Monday, May 28, 2012

My First Guest Writer!

I have written this blog for probably close to six years. Occasionally, Jeannie Hopes will post. It's always good and usually entertaining. 

Today, "NiseyB" is my guest. She is my first guest! She is a housewife and mother of three (ages 8, 5 and 1). She strives to be a Proverbs 31 woman too.

Most recently, the topic between us and another "31" woman has been  how to save money and provide for our families on one salary. We know it can be done. There is much sacrifice needed. There is the uncomfortableness of being uncomfortable. But there is Peace in our struggles. 

I received this email from NiseyB this morning. There are a lot of great tips that I just couldn't keep to myself, so I am sharing her wisdom and love with you. Enjoy!

Ok, here are just odds and ends that contribute to my strategic approach to keeping the budget tight for food and household items.  Also, keep in mind you have bigger kids than I do (although my kids are big eaters!).  Any thoughts ideas you have, I'd love to hear them!!  

I get the paper almost every week, I also have a few "sources" for extra coupons.  I do not cut coupons unless it is something I would most likely use or need - I do not buy things just because I have a coupon.   I do spend a reasonable amount of time going through the Shoprite and Acme paper seeing what is on sale and matching it with coupons.  I rarely stockpile anymore unless it is really a BARGAIN.  I try to shop for the week.  (Although I'd love to have a pantry overflowing with food, I am finding that if I buy just for the week it keeps the cost down).  

I stick to my familiar stores where I know the prices are best - Shoprite and Aldi are my main two.  Once in awhile I get a few things at Acme if they are on sale and I have a coupon (example - this week I am getting Mayo for $1.50 a jar!).  Shoprite takes competitor's coupons.  If you have a KidsStuff coupon book there are $5 off for Acme in there - Shoprite will take them, Shoprite will also take the Giant $1 doublers, etc.  Shoprite took the $10 off $20 coupons that came out from Bottom Dollar.  

I try to make due - if I  run out of something we just use an alternative or do without until the next shopping trip.  I try to keep grocery shopping trips to a minimum.  Ideally one trip to each store per week.  

Aldi's great for: eggs (they are like .87 cents right now!!), bread, cereal, condiments, flour, sugar, baking spices, fresh fruit and veggies, cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, tomato and pasta sauce, etc.  

I try to make a meal plan and stick with it - more like a list of meals we would have for the week and then make whatever is most convenient that night.  I usually make a big pot of rice at the beginning of the week and make at least two meals around that.  I also try to food prep for a few meals at a time (like the big pot of rice).  If I know I am having beef in two meals, I will cook it all at once and then split it apart.  I usually make 5 lbs of meatloaf at a time and split it into 3 loaves.  

I have a notebook and I keep a running balance of my money, when I spend something I subtract it from that balance.  I also have been keeping a little note of what I spend and what I save at the grocery store.  I just love seeing how much money I am saving my family!!  When the paycheck hits on Friday I add that back into my running total.   

I do believe most of all that it requires prayer and dependency on God to provide, supply and STRETCH His money for our family.  He does ... you both know, it's one of those things you can't always explain on paper!!  

Favorite Meals:
Homemade Pizza
Saucepan Lasagna (cuts back on cost b/c you don't need the Ricotta cheese or as much mozz cheese)
Rice and Beans - sometimes with salsa or beef, sometimes in fajita's - lots of things to do with rice and beans
Rice and squash/ zucchini
Taco meat w/ beans over cornbread (also usually add salsa)
Spaghetti - sometimes with beef in the sauce and sometimes with garlic bread on the side
Crustless Quiche (eggs w/ bisquick mix - we add goodies like red peppers, onions, cheese, etc)

One more thing for me too that has made my life simpler.  After reading the I Used to be so Organized book the one frustration that still stood out to me was LAUNDRY!!!!!  I asked the Lord to really help me have a better system.  I LOVE that God cares even about our LAUNDRY!!  So, here is my new system and it is really working for me!!  Sunday night I throw in the socks and underwear in a load (hot water).  Then Monday morning I do the darks and the whites.  I put the socks in the dryer along with one of the loads I am doing, I hang the underwear.  So, all the laundry gets done on Monday morning essentially.  Then it is in a pile, I fold it and put it away (that is the part that requires the most discipline).  I put all the socks into a basket and they get sorted out when everyone starts running out of socks.  I still do a load of towels or sheets during the week when they pile up.  I try to hang as much as possible on my line or the hanger I have in my laundry room.  I feel like this is a huge stress out of my week.  I don't question should I throw in a load of laundry - I know when I do the laundry and everyone has sufficient clothing until we get there.  

I keep saying, "The more you make, the more you spend". I figure that once the money is gone, then we can't spend it anymore. So we are on a strict budget. It's going to be painful for a while until we adjust. And we will adjust.

Please share your favorite inexpensive meal in the comment section. 

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