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I’m currently taking a class in personal finance.  The course calls students to take stock of their spending habits and make wiser decisions, insuring present and future financial security.   As I’ve recently begun reworking my monthly budget, I noticed that all of my “liquidity”, or spending money after bills are paid, was going to take-out meals and restaurants.  After weighing my options, I knew it was time to start spending more time in my own kitchen. I realized that if I were to instead start grocery shopping for all of my food needs for the week, I would be able to start saving money for much more important things … like shoes.

Oh, pardon me.  I mean…mutual funds.

Anyways, once I had this realization, there was one small problem:  I have no clue how to cook.  I remember in high school thinking that one skill all girlfriends, fiancés, and wives had in common was that they all seemed to be able to cook.  I recall thinking it would be a skill I would have to learn in order to be more “wifely”, but certainly not because it might save me money.  As a side note, this is definitely not the case. Let the record show that my boyfriend actually finds my lack of culinary skill endearing – one time, I told him I wanted to “get dinner ready” for us before he came home from work.  He seemed to find this so sweet that I knew I had to get us something really delicious.  When he returned to his apartment to find pre-made salads, strawberries, and packaged crème fraiche, he was not surprised.  I believe his response was something along the lines “Oh… you’re so cute.”

Historically, my skills have included microwaving veggie patties and putting ketchup on them. Over the years, I’ve also learned how to make stir-frys, honed my pasta-making skills, and perfected a goat-cheese salad … but I needed more options.  I like to eat in a way that supports the environment, and I figured it was a manageable possibility to start purchasing ingredients for lots of salad-making – not only would I have plenty of salad options, but my skill set would also enable me to make them successfully. With this plan, I would look forward to preparing meals that nourish the ground they come from as well as nourishing me.

That’s when a friend told me about the Farmers Market at Northeastern University.  Here, I can get everything I need for the week to make a variety of delicious salads, and other fresh meals that I won’t get bored with, at a very low price.  Not to mention, I’m also doing a lot of good for the environment buying local and/or organic products.  For everything that isn’t salad-related (proteins, treats, oatmeal, etc.) I can stop by Trader Joes and bring in the rest of my groceries, totaling less than $100.00/week for all of my dietary needs.

Now that I’ve done about two big grocery hauls, I find myself looking forward to coming home and …cooking!  I’m no Martha Stewart, but there’s something to be said about taking the time to put good stuff and thought into a meal, and feeding our bodies whole, delicious foods. Bon appétit!