I brought some leftover canned/jarred foods, baking supplies, and spices with me that I had in my apartment last year, but the last half-week I've been trying to stock up my kitchen with at least a basic array of goods. It's been an adventure, and I've learned a few things.
The first lesson was that trying to shop for food after two straight days of cleaning, shopping for apartment stuff, and organizing with Mom and T was a really bad plan. I wandered around Fairways and Trader Joes in something of a state of shock. I know I'm an introvert, it shouldn't surprise me that trying to go out in public after two straight days with people would make my exhaustion that much worse. So, updates on Fairways bulk section will come a different week. For now, let's just say the rest of their store is expensive. I don't know how I shopped there last summer. I didn't spend any money there last week.
Trader Joes. This was my main store last summer, because it's relatively cheap, it was on my way home from work, and my roommate adored it because her boyfriend worked there. It's still convenient to get to by subway, so I went there last week. However, now I realize that basically everything is packaged in plastic. It's probably going to be a primary source of meat in the future, though, because, well, it's cheaper than anywhere else I've ever seen it. In the end, I bought canned goods and a box of tissues there, to the tune of $14.50.
I also hit up the local farmer's market. I I got green beans, peaches, apples, honey, a quart of milk, and bread for $18. Most of that money went towards the honey and the milk, but the milk comes in a glass jar so I'll get a discount next time I go. And it was good milk, so I don't regret that decision. I also got some more produce (green beans, tomatoes, and bell peppers) yesterday for $6.50.
Finally, Whole Foods UWS. My first bulk-buying experience. Unfortunately, the bulk-bins are completely self-serve, there's no way to tare my own containers. So I think I'll just have to take my lightest bags and pay a few extra cents :/ Still, I got nuts, granola, sugar, and quinoa for $14.34, and the trip overall cost me $47.07 for bulk items, a few herbs and canned goods, and local mozzarella. The mozz was an impulse buy that was way more expensive than it needed to be and that I probably didn't need to get.
So my grocery/market spending last week: $76.07. Definitely room for improvement, since my monthly goal is $200. Restaurant spending was something like $40 (I didn't save all my receipts) for a grad student happy hour and three meals with a friend who was in town. That's coming from my wants budget, and that's more than half of a week's worth of "wants", so...that should be reduced.