Welcome to The Receipt, a series documenting how Bon Appétit readers eat and what they spend doing it. Each food diary follows one anonymous reader’s week of expenses related to groceries, restaurant meals, coffee runs, and every bite in between. In this time of rising food costs, The Receipt reveals how folks—from different cities, with different incomes, on different schedules—are figuring out their food budgets.
In today’s Receipt, a 28-year-old field scientist eats tuna packets in the field and makes spinach and zucchini smoothies and miso-marinated chicken at home. She lives in a National Park (it’s a volcano!) near Ashford, Washington. Keep reading for her receipts.
Jump ahead:The financesThe dietThe expensesThe diary
What are your pronouns? She/her
What is your occupation? I work as a field scientist in a National Park. The job is seasonal and summers are busy because of the limited window we have to collect data. I love my job and I’ve worked here for three years.
How old are you? 28 years old.
What city and state do you live in? I live near Ashford, Washington, during the summer, and in Bellingham, Washington, in the winter.
What is your annual salary, if you have one? Last year I made around $30,000 before taxes.
How much is one paycheck, after taxes? $1,300 to $1,700. We can work a lot of overtime and the backcountry camping cost per diem can add up.
How often are you paid? (e.g., weekly) Biweekly.
How much money do you have in savings? Around $3,000.
What are your approximate fixed monthly expenses beyond food? (i.e., rent, subscriptions, bills)
Rent: $475.00Spotify: $9.99Adobe Creative Suite: $19.99Phone: $76.00Internet: $30.00Dog food: $70.00
Do you follow a certain diet or have dietary restrictions? I am an opportunistic omnivore! I try to eat as local as possible when I can—we have an awesome farmer in the neighboring town who we can buy food from.
What are the grocery staples you always buy, if any? The nearest good grocery store is an hour and a half away, so I usually only make the trek once or twice a month. My last grocery run cost $143.72 at WinCo and $48.60 at Trader Joe’s. I’ll buy as many bulk grains, eggs, and milk cartons as I can fit in the kitchen I share with two housemates. Transporting meat usually requires a cooler that I don’t have, so I don’t buy it as much. I always keep a couple of flavored tuna packets, olives, and eggs on hand for cheap and easy meals I can take into the field with me. I’ll splurge on good loaves of seedy whole grain bread, tea, French butter, and hard cheeses. I also keep a rotating box of cookies in my pantry to boost morale on especially exhausting days.