Says:

    Good idea! To my opinion, I would not go to too much different stores, although two or three might be ok. For example, where I live, we have a weekly market selling organic vegetables a lot cheaper than at a supermarket around, but you can’t get anything else there but vegetables.

    I hope your plan will work well, although results like these have made some German politicans behave fancy… after finding out how much a person would need a day, they thought about lowering social health care again. Weird.

  7. Raen Says:

    Terrific idea. I’ll be watching. I want to eat well but not waste money. It’s about balance. Also, my partner and I are not crazy about leftovers or frozen casseroles.

    Also, just curious, do you routinely drink coffee or tea or something else. . .spring water, juice?

    Would you be opposed to modest contributions to defray some of your costs. I believe some bloggers set up a paypal link. You are providing entertainment and useful information. Receiving a modest return should not be untoward.

  8. HHH Says:

    This is very exciting.

    My mom had a game we played as a family when we were kids.The family would go to Morrisons Cafeteria for dinner, the object of the game was to see who could get a full meal for the lowest price! At Morrisons each tray was rung up on the cash register individually. As we sat down at the table – much like reading a fortune from a cookie at a Chinese resturant – each of us would take turns reading our grand total and showcasing our feast.

    Anyway, I have an idea for you on how you can optimize your meal plans to balance buying sale items and getting variety in your week’s fare. A key to this program is record keeping, which you clearly enjoy. You will also need some freezer space… this game (my version of my mom’s game) is called “what’s for dinner?” Let me know if you want more info on this and Good luck with your journey!

  9. Cindy Says:

    Thanks so much for doing this! Would you be able to share some specifics on preparing the grains. Any recipes and tips would be so helpful! Thanks for your efforts!

  10. Alice Says:

    One of these days, when I don’t have picky teenagers to feed, I would like to try a nutritional adventure as well. Good for you!

    I have considered, in the past, that one could live for quite a while on peanut butter, bananas, milk, and whole-wheat bread. Just a suggestion for your list.

  11. Catherine Says:

    I really love your website! it was such a wake up call to realize i was spending over 10 times as much as you did on groceries last month! i can’t believe how much i waste. could you please include a weekly or bimonthly grocery list for this new project?

    also, have you considered calculating how your diet could be improved with maybe a few simple plants in your kitchen or balcony in another project? it might be interesting to see how much a small investment in a few peppers, tomatoes and spices could take you nutritionally. i bought a community garden plot this month ;)

    thanks again!

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