Monday, January 18, 2010

Pasta on a budget

Pasta with Tuna and Breadcrumbs

One of my main goals this year is to save more money. The other day, my mom offered to let me move back in for a year to save up some cash -- hopefully enough to make a 20 percent down payment on a house or condo with enough leftover for an emergency fund. My dad also seems super excited about this because whatever I pay them in rent can go toward paying off their house.

But before I uproot my life in the name of savings, I wanted to do a better job of seeing where my money goes.

I refigured my budget so I can see where my money is going every month.

I thought I knew, but I'm spending more than I think I am. For one, my grocery budget is out of control to the tune of about $300 a month. That seems outrageous for one person. To put it in perspective, it's EVERYTHING I buy at the grocery store in a month -- laundry detergent, shampoo, pet food, etc. -- not just the food I eat. Plus, I don't eat out except for an occasional happy hour with some friends or lunch out with coworkers.

Still, if my goal is to save more and free up money to do things out of my comfort zone, my food budget is probably a painless way to cut. If I count my pennies, I may even come under budget this month.

To start my money-saving efforts off right, I pulled together this Spaghetti with Tuna, Lemon, and Breadcrumbs. Pasta, canned tuna, lemon and homemade whole wheat breadcrumbs? What could be cheaper?

The most expensive part of this meal was the kalamata olives, which were $2.99 for a jar of store-brand olives.

It came out to 500 calories, 9 grams of fat and 4 grams of fiber, which isn't bad. (You can make it fewer calories by using 2 oz pasta per serving rather than 3 oz. ) And you know, it tasted pretty great, too. If you don't like canned tuna with pasta, then this isn't for you, but if you like tuna, lemon and the saltiness of kalamata olives, you'll probably like this.

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