OK, I'm kind of enjoying finagling my way through this last bit of August. I'd enjoy being rich and carefree a little more, probably, but I'm proud of myself.
To recap, I had $73 in my slush budget and $35 in my pocket, and I needed to buy food for the next week and get a new driver's license and register my car. Alas, the car stuff came to $96 (I went and did it yesterday.)
To make up for the $23 difference between the slush fund and the car stuff, I first "found" $3 by drawing it from my car insurance category for this month and next month (when I budget, I round up because it's easier than remembering the exact number, which is $53.30.) Then I just had to see if I could buy all my food for the week using $15 plus $2 in loose change I scared up.
Spoiler: yes I could!
I looked around at my pantry again and thought about what I wanted to make. I had a few ingredients in place already (frozen homemade black beans, soba noodles, miso) so I settled on Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa and Cold Noodles With Miso, Lime, and Ginger.
I hit the grocery store first, for milk (got to have it for my coffee), quinoa, cilantro, ginger, limes, scallions, and a daikon. Total: $9.63. (The quinoa was a bit over 1/3 of that.) This morning, I biked (saving gas!) down to the farmer's market. I spent $2 in loose change on carrots. I bought a cucumber for $.75 (probably a bad move, as I unintentionally bought a pretty seed-y variety, and I could have had a different variety for $.50). Then having patrolled the entire market, I found a guy who was mysteriously selling heirloom tomatoes for $1.29 a lb. At this point I was committed to spending my last $3 on tomatoes, so I picked out two that did indeed turn out to collectively add up to $2.50. I was talking with the guy, and I don't know if he thought I was cute, or if I just looked poor, but then! he tipped an entire pint of beautiful little cherry tomatoes into my bag! I said "oh, that's a lot!" and he said "well, we grow a lot," and I guess he's right, about this time of year a pint of cherry tomatoes more or less doesn't make much of a difference to them, but it did to me! Very exciting. :)
Then I took my last two quarters and bought two little butter cookies from the Polish bakery stand. And I came home with a $20 bill still in my wallet.
The loot (with the $20 for evidence):
Not pictured: the ginger, because I forgot to put it in the picture, and the two cookies, because I ate them.