Why you won’t find jam in my house

You won’t ever find jam in my pantry.

The reason goes back to that very first year I lived on my own.

I studied mostly, and I worked where I could, and my budget was incredibly tight. It looked something like this.

$165 living costs (rent and all inclusive bills)
$30 groceries
$20 for bus fare

I had about $20 left over every week.  A bag of chips or a block of chocolate was a splurge. (Things like the time I slammed my hand in a door and had to go to the doctor in a rush threw everything off.)

I ate a crap ton of jam sandwiches. I packed them in brown paper bags. I had a sweet tooth, and figured there was fruit in the jam so it must be somewhat healthy.

(Yeah, I relate everything back to food, but what did you expect from me?)

As my budget eventually loosened up my lunches became more varied. I stopped eating jam outright. I’d overloaded to the max and I couldn’t stomach it any longer. Plus, it reminded me of my brokest days.

I don’t eat jam anymore, though the day may come when I buy it again. I might even try making it – I have an overachieving guava tree and more guavas than I know what to do with, though I don’t particularly like the fruit.

What do you associate with your broke days?

13 thoughts on “Why you won’t find jam in my house

  • Reply Hannah June 28, 2016 at 07:56

    Whole chicken and wheat noodles- it’s what I ate during my undergrad days when I ran cross country. I also associate berries with wealth because the families that I babysat for ate a lot of berries even in the winter

  • Reply Taylor Lee @ Yuppie Millennial June 28, 2016 at 12:19

    Cold wet feet. Always had the most broken in shoes in college, including a pair of boots with holes in the heel. My feet were wet every time it snowed or rained. Never again!

  • Reply Martin - Get FIRE'd asap June 28, 2016 at 12:52

    2-minute noodles, cheap bulk sausages, white bread and tomatoe sauce. Still love em.

  • Reply Sense June 28, 2016 at 14:08

    Oh dear. Quite embarrassing, but one night studying quite late in college, all I had was a few slices of white bread and a jar of mayonnaise in my mini dorm fridge. I couldn’t afford to order a pizza, the dorm cafeteria was closed, no one was up to borrow food from, and my car was low on gas til the next paycheck. I was so, so hungry, and I still consider it my lowest point. To say I was broke back then would be a total understatement.


  • Reply Harmony@CreatingMyKaleidoscope June 29, 2016 at 04:07

    With all of the debt, I’d have to say that we’re still in our “broke days.” There is money coming in, but it all goes right back out.

    I bring a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch at work, every weekday. Good thing I’m not sick of jelly/jam yet 🙂

  • Reply Bonnie June 29, 2016 at 06:54

    Packaged ramen noodles, which I haven’t eaten in years.

  • Reply Jennifer Cooper @ Travelbllgr June 29, 2016 at 09:50

    I have lived in the UK most of my life, where food is cheaper than NZ, so even in my student days I didn’t feel (too) restricted. Although whilst I have been travelling in other countries, I have lived on noodles as well as nutella smeared on bread…lol. I am living in New Zealand permanently now and I do find that certain foods are expensive…namely cheese and butter!

  • Reply Latoya @ Femme Frugality June 30, 2016 at 02:04

    Lol, I associate Chef Boyardee Ravioli and a bag salad with my broke days. I didn’t even buy real cheese to put on the salad. I just cut up cheese slices and added it to my salad. That was dinner. I haven’t ate Chef Boyardee in almost 9 years and I don’t have any plans to either so I hear you!

  • Reply Abigail @ipickuppennies June 30, 2016 at 05:52

    Hmmm I don’t know. I guess lots of spaghetti? But I still enjoy that. For the most part, even when I was super broke, I was too unwell to do much in the food department. So I bought diet shakes at the warehouse to make them more affordable. For a while in my mid-20s, I was too tired to deal with cooking (or anything, really), so my Mom would run me up to the store and I’d just eat bread for dinner.

  • Reply Andrew June 30, 2016 at 09:42

    For me being broke reminds me of Fried Chicken from KFC. They used to have two Tuesdays (a meal for $2) and that was the big treat of the week. To this day whenever I smell KFC it takes me back to when I had barely any money for anything. I have it maybe once a year as a reminder and feel disgusting for about a week afterwards. Good times 😉

  • Reply Liz June 30, 2016 at 10:14

    Well, if you do make that guava jam and don’t want it, feel free to send it my way! My brokest times taste like the ready-bake rolls my university would hand out at the start of the year to be frozen and anything I could get from the reduced-to-clear section of Tesco–usually some sad carrots and questionable meat choices.

  • Reply Nancy June 30, 2016 at 13:17

    When I still lived with my parents (mom & stepfather & 5 sisters & 1 stepbrother), it’s not the foods so much that I remember from being broken. It is the disgusting smell of Ivory soap. I can’t understand why anyone would want their hair to smell like it, now that they make shampoo. The foods I remember everyone but me eating are peanut butter, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and chicken and dumplings. I just recently realized that I do like jam, but don’t remember eating that as a child or teen; jelly was cheaper.

  • Reply Julie@ChooseBetterLife July 2, 2016 at 11:05

    I still love the kid foods of PB&J and Mac & Cheese, but I ate cases and cases of Cheerios in college and I’m pretty well over those.

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