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The Recessionista

by Christen Angele Weaver
"Fashion can be bought. Style one must possess." - Edna Woolman Chase

Chapter 1: Potatoes and Pasta

No news flash needed: we are in a recession, the dow is down, jobs have been lost, and the sales at your local mall are wonderful every weekend! While it is true that it's the recession, we fashionistas must live, or rather, shop on. Those of us that see the light at the end of every weekend sale, those of us that must get that new strappy shoe despite it all, we are called: Recessionistas. The Recessionista saves and scraps however she can to make her next purchase and to stay fashionable. But, how can one go about finding that paper money at the bottom of one's purse when all there is to be seen is lent, old gum wrappers (clearly from before the recession because the Recessionista would never spend $1.49 for a few minutes of minty green freshness when it could go towards a pair of crocodile leather boots!), and pennies? The answer: Potatoes and pasta.

Yes, potatoes and pasta are the keys to saving money to shop during a recession. It's really quite simple, according to the 2009 U.S. Census Bureau the average budget for a nutritious diet by a female individual between 19-50 years of age is $51 on groceries per week, that amounts to $204/month and $2, 448/year. That is a lot handbags my friends. But, we Recessionistas are anything but average. We will go above and beyond the call of duty to shop and shop often. I have discovered that by cutting that plan of $51/week to $20/week many advantages can be found. The most important is financial. The Recessionista saves $31/week, $124/month, and a whopping $1, 488/year simply by cutting her weekly grocery bill by $31 dollars! Now that you know the why, allow me to elaborate on the how.

As I mentioned before it is by purchasing potatoes and pasta (Yes, this is a carb friendly diet, but don't fret you will see that even your waistline will benefit, stay with me). These two foods are hearty, give you great energy, but most importantly, they are inexpensive foods that can be prepared in a plethora of different ways! By buying a bag of potatoes, some pasta, a few vegetables, and seasonings or sauces you can eat for a week and then some! Honest! Let me show you how it is done: A bag of potatoes is $1.99 and you can make French fries, latkes, baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, etc. Pasta costs $2.19 and there is spaghetti pasta, linguine pasta, rottini pasta etc. and matched with butter sauce, marinara sauce, or Alfredo sauce that average $3/can, the possibilities to stay within budget are vast! Other advantages are: cooking pasta is very quick and easy (time saved can be spent shopping of course), you might even lose weight (this is wonderful for sample sales as they usually only carry smaller sizes), and if the first two don't encourage you, just remember that no one said it was going to be easy.

Alas, the shopping can continue! This plan really does work, and I didn't even mention the oodles of possibilities if one uses coupons! You can add on an accessory or two when you buy that cashmere sweater this weekend, and why not? You deserve it! You are a Recessionista and only we survive in this economy and stay fashionable!