on budgets and burgers
Don had some free time while he was waiting for our new dumpster to be delivered yesterday, so he decided (for some reason) to run some statistics on our food spending for the last few years. I know, he’s kind of a dork. Who spends their free time staring at numbers? Anyway, what he discovered was a little bit alarming. First, the good: our grocery spending for 2006 and 2007 was almost exactly the same amount — the difference between the two totals was less than $1.50. Pretty cool, right? Well, no, because the money we spent on eating out changed enough to make up for it.
In 2005, we spent about $2600 on eating out. In 2006, it went up to about $4400. In 2007? We spent nearly $7200 on eating out. Seriously. Just us. We ordered pizza, we walked up and got subs from John’s, we went to chain restaurants, blah blah blah. I remember 2007! It wasn’t exactly filled with new and exciting eating experiences that would justify us spending seven thousand dollars! Not once did I eat a dessert topped with solid gold, dammit! And we still spent the same amount on groceries, and threw away food that went bad because we left it sitting in the fridge waiting to be cooked while we ordered in or ate mediocre food out. This has got to change.
Last night we almost gave in. We hadn’t planned anything for dinner, and we’d just spent way too much time at the laundromat, doing about a month’s worth of laundry because we STILL don’t have a washer and dryer at home. I asked Don what he felt like doing for dinner, and got the usual apathetic shrug. Then, he gathered enough energy to raise his head from his computer screen and ask, “What do you want to eat?”
“I really want a burger,” I blurted. I hadn’t realized it until that second, but I was so craving a burger.
He heaved a sigh. “Well, I really don’t feel like going out to a sit-down place like Red Robin. Should we run up the street to Hardee’s or McDonald’s?”
And then I had an epiphany. If I were more Victorian and romantic, I would have sat straight up in bed, scattering papers and books every which way and maybe even spilling an inkwell, but I was patting the cat and pretty comfy, so it wasn’t nearly so dramatic. “I could — I could just cook some burgers!” I said wonderingly. We’ve always got frozen patties kicking around, and there were buns on top of the microwave.
“So you could,” he said, totally oblivious to my total change in life perspective. “Sounds good.”
So I did.
Plain frozen patties cooked on the Foreman grill, topped with sliced cheese and nothing more than pickles and ketchup, on plain old Martin’s potato bread buns. But I made them at home, instead of going out for no good reason. And it wasn’t all that much effort, and it didn’t take all that much time, and best of all it didn’t cost any extra money. Awesome.
On photography: This is the first food picture I’ve taken in the new light box. I like it. When I went to edit the image, I tried to adjust the white balance manually and for some reason it was always much too bright. On a whim I hit ‘auto levels’ and bam! Perfect. Thanks Photoshop! I still need to set up a custom white balance setting in the camera itself so that I don’t have to do as much editing, though.
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Tags: burger, cheeseburger, light box, money