When you give a twentysomething a budget

As a self-proclaimed “fun” 25 year old woman, I like to work hard and play harder. I plug away on my computer at work all day so I can make money to do all the stuff that makes my life feel so full and complete. Unfortunately, living the urban girl lifestyle, drinking craft beer, eating organic food, and splurging on fun trips can often leave my bank account lacking. It takes a lot of money to be a social person and I am QUICKLY realizing that.

Since I have been engaged for a little over a month now, I have had to tweak my spending habits a bit in order to pay for the wedding that I envisioned. I’m not a flashy girl and I don’t need much but if you add the word “wedding” to anything whether it be a barn, some string lighting, or a #2 pencil, the price skyrockets. I have quickly realized that even my modest wedding is going to take a huge toll on my finances over the next year. I have accepted that budgeting is not an option.

That being said, while I am willing to turn into the spending savvy gal that I know I can be, I am not willing to give up living the lifestyle that I enjoy. I still want to go out with my friends, drink craft beer, and eat good food. This realization has led me to only one option in order to save money. For as long as he will allow it, I am going to ransack my dad’s garden as often as possible.

This past weekend was my first haul. After picking for about 5 minutes, I had a bag full of vibrant green, 6 inch long, organic green beans. Another 30 seconds of picking and I had 3 bright red Hanover tomatoes (the most famous and delicious tomatoes in the whole land! This is fact, not opinion.) Inside his house, he had picked a slew of garden grown cucumbers and canned a dozen jars of dill pickles. I obviously grabbed a jar for myself. At Whole Foods, all of this deliciousness would have cost approximately $12-$16, depending on the season, and I got it all for free! That basically means that my next six pack of Wild Wolf Blonde Honey Ale will basically not cost me anything! That’s how math works right?

That night I went home with all of my local Hanover grown veggies and cooked a super cheap, restaurant quality dinner. We feasted on salmon with hollandaise sauce, blanched green beans, and fresh caprese salad. Side note, the eggs in the hollandaise were from the chickens in my mom’s back yard. Free as well! It was delicious and super budget friendly because of my new vegetable harvesting tactics. Thanks dad! At this rate, I might even be able to afford to feed my wedding guests next year. You’re welcome family and friends.

Caprese Salad

Prep time: 5 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 ball fresh mozzarella
  • 2 medium size Hanover tomatoes
  • 1 bunch basil (approximately 10 leaves)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Slice tomatoes and mozzarella ball lengthways into 1/4 inch thick slices
  2. Julienne the basil
  3. Stack tomato and mozzarella alternately in a circle around the serving dish
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  5. Season with salt and pepper
  6. Sprinkle on basil
  7. Bon appetit!
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