Friday, July 11, 2008

Poor Girl Eats Well FAQs

People are always curious about certain elements of PGEW and yours truly. You can quench that thirst for knowledge right here. :)

So are you really "poor"?
Yes. Though I am extremely lucky to still live above the poverty level and have basic shelter and a relatively steady job, I do struggle. I am single, live paycheck to paycheck (or on borrowed time), and don't have any real financial cushions to fall back on.

Are you ever going to fix that?
Slowly but surely, I'm trying to repair my financial life. These things take time and I have to do what I can when I can, but I know it won't last forever.

If you're so poor, why do you have cats?
I have cats because they're my kids and I love them. They keep me centered and offer me unconditional love I couldn't get anywhere else. Some people have human children and are not questioned constantly because they do. I have feline children and they should be treated with as much love and responsibility as the human kind.

If you're so poor, how can you afford a laptop and cool little camera?
Because I wasn't always this poor.

Are you a chef?
Nope! I'm just really creative in the kitchen because I grew up with parents who were both in the restaurant business. But ever since I started PGEW.com, I've been encouraged to take this to a higher level. I'm keeping all my options open right now.

Who does the photography on your site?
Me! I'm no professional, but I enjoy learning how to take better pictures as I do more with PGEW.

How do you come up with your recipe price breakdown?
I basically use simple math to figure the actual amount of each ingredient I'm using based on the total cost of the whole ingredient. For example, if I use 2 eggs from a dozen eggs that cost $1.49, the cost for the eggs I'm using will come out to $0.12 apiece or so. Once the total amount of ingredients is added up, I divide that by the number of servings the recipe yields and voila! Price breakdown. NOTE: because I do shop at Trader Joe's or discount stores quite a bit, I always inflate the prices of most ingredients by a few cents each to reflect the prices that regular grocery stores would charge for similar products. This way I can give more of an average cost that will apply to most people.

You seem to be quite obsessed with Trader Joe's; is it really that much cheaper to shop there?
For the most part, yes! I am constantly amazed by the prices that major chain grocery stores offer versus Trader Joe's everyday prices. I'd say that 90% of the time you can save at least 35% off your whole bill compared to shopping at a different store. Granted, certain things like their meats will be slightly higher in price because TJ's sells mainly organic, humanely treated meats. But overall, if you can get to a Trader Joe's I would highly recommend you do so. You get wonderful quality for affordable prices, and they even pay attention to their grammar in the signs they put up throughout the store (a HUGE plus for a grammar nerd like me!).

Does Trader Joe's pay you to say this stuff?
No. They actually shoo me away most of the time when I tell them I pimp them out regularly on my site, something I could take personally but don't. I just happen to enjoy promoting things and places I believe in, and Trader Joe's is one of them.

What's this about a $25 Shopping Cart?
The $25 Shopping Cart is a great PGEW feature that comes out on a roughly monthly basis. Because I am literally left with $35-$40 to live on after I pay my rent most months, I have had to get really strict with myself in how I shop for food (I am a HUGE impulse buyer, so this was definitely a difficult process). Through some savvy shopping and exercises in restraint, I have become quite good at going to almost any store and spend around $25 (give or take a few bucks) on food that will last me about 10-14 days. Of course, the price of your shopping cart may need to go up if you are feeding more than 1-2 people, but the general principles still apply and you can definitely get more bang for your buck if you follow the $25 Shopping Cart M.O.

I have a couple of kids and a very hungry husband; will your recipes still satisfy everyone's appetite?
You'll need to read carefully to see what each recipe yields since they are all different. However, all of my recipes are very easily doubled or tripled, so you should have no problem making these dishes work for your family.

What is this about a book?
I have self-published and self-printed a mini-book called Poor Girl Eats Well - To Go! It's not an official book but more of an appetizer for what's to come in the actual Poor Girl Eats Well book that should come out in early 2010. PGEW - To Go! features 13 recipes, 3 of which are not on the site, as well as a few of the most popular tips from PGEW.com. There is also a bonus tip on How To Have a Successful $25 Shopping Trip that is not featured on the site, so if you want to get on the fast track for that exercise in smart spending, you'll want to pick up the mini book! It is available through PGEW.com or directly through me (if you're a Sac local), costs $10 + $2.50 shipping, and usually ships within 2-3 weeks.

Why does it take so long to ship?
I am doing this all by myself and making sure I keep my full-time job and update PGEW.com, and there are, unfortunately, only 24 hours in a day! Don't worry... if you are wondering where your copy is, simply email me to check in and I'll let you know its status.

What will you do if you ever end up with a lot of money? Will PGEW end?
No, I don't think so. Things may change a bit, but I have learned a lot during this journey and will definitely be using all of the tips and recipes I share with you fine readers, no matter what my financial situation is.

Do you do any catering?
Ummm.... not yet, but I've been getting a lot of requests for that lately, so you never know. ;)

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